“I’m a quadriplegic,” says Walter. “I use a mouth stick and voice recognition software on my computer, which works great. When it came to my phone – Siri’s great, but it’s a love/hate relationship.”
Looking for a way to be more productive with his iPhone, Walter joined TELUS’ Tech for Good™(new window) program in collaboration with Neil Squire. Through the program, customers with disabilities that require assistive technology can receive specialized assistance.
Walter participated in a number of remote lessons with Digital Technology Specialist, Khatidja. His goal was to be able to use the speech recognition feature called voice control on his iPhone.
“The lessons were awesome!” says Walter. “Khatidja was very knowledgeable and very articulate. She could coach me through whatever I needed to do, like share my phone on the computer. That blew me away; that was really cool.
“The voice control feature on the phone allows me to do a lot more things than I could before. Earlier, I had other people who were helping me access apps and that sort of thing. Now I can just do a lot of stuff by myself, quite well. All that I can do now, I couldn’t do before.”
As an example, Walter describes using voice control to send texts. “It sends the text more articulately than Siri does. Although I’ve used Siri a lot, the voice control does it really well.”
His new skills have benefited his work “tenfold. I can get up later in the morning and still be relaxed about working, because I can work from bed with my phone – despite everything I have to do.”
Walter also appreciated that the lessons were remote. “I work for myself, so it’s important I work from home and am available to my phone and my clients. And that helps a lot. Travel is a very important factor in my life.”
Walter adds, “[Earlier,] my phone was a tool for Siri, one or two apps, or to answer the phone – and having someone who could pick up the phone for me, because I can’t. The biggest barrier would be frustration. Now there’s no frustration anymore.”
Without services like these, says Walter, “Guys like myself won’t be as productive as they can be.”