Quadriplegics engage with Apple store to better use their products

This past week, NorCal SCI organized a visit to the Apple store in Los Gatos as part of our effort to engage with technology companies making products that are also widely used by the disabled community.   Attending were four quadriplegics: Earl Bowser, Anthony Berry, and NorCal SCI co-founders, Nick Struthers and Franklin Elieh (we always like to remind Nick that despite his remarkable and complete recovery from a C5-6 SCI, he's still a member of the Quad Club) who use Apple's iPhone.

   Seated from left to right:  Franklin Elieh, Earl Bowser, Anthony Berry.  Standing in the background from left to right:  Pat Kusumoto, Nick Struthers

Seated from left to right:  Franklin Elieh, Earl Bowser, Anthony Berry.  Standing in the background from left to right:  Pat Kusumoto, Nick Struthers

On hand from the Apple store was Pat Kusumoto who patiently spent more than an hour addressing challenges unique to those of us with limited dexterity.  We came away with a much better understanding of how to use our iPhones, some of the shortcuts that can make the phone more accessible and also with some items on our wish list for Apple to address, particularly with how to take pictures more effortlessly.

The setting was really productive because we had the attention of one person and we quickly learned from each other that we shared common challenges, so it was a great opportunity to ask one question and have multiple users benefit from the solution.

We're working with Apple to determine the best way for anyone with a disability to go to the Apple store nearest them to take advantage of these personal classes as well as how to communicate to Apple the additional product enhancements they can make so their products become more user-friendly and accessible.   Thanks to Pat and the Apple store management for their outreach and we look forward to continue our engagements with them.