Friday, October 07, 2011

Steve Jobs, Technology, and Disabilities

Tim Carmody on how the technology of Steve Jobs' Apple had impacted his 4-year old autistic son. Amazing!

‘This Stuff Doesn’t Change the World’: Disability and Steve Jobs’ Legacy:

When I did tweet, thefirst semi-coherent thought I was able to write about Jobswas also about my son:

I’m on my way to PHL to see my son, who uses a device Steve Jobs invented to help him talk. He will never know. He will never know.

My son is on the autism spectrum and has a severe receptive and expressive language delay. He’s 4 years old, and can read and spell words, and sing entire songs, but is more like an 18-month- or 2-year-old in normal conversation. He cannot use a telephone and has a hard time sitting still for video telephony. He has a thoroughly well-loved iPod Touch, filled with videos and apps that have helped him learn to speak and augment his ability to communicate.

My tweet about my son wasretweeted almost 500 times, more than anything else I’ve ever written in 140 characters, and put me in touch with other parents of children with special needs — strangers — some seeking information, some wanting to share their stories.

It may be a stretch to say Steve Jobs invented the iPod Touch or most of the technologies contained in it. But Steve Jobs certainly put it in my son’s hands, both by making it a sub-$200 device (and in our case, giving it away free with a laptop) and by helping to create an ecosystem of software applications for people with disabilities — perhaps especially communication disabilities.

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