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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

1st Smartphone for Blind user?

Hi everyone! My mother is completely blind and has minimal feeling in her hands. She has had analog cell phones for years, but as the buttons have become smaller and smaller, she has had an increasingly difficult time finding a phone that works. She has AT&T, which is the only national carrier available where she lives, in Alaska, and is in need of a new phone.
I know that there are many blind users who have made smartphones work for them, and I know that there are a lot of options out there. I don't live near my mother, so any training she needs to use the new phone has to be from a distance unless I can find someone up there to teach her. She needs her phone really only for calls, but as she learns what is available to do with a phone, she may be able to expand what she uses it for.
I'm looking for recommendations of a phone, and any essential apps, etc. She can not read braille because of her decreased feeling in her hands, and her dexterity is somewhat decreased, making fine, pinpoint accuracy difficult.
I've heard good things about the iPhone, but am open to any phone she can get. Also, I know she is concerned about how she will be able to plug in a microUSB cord to charge the phone, so a Samsung that has wireless charging would be cool, too. Thanks in advance for any recommendations.


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iPhone uses Siri to give it your voice commands



Siri is available on any iPhone you buy your mother these days. With SIRI, your mother does things by giving her phone voice commands. Your mother can ask the phone to dial a phone number, set an alarm for herself, dictate reminders, keep a calendar of events for herself and much much more. There is a weekly phone conference she can attend where folks who are blind or have low vision teach each other how to use the iPhone effectively. It meets every tuesday evening at 8:30 Central Time. Folks do need to dial into a phone number. You will be charged for long distance unless you have long distance as a part of your plan. The phone class calls itself iBUG and their website is iBUGtoday.com. If you sign into that website with a username and password, you can download past episodes of these monday night conference calls and other in-depth iPhone seminars. Your mother can hook herself up with a Mentor from the iBUG group and get support while learning her new phone.
We are patient and will be glad to welcome her to our weekly get togethers.


Re: 1st Smartphone for Blind user?



I would recommend an Assistive technology evaluation by a skilled person who could tell you if she could use a smartphone for a number of tasks. If she is able to the Apple devices could allow you guys to Facetime. If you guys take it slow and learn one skill and then add more she before long could learn more than just how to make calls. Maybe she could learn to text you.
Good luck!


Re: 1st Smartphone for Blind user?



I used the Jitterbug and was pleased. I called the operator and asked for my party by name. Once set up, by dictating a bunch of names and numbers. it worked well. You are charged for the operator's help, but I think this may be waived for the legally blind.


Re: 1st Smartphone for Blind user?



I used the Jitterbug and was pleased. I called the operator and asked for my party by name. Once set up, by dictating a bunch of names and numbers. it worked well. You are charged for the operator's help, but I think this may be waived for the legally blind.


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