Earlier this morning, Apple posted a pair of videos onto its YouTube channel to join in on celebrating Autism Acceptance Month. The videos – titled “Dillan’s Voice” and “Dillan’s Path” – show how the company’s technology, namely the iPad, has helped a young man with autism navigate a world that doesn’t fully understand what he’s going through.
Dillan narrates the first video, Dillan’s Voice, using the help of an assistive communication app on the iPad. He mentions that most of his life it was impossible to convey what he felt to people around him, but with the help of the iPad he can finally speak and have conversations with his friends and family
So many people can’t understand that I have a mind. All they can see is a person who is not in control. But now you can hear me. The iPad helps me to see not only my words but to hold onto my thoughts. Having a voice has changed everything in my life. No more isolation. I can finally speak with the people that love me. I can say what I think and let them know I love them too.
Dillan’s mom Tami, and his therapist Deborah Spengler, provide some background into Dillan’s past in the second video. Dillan was born in 1999 and Tami mentions that what the iPad has done for her son is “just the most incredible thing ever, to suddenly start to hear your child’s voice.” Before he could use the iPad to type, Dillan describes “a lonely existence” where he had to create relationships with his various toy animals since he couldn’t communicate with his family.
Apple has been known as a big proponent for first-party accessibility features on its devices, as well as encouraging the development of third-party apps that facilitate educational experiences for users with vision, hearing, physical, or learning impairments. Many of its award-winning efforts have yielded results such as bringing gaming to the blind on iOS, and even various assistive technologies like VoiceOver and haptic feedback on the Apple Watch.
Apple has also launched a section of the app store, called Voices of Autism, inspired by Dillan’s story. There users can download educational and every-day apps, helpful books, and listen to podcasts about “real-life stories” from people living with autism.
More can be discovered about Apple’s extensive accessibility features on the company’s website.