Guest Opinion: David (and friends) versus Goliath
On April 18, the Post Independent did a story on my daughter Kara and I and our quest to have Apple make changes to its iPad operating system (iOS). This change would better serve those with memory and scheduling problems due to cognitive disabilities.
Kara lives a fairly independent life because of an iPad and a 99-cent app called Aida. She has significant challenges with memory and time management due to a severe traumatic brain injury suffered as a child. Technology is helping her to have a self-determined life. Unfortunately, the Aida app that guides Kara’s life underwent revisions from iOS5 to now iOS8. Because of the operating system updates it lost much of its initial usefulness for many people like Kara.
With help from Trinity Services in Chicago, (serving clients with developmental disabilities) and especially Sherry Ladislas from Trinity, I recently launched a petition on change.org trying to get Apple’s attention as to how these updates affected people’s lives. I have emailed and called Apple many times over the last several years since iOS revisions to try to explain the life-changing aspects that were taken away. No one at Apple listened. I lost hope in capturing Apple’s interest in this. Trinity Services gave me a strong foundation again.
PI writer Angelyn Frankenberg did an excellent job in capturing the journey we have been on. On May 4, I emailed a link to the Post Independent article and a link to our change.org petition, “Kara’s Own Voice,” to Apple Accessibility and to Tim Cook, Apple CEO. And … Apple is starting to listen!
I received a call this week from a person with Apple Accessibility wanting to learn more about the challenges we’re facing. He saw the change.org petition and read the PI article. Many of his questions focused on information he had learned from Angelyn’s story written about our request to Apple.
We spent 34 minutes discussing the situation and Apple’s interest in supporting those with disabilities to lead an independent life. Apple’s motto is “We have done everything possible to make anything possible.” I told the Apple Accessibility representative that the company had done everything but restore changes to this great app’s full potential for those with TBIs, early dementia and other memory/scheduling problems.
Many of you in this wonderful community signed our petition and sent it to others across the country and throughout the world to sign and share. Although we did not go viral, we have captured the attention of Apple by the petition and with the PI’s help.
We still have work to be done — that is to keep sharing this petition and encourage others to sign it. Apple has not yet committed to restoring the lost features, but we made them listen, and they will continue to listen.
So, thank you friends for helping the little guy! Continue to sign, share and add your comments.
Alice Brouhard is a Glenwood Springs resident and advocate for people with traumatic brain injuries.
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