How Quadriplegics Are Using Amazon Echo and Echo Dot To Control Their Homes Handsfree

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Written by
Kristen Sachs
Content via AbleGoods
Written by
Kristen Sachs

Amazon Echo products are becoming increasingly popular in homes these days. The Echo and Echo Dot (sometimes referred to as Alexa, the name of the digital assistant built into the device) are hands-free devices with a built-in speaker that allow users to speak commands in order to operate other devices around their environment. The only difference is the Echo has a larger speaker than the Echo Dot. The functionality of the two devices is identical.

an image of a black amazon echo

What Can the Echo Do?

-- Call or message almost anyone hands-free and instantly connect to other Echo devices in your home using just your voice.

-- Ask Alexa to check your calendar, weather, traffic, and sports scores, manage to-do and shopping lists, control your compatible smart lights, thermostats, garage doors, sprinklers, and more.

-- Ask for a song, artist, or genre from Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, and more. With multi-room music, you can play music on compatible Echo devices in different rooms. 

Keep in mind that set up is required in order to get the Echo up and running, and some set ups can be extensive and may require downloading digital applications and/or the purchase of additional accessories such as a hub or smart outlets. Amazon's Alexa app can help. Plus, you can also check out YouTube for step-by-step tutorials! 

How Are People Using the Echo and Echo Dot?

Some AbleThrive community members have tried out the Echo products in their homes:

Amazon Echo on a kitchen counter
  • "I got two Amazon Echos for Christmas and love them so far. I use mine for music and other things like weather, time, etc." - Mason, quadriplegic
  • "We have the Echo and use it with the Harmony Hub for the TV. We are not very tech savvy, so it was a little bit of a challenge, but it works great." - Diane, mom of a quadriplegic
  • "We got some Kasa light switches and some WeMo outlet adapters. That way my husband can use the Echo with them to turn the house lights on and off, the lamp on and off, and his subwoofer on and off." - Tamara, spouse of a quadriplegic
  • "We have been using Echo for quite a while now. My husband can control TV on/off, change channels, change volume/mute. He also controls a number of lights. We got an Ecobee4 thermostat for Christmas, and it can be controlled by Alexa also. I set up alarms on Echo that he can turn off, and he can turn on the radio on Echo. Also it is set up as a backup way to call my phone or me to call him." - Gail, spouse of a quadriplegic
  • "I got my Echo about 4 months ago and use it everyday. I use it to turn on lights via a hub called Wemo Switch, no special light bulb required. I have 2 Wemo Switches for 2 different lamps. The Wemo will turn on any device you have it plugged into. It was a very easy set up through my iPad. I can turn on/off my lights verbally or on the app on my iPad." - Lori, Echo user

Here's some other things you can do with the Echo:

Ask it for a "flash briefing," and Alexa will tell you a 2-3 minute news update.

Get the weather forecast in your area, or anywhere else in the world.

Play Jeopardy and other games.

Ask it any question you would type into Wikipedia, and it will tell you the information.

Ask it to tell you jokes, help you with math, and provide definitions of words.

What Do Users Think?

an image of an amazon echo dot
  • "We had to move the Echo to a new location so it could hear my voice over the tv sound. Once doing that it worked good, that is, when Alexa understood me. A few misses and have to repeat." - Quadriplegic Echo user
  • "Basically I'm a huge fan. My wife also thinks it's a useful gadget!" -Ed, Echo user
  • "My husband has problems telling Alexa to change the channels. He is a high level quad with a trach, and can’t talk fast enough. I contacted Amazon and asked them if there was a way to extend the time but there isn’t." - Sandy, spouse of a quadriplegic
  • "Setting up the Echo to control the TV  took a lot longer than we thought (and more patience than we both had) but we did it!" - Erin, spouse of a quadriplegic
  • "I really like how the devices can be used as intercoms. From the Echo in the bedroom, I can call my wife on the device in the kitchen. It works great." - Jeff, quadriplegic

There are many options on how to set up and customize the Echo devices based on individual interests and needs.

So now, the only question is what do YOU think? If the Amazon Echo or Echo Dot seem like a good fit, you can order one yourself through these links:


This product is featured as a part of AbleGoods - products used by our community that enhance their quality of life. These posts are not an endorsement of the product. Only you can decide if a product is right for you. If you do feel that this product would be great for you, please purchase it through this link or any link on the page. By doing so, a small portion of the sale will be donated back to AbleThrive and support our operations.

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