Tamara’s Smart Home

Tamara lives in her own apartment. She is working on improving her reading skills as well as increasing her overall independence. After an assistive technology assessment from an Assistive Technology Professional (ATP), she learned that smart home technology could help.

Tamara’s Goals

  1. Improve reading skills, specifically so she can read books to her kids
  2. Increase independence by accessing the bus schedule and managing her schedule
A black woman smiles and looks at the camera while holding a tablet. She is seated on a couch next to a table where a smart display rests. She is wearing a pink short-sleeve dress and her hair is braided and pulled back.
Tamara loves the independence she has with her new tablet and smart display.

Tamara received:

  • A tablet (iPad)
  • A smart display (Amazon Echo Show)

Tamara had a smartphone already.

A black woman smiles and looks at a smart display she is holding up with one hand. She is wearing a pink short-sleeve dress and her hair is braided and pulled back. She is standing in a kitchen in front of a microwave and stovetop.
Tamara listens and reads along as her smart display announces the bus schedule.

Tamara uses the bus to get to work and to visit family and friends. Before she had her smart display, she memorized the bus schedule as best she could. But if she missed the bus or the schedule changed, she was stuck waiting around not knowing when the next one would show up. Now, with her smart display, she just asks her voice assistant, Alexa!

“Alexa on Echo tells me the SEPTA bus schedule, and sets alarms,” said Tamara.

The display reads the upcoming schedule out loud, and also shows it on the screen so Tamara can practice reading along. With this seemingly small change, Tamara’s life is made easier – she can plan her day and knows if there are delays in her transportation.

Tamara also uses her smart display to set a wake-up alarm for the morning and reminders of upcoming tasks and activities. And, she uses it to play her favorite music while she’s cooking and getting ready in the morning.

A black woman's hands hold a tablet. The screen shows paragraphs of text and one of the lines is highlighted in blue with the final word highlighted a darker shade of blue.
Tamara uses an app on her tablet to practice reading skills.

While a tablet on its own may not be considered “smart home technology,” it is certainly helping Tamara with her goals. Tamara’s tablet has an app called Speechify that she is using to learn to read. Speechify reads written text out loud from webpages, digital documents, as well as books, magazines, and other print documents. The app highlights the text it is reading as it goes, making it easy for Tamara to follow along.

Madeline, an Assistive Technology Professional, teaches Tamara how to use the Speechify app to read a birthday card.

By responding to Tamara’s voice and providing information out loud as well as written on the screen, the smart display is an accessible solution for Tamara to make progress toward both of her goals. And, with her tablet and reading app, Tamara is practicing reading The Cat in the Hat so she can share bedtime stories with her kids.


Learn more about how to choose, fund, and install your own smart home technology with our new guide, Smart Homes Made Simple: Your Guide to Smart Home Technology!