The Complex Relationship between Disabilities and Mobile Media – Alex Long

The new apple iWatch and similar technologies can be used as a complete and functional communication tool that is accessible for all types of people. The iWatch will be the first widely accepted wearable technology and will inspire the continued growth of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) technology. The abilities of the iWatch will allow the user to easily initiate communication but it will also be able to predict situations with problematic outcomes.

The social reality of wearable technology is quite dim as of now, however “the iPad, iPod and iPhone may provide a more socially “accepted” means of communication” ( Those with disabilities are very conscious of wearable technology but there is great potential for the iWatch to be accepted into the social norm. Since it is constantly in view and extremely accessible, the user must have full control of how interaction with the technology takes place.

Disabilities is a complex social issue and using Augmentative and Alternative Communication as a basis for the app will provide complete and functional communication for people with severe disabilities. “AAC may be used in three main ways ([32] Von Tetzchner and Martinsen, 2000). Some people may need AAC if they have comprehension skills which are in advance of their expressive skills. For this group of people, the issue is that they have more to communicate about than their current means of expression will allow. For another group of people, the AAC support may be a temporary means or may only be needed in some specific situations. Lastly, AAC may be needed for both expressive communication and for comprehension.” The app will be able to be used to expressive emotions rapidly for emergency situations as well as being usable for basic communication .

The app will be able to predict the users habits to determine a potentially troubling situation. The iWatch has the ability to predict the habits of the user by logging information based on location and time to determine if the day is “normal”.  The app will also log user biometrics, including heart rate, kinetics, and temperature to ensure the user is “normal”. With increased information about the user, there is an increase of how the user can be helped.

The design of the app will incorporate simple mathematics to provide consistency throughout.  Using a scale system of 1-10, the user will be immediately display the urgency of help that is needed. Depending on the level of disability, the user will have a variety of ways to invoke the start of communication.

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The intended audience for this app is anyone who needs functional and complete communication, particularly for those in need, such as people with severe disabilities.

Works Cited

Bradshaw, J. (2013). The use of augmentative and alternative communication apps for the iPad, iPod and iPhone: An overview of recent developments. Tizard Learning Disability Review, 18(1), 31-37. doi:

Anthony, K (2015). Conducting Cognitive Exercises for Early Dementia With the Use of Apps on Ipads. Communication Disorders Quarterly 2015, Vol. 36(2) 102-106,

Thomas, C. (2014, Sep 17). Have an emergency? there’s an app for that. The Charleston Gazette Retrieved from


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