Android iPhone and iPad

5 Smartphone Apps for People With Disabilities

Mark O'Neill 31-01-2015

It’s a sad fact of life that not all of us in the world are 100% healthy. So many disabilities afflict so many people these days, and it makes it difficult to live as a normal human being. But something wonderful happened to disabled people years back — the invention of the smartphone and tablet. Now, disabled people no longer have to feel helpless for day to day stuff. If you are challenged yourself, are a parent or a carer, you might find a gem among these five.


How, you may ask. Simply put, apps make it easier for a disabled person to communicate, listen to things they want to know about, remember to take their medication, and more. For some disabled people, a tablet or a smartphone is the best thing they have ever owned 5 Best Resources for Mac & Apple Device Users with Disabilities Read More .

For Blind People — Learn Braille

5 Smartphone Apps for People With Disabilities brailleios

When people become blind, the first thing they need to do is learn the Braille language. This is absolutely essential if they are going to make their way in the world.

There are smartphone apps which can help with that. For iOS, a good one to try is Learn Braille Alphabet. The interface has more of a children’s feel to it, but it still teaches 26 Braille alphabets, with pronunciation. And lots of practice exercises.

5 Smartphone Apps for People With Disabilities brailleandroid


For Android, a good one is Braille Guide. This is much the same as what iOS offers, except the Android one is free.

For Deaf People — Learn Sign Language

5 Smartphone Apps for People With Disabilities Screen Shot 2015 01 30 at 17

For deaf people, the language needing to be learned as quickly as possible is sign language. For iOS, there are a few possibilities but the one I liked the most was Marlee Signs. Marlee Matlin is an Oscar winning actress, who is perhaps most well known for her role as Joey Lucas in “The West Wing”. And now she has done a free sign language app.

5 Smartphone Apps for People With Disabilities spreadthesign


Android users can use an app called “Spread The Sign”. It claims to be the “world’s largest sign language dictionary with over 200,000 signs”. And you are able to learn sign language in various languages.

For Dyslexic People

5 Smartphone Apps for People With Disabilities dyslexiakey

Dyslexia, in case you don’t know, is when a person has trouble understanding language (the structure of it), and therefore has trouble reading. Is there an app to help them with it? There sure is.

For iOS, is an app called DyslexiaKey. It makes the font in every application on the phone with a heavy base line. It also inserts alternating stick/tail lengths and larger than normal openings. This overall makes using the phone much easier because you will see the letters clearly. It also works in WhatsApp, Facebook, iMessage, and Snapchat.


5 Smartphone Apps for People With Disabilities dyslexickeyboard

Android alternatives include one called Keyboard for Dyslexics. It simply rearranges the letters on the keyboard, so that they are in sequence. Easier for a dyslexic sufferer to comprehend.

For Autistic People

5 Smartphone Apps for People With Disabilities autismios

Autism is a brain disorder, which makes communicating and interacting with other people difficult. A good example of an autistic man is Dustin Hoffman’s brilliant portrayal in the movie “Rain Man”.


I was actually quite disappointed about the lack of autism apps available. For iOS, the best I could find was an app which listed other apps. These apps help to teach an autistic person language skills and social skills.

5 Smartphone Apps for People With Disabilities miraclemodus

For Android, I found something called Miracle Modus. It was made by an autistic person to “mitigate sensory overload”. It makes bright lights, hypnotic rainbows and soft bells. It is supposed to calm the person down, and it has glowing reviews. So it must be doing something right.

For Diabetic People

If you are diabetic, what is your number one priority? Yes, taking your insulin. Because if you forget, you are up the proverbial creek without a paddle.

So how do we ensure that we don’t forget? Use a cross-platform app called Diabetes Logbook. It is a diabetes manager that focuses on making your diabetes data useful in everyday life. It adds an element of gamification, and you get immediate feedback through a “diabetes monster”, to help keep you motivated. Weird…but if it works!

Download: iOS | Android

Which disabilities do you have, and what smartphone apps do you use to make those disabilities more tolerable? Let us know in the comments!

Image Credit: Shutterstock

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  1. Beyond Words
    November 25, 2015 at 11:34 am

    We will soon be launching an app for people with intellectual (learning) disabilities and communication difficulties. It's a collection of over 400 stories, all in pictures, which help to cover many of life's challenges - like going to the doctor, a parent dying or falling in love. Keep an eye on this page here as links for iOS and Android version will soon be available. It will also be a lot cheaper than many of the communication aids on the market.

    [Broken URL Removed]


    Beyond Words

  2. Gandhi
    February 1, 2015 at 9:48 am

    Since when did diabetes become a disability?

    • Liz Petzak
      February 20, 2015 at 3:37 pm

      Since September 25, 2008 with the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA).

      Not everyone with diabetes is "disabled", but millions of people truly ARE ~ and suffer with unthinkable neuropathy pain, and eventual amputations, among other things, as the disease tears down the body from the inside out.

  3. Paul H.
    January 31, 2015 at 5:57 am

    How does a blind person learn Braille from a Smartphone screen ?

    • Amir
      January 31, 2015 at 9:16 am

      That's a question to me either

    • Logan
      January 31, 2015 at 12:42 pm

      Same here.

    • Leah
      January 31, 2015 at 6:35 pm

      I was going to ask that!

  4. David
    January 31, 2015 at 5:27 am

    And then of course there is Be My Eyes. (Here's hoping for an Android version of that soon.)