Do people with Down syndrome use mobile phones?
And if so, what for?
Do they use them to listen to music?
Do they need assistance to do this?
Do they send text messages?
At the conference of the Down-Syndrom-Netzwerks e.V. in Augsburg Germany, 9 people with Down syndrome decided to write a text for the TOUCHDOWN 21 website.
What topics did they believe were still missing from the website?
7 additional topics where suggested for the section MY EVERYDAY.
For example the topics, sport, and shopping.
But on that day they chose another, very interesting topic:
mobile phone usage.
We made a survey on the topic.
9 people participated.
8 women, and 1 man.
The youngest person was 16 years old.
The oldest person was 33 years old.
8 of the 9 people have a mobile.
7 of those people are women. One person is a man.
One woman doesn't have a mobile.
But she would like one.
„A Samsung Galaxy.
I believe that's one of those straight mobiles.
What colour would I like? Silver."
4 people in the room even have several mobile phones.
3 women and 1 man.
8 people use their mobiles on their own.
No second person uses their device.
3 people have a support person for when they don't know how something on their mobile phone works.
One woman takes mobile phone classes.
One woman dictates on this topic:
„Once it didn't work at all, that was when the battery was flat.
But then I didn't dare to ask anyone.
That takes courage and some effort, but I can manage it.“
The next thing we wanted to know:
What do people with Down syndrome use their mobiles for?
We asked all of the 8 people with Down syndrome who have mobiles.
Here are the results:
8 people use their mobiles to make phone calls.
7 women and 1 man.
So, the whole group.
8 people use their mobile to send text messages.
7 women and 1 man.
The whole group.
4 people use their mobile to take photos.
3 women and 1 man.
2 people use their mobiles to play games.
Both of these people are women.
5 people listen to music with their mobile.
4 women and 1 man.
One woman has difficulties to write text messages on an old mobile phone.
„Often I don't know, how that with the SMS writing doesn’t work.
I've got my problems with that.
Something with T9 - with that I only understand gobbledygook.
That's when I do ask my father or my mother:
'What now does that mean?'
With the old thing my fingers always get sore."
The solution was: a new mobile.
One with a touchscreen.
Now the usage is easier:
„Now I use the new mobile with touch screen very often.
When I want to make a call or write, I simply swipe across the display.
I also have a kind of keyboard, that always appears by itself.
I type the first 2 letters of the word I want to write and then the word comes already.
I just need to click on it."
Sometimes other family members also get consulted about using mobile phones.
One woman dictates:
„I have a new mobile I.
Someone helping me.
Alex, my brother."
One woman has a mobile phone but still doesn't want to be on call all the time.
„I have a mobile too.
But I don't have that here, I’ve got it at the hotel.“
One woman likes to listen to music with her mobile.
„Around the clock.
Preferably ring tones.“
She isn't the only one.
Another woman dictates:
„I've got heaps of contacts on it and also music.
By Helene Fischer and Andrea Berg.“
One person especially likes taking pictures with her mobile.
And what of?
„Preferably food pictures.“
But the discussion today wasn't only about the features used on mobile phones.
Many also reported it is important how a mobile phone looks.
One of the women described her mobile:
„My mobile is black and silver.
More flip-mobile with buttons.“
For Christmas one of the women asked for a mobile phone cover.
„I have a very cool cover, by Helene Fischer.
I got it for Christmas.
That was a white cover with pink.
The mobile itself is black."
One man uses his mobile especially often.
„My mobile, that is black.
When turned on, then silver, black, gold.
I can write on it, can take a photo, can send pictures and do everything with mobile.
Also internet - everything."
One woman has a special relationship with her mobile phone.
„I go to bed with my mobile.
I love my mobile.
I play with it a lot.
Afterwards at night it lies on my pillow."