Summer's smartphone: the power of accessible technology

Post date: 
Friday, 17 March 2017

Summer Quigley is 13 years old and has been blind since birth. Summer’s dad wasn’t aware of the opportunities technology could provide for his daughter, Summer, until he heard about Online Today.

Alan Greig from Online Today met Summer and her dad at one of the IRISS project's family fun days, where he was talking about accessible technology. Summer’s dad had recently bought his daughter an Alto 2 talking phone as he thought this was the best tool for Summer  to use, but he was blown away when Alan explained that his daughter could use a standard smart phone.

Alan showed Summer and her dad how to navigate voiceover and explained how she could keep in touch with friends and family quite easily using functions like Voiceover and Siri. Alan and Summer continued to talk at the bowling event that evening, and amongst other things Alan talked about how technology will be able to help Summer with employment opportunities in the future.

A few months later, Summer's dad messaged Alan to say: "That day burst my bubble but in a good way". Dad now realised there was so much technology available to help his daughter reach her potential (not surprisingly, Summer now owns a smart phone.)

 

“It's been wonderful to watch my daughter be able to do all the things that other kids can do and see how much her confidence has grown”. - Summer's dad 

How Summer's life has changed 

Alan recently caught up with the family and Summer told him she had been learning how to use voiceover with friends but was keen to learn more. When they met Alan was struck by how much Summer had changed.  In the space of 3 months she had gone from having an Alto 2 talking phone to confidently navigating voiceover using the rotor and mastering Siri. With Alan’s support Summer has gone on to discover a variety of apps which can help her in so many different ways.

Summer and her dad were recently interviewed on Connect radio and Summer talked about how much Online Today had changed her life. She now feels included in friendships as she can access and communicate via the same technology as everyone else. 

How IRISS can help you?

If you live in West and Central Scotland, you could benefit from the IRISS project. It is a support package tailored to each individual family needs, providing support and information, bridging the gap from time of diagnosis to the statutory services involvement. Early intervention support is given for families when children and young people are diagnosed with a sight loss condition, if their existing vision deteriorates or if they require support to help prevent families reaching crisis point, supporting families of children 0-18yrs. The support package is for 12 sessions. Email IRISS@rnib.org.uk for more information. 

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