Amazon Echo for Disabled People

Look, I love reading to my kids. But the thing is, it is never enough for them. One book or chapter turns into 2 or 4 or even more. Imagine if you had someone to help you with this task? It sounds robotic, but I want to try it. This is why we’re trying Amazon Echo for disabilities.

I seriously never even heard of these things until 2 days ago (this post is a few years old!). I swear I don’t live under a rock! Of course, I had heard of them and I’ve seen the commercials. But I thought that it was mostly a novelty thing. Mind you, there isn’t a specific Alexa for Autism or the Disabled, we’re buying the usual one. But you can load it up with skills specific to your child’s needs.

amazon echo disabled autism

The other day a friend said that her son requested an Amazon Dot for Christmas. Then today in the Facebook group, another parent asked how households like ours (autistic kids, learning disabled, etc.) are using them, as she is considering getting one. I was amazed! I had no idea that these Amazon Echo products had so many uses! Especially for autism, disabled kids, and so much more.

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Now, I’m ordering one! I just have to do a bit more research on what our household needs, but I think Kevin is going to love it.

Alexa Uses for Disabled People

I love my Facebook group, they are such a resource of information!

  1. My daughter has dyslexia and now she can ask Alexa instead of me!
  2. We have Alexa and a Dot in each bedroom. It helps my 16-year-old daughter with down syndrome to speak clearly and slowly when she wants to request a song, ask about the weather help her decide what to wear, fun facts for the day, science and history questions, directions. Lots of stuff and it has helped with her speech tremendously.
  3. My kids all use it as a timer for tasks. Independently. Super cute. Also, for playing music or answering questions. They check the weather on it constantly also.
  4. Increase independence-Use the timer and alarms to be independent. Check the weather to know how to dress.
  5. I have Amazon Prime and got all my kids the dot so they can play music or ask Alexa questions like Siri. My kids are 11, 13 and 15. Great gift for tweens and teens IMO especially if you have prime.
  6. My family uses it anytime we need information without using the computer to look it up. We ask it stupid questions and jokes. It can make to-do lists and shopping lists. The kids can add to the list and it appears on my App while I am at the store. You can connect your smart products (lights, thermostat, fan, etc.) and digital books to it. My mom stays with the kids when I went out of town. She didn’t have an alarm clock. The kids taught her to use Alexa for the alarm. You can call others (hands-free) that have an Alexa/dot. We use it for the weather updates. You can use it as an intercom system if you have more than one in your home.
  7. We have one. My kids are 4 and 7. They ask questions, play games, and have her read them books off the Kindle.
  8. Let your household know when dinner is ready, ask someone for help with a chore, or remind the kids to go to sleep—without having to raise your voice.

What if Alexa was able to give you IEP meeting advice?

She can!

It’s a work in progress, but it’s a start. I’m really proud of it! Learning how to build and put a skill on Alexa has been really challenging for me. But, it’s on there. Now I just have to continue to add IEP meeting advice and questions to it.

The biggest snafu so far is trying to work around the words that Alexa does not let you use. There are action words, invocation words…and one of the words they do not let you use is “in.” That left out my blog name.

How to get IEP Meeting Advice on Alexa

These are the three open or invocation phrases that will get you my Alexa IEP skill. From there, she knows about a dozen pieces of IEP advice. My plan is to add more each week.

You can ask things like “Alexa, ask IEP meeting advice how long the school has to do an evaluation…” and specifics like that. It’s just going to take time and each time I have to go through an Amazon approval process which takes 5 days.

I’d really love it if you’d rate the skill!

We just got our Amazon Echo Dot at Christmas and we love it. There are so many times when I’m doing something and it’s so easy to just yell across the room, “Alexa….”

I figured working on your IEP would be no different, right?

Alexa for Autism

If you want to use your Amazon Alexa for your autistic child, I’m sure that some of the ideas above will be helpful. However, you should look at your child’s specific needs and find a skill for it.

If your child struggles with Executive Functioning skills, Alexa has a ton of reminders, calendars and things for that.

If your child has an intense specific interest in something, you can find a skill. For example, we frequently ask her for NBA or NFL statistics. But she knows tons of stuff!

Best Alexa Skills for Autism

I’ll be honest. I’m an introvert. I really don’t like talking. I get tired of talking. Some days I just don’t have it in me to talk or read anymore to the kids, and I get consumed with guilt.

I know that Kevin needs to be surrounded by language. Many kids with autism need repetition. I’m not going to be lazy. My goal isn’t to have him bond with an Amazon device and not me. But I think that the Amazon Echo will help fill in the gaps in meeting some of his special needs.

I’ll report back after we try it for a while.

{This was published in 2017 but updated to fix links. We love Alexa and use her all the time!}

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