How to Buy a Cell Phone for a Quadriplegicby eHow Electronics Editor
If you or a loved one is a quadriplegic, accessibility issues are a part of daily life. The good news is that, when it comes to communication devices, voice-activated calling and dialing technology, as well as voice recognition technology, is getting better and better. There are several quadriplegic-accessible cell phones out there that make it possible to stay connected without the hassle of previous models.
Shop for accessible phones and systems designed specifically for those with limited or no upper limb mobility. These options range from phone systems that are wired to a motorized wheelchair, to headsets and adapted cellular phone models that are often very costly, but sometimes the best choice if you can afford it.
Check the Internet for budget-friendly options. Read forums, blogs and reviews to get ideas on how to save money while maximizing ability. Many people have found creative ways for using a regular cell phone with voice-activated dialing, including buying a cellular phone car-kit for around $150 and then installing the kit on the wheelchair to make the phone hands free. This unfortunately puts all calls on speaker, so you lose privacy, but works for some.
Compare the latest and greatest cell phones and PDAs on the market. As Bluetooth technology, voice activation and hands-free technology improves, cell phones are becoming more and more accessible to those who need to rely on voice command features. A good Bluetooth-enabled phone and headset combo can be just as effective as a traditionally accessible cellular phone system, though it could still cost about $500 for a model with the best voice recognition technology.
Try it out before you buy. Whoever is going to use this phone should definitely be involved in the buying process, as what works for some may not work for others depending on the style of the phone, the needs of the person, and their level of upper body function. Test the voice command sensitivity, ease of use, comfort level and durability of the product carefully before you make the purchase.