Apps and solutions……..pre-order coffee and pay without using cash.

At the beginning of Summer School (see here) I wrote about the challenges of using cash, coins and bus tickets, undertakings that are demanding for the compromised digits of people living with quadriplegia.

After a week of coffee orders and experimental menu choices; I discreetly went to the university cafe counter to ask if I could pre pay for coffee so that Emily didn’t have to juggle her change and hot cuppa; a practical impossibility. Can you imagine my delight as the waitress handed me a small blue leaflet, I was euphoric to read that an app can be download to pre-order and pay for coffee. Well done to techies, iphones, ipads, Steve Jobs and all things that can be dragged, tapped, ordered and paid for without a coin or pencil in sight. Eureka for the disabled.

Beat the Q is a new way to pre-order and pay for your coffee. See here for details. Download the app to your iphone or ipad and open an account. Download your favourite participating cafe or restaurant and start pre-ordering your skinny flat white or cappuccino, a crusty baguette or toasted Panini.

We are all benefiting from the explosion of technological improvements in recent years but especially people with disabilities. Emily can study in a paperless environment, books are Online, lectures are uploaded, exams are multiple choice on a computer taken in a technology lab. I don’t want to dwell on what it was like prior to these practical applications of science, I can only acknowledge their positive impact on the ability of the disabled to interact in communities, society and life. Technology combined with better access has beneficial consequences for people living with disability as witnessed by the increasing number interfacing outside their homes. Technology and access has enabled people with disabilities to rejoin the workforce, continue their education and improved their travel opportunities and participation in the Worldwide forum.

The Opal card for the Sydney Ferry is advantageous as it can be pre-loaded with funds so no coins to manage. The ferry ramps still have to be addressed as far too steep for wheelchair users but visit Opal here for details on their pre-paid travel card.

WheelMate is another app that I downloaded this week for wheelchair-accessible toilets and parking spaces. “Finding clean, accessible toilets and parking spaces when on the move can be a real challenge for wheelchair users. WheelMate is designed to change that.” Visit their site here 

Emily uses Dragon voice recognition software to dictate notes and essays, emails and letters. See here.  Although there are some annoying auto correct spelling errors that need to be edited, it is a helpful tool especially as tapping out 1000 word assignments is time-consuming and neck achingly tiring.

As a carer I celebrate all these apps as it diminishes my status. I am working full-time towards Emily’s total independence and these apps complement my aim.  I rejoice as I pre-order coffee while on a pre-paid ferry ride into the city.  I am ecstatic that I can consult a phone app to plan a trip in the car and not have to devote precious time worrying about the practicalities of our excursion. I am in constant awe and wonder of these newfangled devices and apps but that is just my age. I will never experience the hardship of not having these innovations and I feel overwhelmingly thankful that Emily will never struggle without these advances either.

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