03/25/20 Just added: the House Party app for video drop ins and house parties. Thanks Haley and Debbie!
The world is facing a crisis with the spread of Covid-19. Social Isolation is vital to stop the spread of the coronavirus and keep us from overwhelming our healthcare system. Yet, isolation can cause anxiety and stress. It can worsen mental illness. Mental health needs are real. Touch deprivation is real.
One of the steps recommended by the CDC to manage stress and anxiety is to:
“Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.”
We need to find ways to make connection possible given the current situation.
Fortunately, we live in the age of computers and smartphones. Most of us have devices that allow us to make video calls. My mother lives in NYC and has a chronic lung condition. She is truly stuck at home. We got her set up with an iPhone in January and we now FaceTime almost every day.
In this time of Social Isolation, being able to video chat IS Assistive Technology and we all can benefit. Of course, not everybody has an iPhone, but there are lots of tools we can use. Just make sure that everyone downloads the same app. Here are a few choices:
|Name||Platform||Call Type||Accessibility Features||Encryption|
||iOS and Mac||Video or Voice||Can send sound to hearing aids,
Settings for visual alerts (call notifications)
||Desktop, iOS or Android||Video or Voice||Zoom appearance options and keyboard shortcuts for blind/low vision||Yes|
||Desktop, iOS or Android||Video, text, or Voice||Keyboard shortcuts for blind/low vision, Voiceover gestures for iOS||Has a “Secret” mode|
||Desktop, iOS or Android||Video, text, or Voice||Works with Voiceover or Siri can read messages aloud||Yes|
|Google Duo||iOS or Android||Video, live or recorded||Simple screen with large buttons. Uses photos from your contact list.||Yes|
||Desktop, iOS or Android||Video, text, or Voice||built-in screen reader, full-page zoom, high-contrast color, and accessibility extensions in Chrome Browser||Yes|
||Desktop, iOS or Android||Video, text, or Voice||Captioning and subtitles (desktop),
High contrast theme
||iOS or Android||Video, live or recorded||You can record, check, and then send your video|
|House Party App
||iOS, Mac, Android, or Chrome||Live video, games, and notifications when your contacts are “in the house”||You can “lock” your room so that random drop ins are prevented|
Do you have a favorite video chat app? Let us know!
CDC article: Managing Stress & Anxiety