Technology has always been important to people with physical disabilities. Our founders understood this way back in 1945 when they advocated for the newly developed Department of Veteran Affairs to supply each returning WWII soldier with a spinal cord injury an Everest and Jennings wheelchair. The wheelchair was the newest design, and its lightweight and collapsibility allowed its user greater mobility. This mobility improved the prospects for getting on with life out in the community. From that early stage to the incredible advancements 75 years later, the path for people with physical disabilities has been made easier with technology.
Today, accessible technology is opening doors, literally, for people with disabilities. Smartphone technology is increasing independence for people with mobility issues. Bell Mobility is paving the way for greater accessible technology. Bell Mobility and SCIO have partnered to support the education, awareness and choice of options available to SCIO clients.
Speakers from Bell have presented on adaptive technology and demonstrated the Tecla-e product for SCIO clients in fun and interactive sessions through our Peer Connections events. Tecla-e is a device that allows users with limited mobility access to their devices such as phones, tablets and computers hands-free. Tecla-e grants people with physical disabilities access to a digital world full of possibilities. It is a small device with a big impact. Operating a TV remote, turning off a light, opening a bedroom door, welcoming a guest inside or choosing a piece of music are just some of the ways assistive tech alongside Tecla-e can help an individual.
Bell Mobility has also supported Cortree in delivering education on assistive technology to the SCIO community through two sponsored courses available on the Cortree Disability Education Centre. Cortree is a cornerstone educational product that can educate and guide people with physical accessibility needs on technology, to enhance quality of life at home and away.
Bell Mobility aims to ensure that the needs of accessibility customers are met by providing special product and service offerings such as assistive devices, mobile devices and accessibility apps. Bell also offers services such as free directory assistance and free priority repairs for accessibility customers, as well as special savings on rate plans for customers with accessibility needs. Additionally, Bell Mobility has a dedicated call centre with agents to answer questions on products and services for all accessibility customers.
Innovation is ongoing. The Bell Accessibility developer program provides developers with resources, support and APIs to develop and test applications for end users with accessibility needs. The program supports innovation in applications that are accessible for all and encourages developers to use accessibility best practices and standards in their design. The speed of technological advances means that we can’t predict what the next 75 years will bring, but with partners like Bell Mobility SCIO will keep our community in the know.