Is the Amazon Echo for the Disabled?

Is the Amazon Echo For the Disabled?   Our Review…

 

Product: Amazon Echo Dot

Price:49.99

Where to Buy: Amazon

My Rating for the Amazon Echo for The Disabled:9/10

Amazon Echo Dot Overview:


The Amazon Echo, otherwise known as “Alexa” is a controlled device that resembles a large hockey puck with the ability to perform simple functions from answering questions, checking the weather, and finding recipes to connecting with smart home accessories to help dim or turn off the lights and set the thermostat to a desired temperature. There are several speakers on the top of the Echo to pick up on your voice commands and a light around the top that lights up to show that your command has been heard.  The microphones can be turned off if you choose to do so.  This device was not made specifically for the disabled, but for some with physical disabilities, this little device may come as a true blessing!

From a Skeptic To a Fan

I must admit, I was skeptical for years and although I kept doing the research, I just couldn’t make the decision to jump on board and give this thing a try.

My life was already hectic enough as a homeschooling parent to five, including one with a severe physical disability, I was overwhelmed and couldn’t imagine throwing anything else into the mix, but three months ago, I decided to give it a go and see what it could do for our special needs daughter and here is what I have found…

Pros to Using the Amazon Echo for Individuals with Disabilities

  • Instant access to the internet by speech instead of having to use a keyboard and reading off of a monitor, which can be difficult for those with visual impairments.
  • Ability to turn the lights on and off or use the dim feature with voice commands. Once you are in the bed, there is no need to get back out!  This is one of the best features and is most helpful for those living with physical disabilities that make interacting with these things more difficult.  You can even have the Echo set up to turn on your light when you are arriving home by sensing that you are within range and it will light up your home so you can safely enter.   You can set and name each of your lights by a different name so the Echo knows exactly which ones you would like turned on or off at the time.
  • Ability to change the thermostat by voice.
  • Ability to lock and unlock doors by voice.
  • Plays music on command and this tiny speaker packs a punch that we are happy with but if you want an even better sound experience, the Amazon echo really shines here thanks to it’s bluetooth speaker support outlet.
  • Answers questions .
  • Reads Audio books that are purchased separately.  This is one of our favorite functions as you can hop into bed and listen to a bed time story.  The echo can hook straight into your audible account and access all your audiobooks.  Just say the command,”Alexa, play whatever the title is on audible,” and it will pick up where it left off.  There are some kindle books that also have the audiobook option, which works as well!
  • Sets and turns off an alarm by voice command.
  • Plays games through separate apps.
  • Ability to order food by voice without having to dial a number on your phone or get out of bed.
  • Sets timers when instructed to do so.  Let’s say you just put something in the oven and don’t want to forget.  Just tell Echo to set a timer for 30 minutes and she will remind you when the time is up.  Multiple timers can be set at once.
  • Checks the weather so you know how to dress before leaving your house and what to expect throughout the day.

These are just a few of the things we have found the most useful from the Amazon Echo, but there are thousands of skills that work well.  Some of these tasks do require an extra purchase of a hub station and accessories such as the actual light bulbs that are used.

The Amazon Echo is new and the services will continue to improve in the future.  I’m excited to see what lies ahead.  I remember watching the Jetsons as a kid and expecting to have these robot assistants in every home by now.  The echo may not be exactly that, but we are getting closer and I am excited by the future where my daughter can interact  even more with the device and hopefully become more independent. Devices like the Echo bring us more hope for a better future for individuals living with disabilities.

Cons to Purchasing the Amazon Echo for Individuals with Disabilities

I can’t be honest in my review of the Amazon Echo without letting you know about the few cons I have found and researched with the Echo.

  • The main con I have found is that people with speech difficulties will have a difficult time getting the Echo to understand them.  They do have a function on the Echo where it will try several tests to try to match up with speech issues, but in the case of sever speech problems, it is very hard to work.  But, to work around this problem, if you have a communication device or app such as Proloquo, you can use the Echo with success.
  • Some people have raised concern over the possibility of a breech in security of our information being stored in the cloud.  Honestly, I’m not too concerned with this.  In today’s world, our information is everywhere, and when it comes to the possibility of being tracked, well, honestly, my life is way too boring to be concerned with someone tracking it.  To reduce the chance of being recorded if you are concerned, you can turn the microphone off and watch for the lights that light up when your voice is being heard.

Hopefully as the Echo continues to improve, it will only be a matter of time until individuals living with disabilities have the ability to issue voice commands for all of their everyday tasks from waking up in the morning to helping them get dressed and maybe even cooking their dinner.  This my friends, is something I look forward to and hope comes for my daughter in the near future!

Want to find out more on the Echo?  Click HERE for more information or to purchase one for your family or loved one.  These make great gifts for individuals living with special needs.

How do you use your Amazon Echo?  We would love to get some more ideas.  Leave a message below and share your experiences with us!