Megan Diderrich recently wrote of her autistic son’s personal experiences using Amazon Alexa. She believes that Alexa is helping her son develop his language and social skills through interacting with this device. How is this possible? Well, he can repeat a question many times over and Alexa is happy to respond without losing her patience or demonstrating annoyance. If he wants he can ask Alexa to play his favourite song over and over too. He enjoys interacting with Alexa to play games and she doesn’t mind how simple the game is or how often they play it. Such social interaction can only help in the development of important social skills needed to manage what Megan’s autistic son will find challenging in his day to day life. This innovative smart speaker provides an opportunity for autistic children to have accessibility to positive social settings so as modelling important social skills.
Megan’s story about her son demonstrates that this device can be really helpful to a person who has autism but Alexa also has the capacity to assist people with other forms of disability. Anyone who struggles with technology or physically controlling their environment would benefit from such a device. It offers hands free voice control for music and entertainment. Alexa also lets us control devices such as lights, switches and thermostats, providing an opportunity for greater independence and privacy. For those who use augmentative and alternative communication methods will find that this product also has the capacity to understand and hear synthetic speech devices which is awesome for those that use communication aids as they will still find this technology accessible.
There is currently various smart speaker technology on the market and Amazon Alexa is one of these. Other examples of this technology are Google Home and Apple Homepod. So, it is all about finding which one is right for you, based on personal preference and what is compatible with other technologies you are using in your life. The good news is that there are plenty of choices in the current marketplace. Smart speaker technology is another step in the right direction, it provides opportunities for people with various disabilities to connect, have greater independence and live a better quality of life.