Able Australia Case Studies

Able Australia have put together these stories of how people with deafblindness use their smartphone to communicate and stay connected with friends, family and the community. 

Kathy - Melbourne

I post photos on Facebook so my family and friends can share my life and I can stay connected to nieces and nephews.

Kathy was born deaf and with cataracts in both eyes.  She has learned to talk and use Auslan at deaf school.  She had a cochlear implant in 2013 and although her hearing has improved she still communicates with sign language. In 2015 her vision worsened and she can no longer read small print nor see very far into the distance.  Kathy loves her smartphone that she has had for 3 years and she says she couldn’t live without it

I can make the fonts bigger and read my emails and SMS no problem.  I have an app called Rainbow key to change the size and colours of the keyboard. I take photos of everything – family, friends, holidays, my home, my husband cooking.  

Gillian - Melbourne

Gillian uses her smartphone when travelling. She can ring her husband from the train so that he can meet her at the station. It allows her the independence to catch up with friends and enjoy her city.

My greatest need for a mobile phone was to escape to the Art Gallery with a friend who understands what is feasible for me to access.   

Carleeta  - Sydney

Carlettea has learnt how to use the braille reader on her smartphone to upload photos. She is able to access the apps on her smartphone to read the news and message her friends.

I love my smartphone. It is much easier to use it when travelling. I love to take photos using braille and upload these to Facebook to show my friends.

Robert - Melbourne

Robert uses his smartphone for work. Last year his workplace started using an app called Trello to organise projects. This allows him to create task and share information with his boss.  He uses another app called Wish for online shopping. This makes is easier to research the prices and find massive savings. He also uses Paypal and eBanking features to pay bills on his phone.

Another thing I love about my phone is that I can send Auslan video messages instantly, compared to the tedious process of using a video camera then having to transfer on to a computer then uploading.

Colleen -  Melbourne

Colleen started using a mobile phone in 2000. It was a Nokia which she used for text messaging. When she started using a smartphone in 2009 she was able to use a lot of the new features.

I was able to change my background colour and magnify the text to suit my vision. I use SMS, Messenger, email, Whatsapp, and Facetime. I also use Google Maps when I am walking to new places and the PTV app.

Steven -  Adelaide

Steven uses his smartphone everyday. He accesses the alarm clock, SMS, email, contact lists, Facebook, photos and videos. He his able to type message into his phone and then convert the text to audio speech so he can communicate. He also uses the national relay service (NRS) which is accessibleon his smartphone to make calls with hearing people and it’s very accessible. One of his favourite transport apps is Uber.

My phone also keeps me connected with all my international friends and I am also able to use my phone to text when travelling overseas.  As well as magnifying the text on the screen I also use my magnifying glass to assist me when using my phone.  I have a Bluetooth keyboard connected to my phone and can touch type. 

Dennis - Melbourne

Dennis recieved his first smartphone about five years ago. He has setup a black background to make it easier to read messages and then toggles to a plain background to see photos. He uses magnification and zoom to look at maps when travelling and to work out where he needs to go. Dennis uses SMS and email for communication.  He keeps all the information he needs in Notes and can check the weather on his smartphone.

Most of my friends have smartphones and many have a braille smartphone and it amazing as we can all communicate with each other really well.