Awesome Apps

Reprinted from PN/Paraplegia News April 2013

No matter what kind of smartphone you have, you want the best and most helpful apps and software to go with it.

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The popularity and daily use of smartphones continues to skyrocket, and if you don’t already have one you may look at upgrading to one soon.

Whether you have an iPhone, Android or other type of smartphone, you want the best and most helpful applications (apps) and software to go with it. There are plenty of great apps and software for wheelchair users, and this is a look at a few of them.

Keep in mind my selections are reflective of my own experience as someone with a C5-6 spinal-cord injury. As an iPhone user I’m also more familiar with apps for that platform. Here are what I believe are five great apps and software for your Apple or Android smartphone.


Finding an accessible parking space is possibly one of the biggest challenges and frustrations of anyone
in a wheelchair.

iPhone & Android: Parking Mobility

A free app that lets you share, find and suggest disabled-parking locations anywhere in the world. Most cities don’t know where their disabled parking is. So, at first you may find that only a few spots show up on the map where you live. By tapping the map pin, you can quickly see that parking location’s details, such as the number of spots and ramp accessibility.

You can also report disabled-parking violations to your city in less than two minutes. When you see a vehicle parked illegally, simply launch the app, take three photos and submit. The app tells the city.

Autonomic Dysreflexia

Autonomic dysreflexia (AD) is a medical emergency for people with disabilities, but many healthcare professionals don’t know enough about it. Having something about it on your smartphone can be a lifesaver.


There isn’t currently an iPhone app for AD.

It’s a good idea to find a PDF with essential information about AD and keep it on your iPhone. A downloadable fact sheet and wallet card are available at

Android: Autonomic Dysreflexia

Available at

A newly updated and free app from LA Apps includes plenty of information for medical professionals.

It includes sections on your personal experience with AD, causes, symptoms and what to do.


Do you drink enough water? Lots of apps remind you to drink water every day and track your water-drinking habits.

iPhone: Water Your Body Lite

Available at iTunes app store

This free app sponsored by Brita tracks your daily water consumption in an intuitive way, and because not everyone needs to drink the same amount, it is designed specifically for you.

Its many features include a daily and overall average grade on how well you’re keeping up on your recommended amount and a reminder for how much you have left to meet your goals.

Android: Water Your Body

Available at

This free app reminds you to drink water every day and tracks your water-drinking habits.

You need to enter your current weight, and the app will help you determine how much water your body needs every day. When you have finished drinking a cup of water, you’ll need to add a cup in the app.

Speaker Phone

A speakerphone is a great help for everyone, but it can be especially useful for people in wheelchairs who may need their hands to push or may not have full use of them.

iPhone: Hands-Free Speakerphone

Built into iPhone’s operating system (iOS)

Enjoy hands-free communication using the built-in speakerphone, which you can also use to listen to Visual Voicemail, music, podcasts, and video.

To enable the hands-free speakerphone for auto-answering, go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Physical & Motor > Incoming Calls.

Android: Auto Speakerphone

Available at

It automatically enables the speakerphone on all incoming and outgoing calls. By default, the speakerphone will not be turned on if a hands-free bluetooth device or headphones are detected.


What could be easier than creating a letter, email or list without ever touching a keyboard? Dictation software is an awesome convenience, especially for people with disabilities that limit the use of their hands.


Built into iPhone’s operating system (iOS)

To use Dictation, your device must be connected to the Internet. The program on iPhones works as part of Siri, an intelligent personal assistant that uses a natural language user interface

Dictate text: From the onscreen keyboard, tap, then dictate. When you finish, tap “Done.” If you wish to add to an existing message, tap again.


Built into Android 4.0+

Android 4.0 introduced a powerful new voice input engine that offers a continuous “open microphone” experience and streaming voice recognition.

The new voice input engine lets you dictate the text you want, for as long as you want, using the language you want. You can speak continuously and dictate punctuation to create correct sentences.

It underlines possible dictation errors in gray. You can tap the underlined words to quickly replace them from a list of suggestions.

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