This is about using Alexa as a disability accommodation. It’s focused on using Alexa with children, but it could be interchanged with Siri or any comparable device assistant
When Prime Day came last year, I stocked up on Alexa devices, so that every room has one. I did this for easy communication with my kids, no matter which room or floor we were on. “Alexa, make an announcement that dinner is ready” sure beat running around and yelling!
Besides announcements and of course, playing music (especially on the “everywhere group” to blast some Rick Astley into my kid’s rooms in the morning!) I didn’t really use Alexa that much.
Then I noticed how much my daughter Moxie was using it.
I noticed this interesting, casual way she’d talk to it, asking it for help with spelling, to play something she wanted to hear, or dig up some nugget of information she yearned to glean. She was treating Alexa as this AI buddy, there to help her with whatever she wanted.
Case in point:
Notice how patient she is with it? She just keeps repeating her command until she gets what she wants.
Alexa can really be helpful. Far beyond just dinner announcements, it can actually be a disability accommodation tool. It can help by being easy for our kids (or us) to access and get information from.
Using Alexa to Help Spell
One of the incredible things that Alexa can do is help kids with spelling words. Simply ask Alexa to spell a word, and she’ll respond with the correct spelling. The best part? She also provides phonetic pronunciation for each word, so kids can learn how it’s pronounced too! You saw this with Moxie in her video – she figured this all out on her own.
Using Alexa to Help Solve Math Problems
Another great use for Alexa with kids is math. Alexa can help solve basic and complex math equations, making it an invaluable tool. All you have to do is ask the device to “solve” or “calculate” a math problem, and she’ll provide step-by-step instructions on how to work it out.
Using Alexa to Enhance Learning
Alexa can be used to enhance learning experiences for kids with disabilities. She can provide educational content, such as facts and trivia questions, or she can read aloud books and stories. This is a great way for kids to engage in learning even if they have difficulty with reading or writing. I’ve already seen Moxie asking Alexa for book recommendations and for stories – the problem came though, when I realized I hadn’t locked down online purchases from Alexa…
Using Alexa to Tell Time and Check the Weather
Another great use for Alexa is to help kids learn how to tell time and check the weather. Not only can they ask Alexa what time it is or what the temperature outside is, but they can also set up alarms and reminders that will help them stay on track with their daily routines.
Using Alexa to Play Music
Finally, Alexa can help make learning and doing chores more enjoyable by playing music. Kids can ask Alexa to play any type of music they like – we have ours connected to our Spotify account, so the range is virtually limitless. Even so, Lady Gaga gets a lot of airtime around here.
Alexa Can Help with Time Management
As mentioned previously, Alexa can be used to help children (or adults) who have difficulty managing time or have issues with their executive functioning. By setting reminders and alarms for specific tasks or events, kids with disabilities can better stay on track and accomplish what they need to do.
There are so many ways that Alexa can be used as a Disability Accommodation for kids with disabilities.
From helping them with spelling and math, to enhancing learning experiences and playing music, Alexa can help make information and life more accessible. Teaching our kids – or letting our kids teach themselves – how to use tools like Alexa can really make a difference in their lives.
5 Minute Interview with Moxie on How She Uses Alexa
Just press play below – it’s an interview with Moxie on how she uses Alexa, with demonstrations on how she uses it to check the time, play music, spell things and so forth!
Where to Find Alexa?
Alexa is the Amazon AI assistant, so she’s on the Amazon-powered devices like the Echos and Kindle Fire. You need to check the model to make sure it’s got Alexa on it. The older models do not have Alexa.
We don’t use Kindles or Kindle Fire anymore. We only use Echos. We have them all – the Echo Show (which has a screen and you watch movies on it, have calls, etc), the Hub (which, like the name indicates, serves as a sort of hub for all the dots), and the Dots. I have them all connected, so I can play music using every Echo in the house, or when I make announcements, they go to every room.
This is what we use – if price is an issue, remember that they are drastically reduced on Prime Day – something like 75% off. The refurbished versions are also great options. Lastly, an Echo might make a great request from a local service organization (like Rotary, Lions, Kiwanis) for a disability accommodation tool! So don’t let the steep price tag of the newer models deter you.
Meriah Nichols is a counselor. Solo mom to 3 (one with Down syndrome, one on the spectrum). Deaf, and neurodiverse herself, she’s a gardening nerd who loves cats, Star Trek, and takes her coffee hot and black.