When tech works in unexpected ways

A year or so ago Abby got an Alexa for Christmas. Have you seen that car commercial where the mother-in-law is showing up and the daughter-in-law tells Alexa to start the coffee and the roomba?

Me: Alexa clean the bathroom

Abby: mom she’s unplugged and she doesn’t do bathrooms

Bridget: Alexa take me 99

Abby: she doesn’t do that either

Bridget: Oh my god I need this

Me: I need the bathroom cleaned

Bridget: that’s your issue

Yes, it is an issue. Yet Alexa has an unexpected quality. She is terrific for Bridget learning how to speak with better articulation. Abby has taught Bridget how to use Alexa to create dance parties. One day while Abby was working, Bridget “stole” her Alexa and suddenly I heard music coming from the bedroom.

This was an unexpected surprise.  While we purchased Alexa for Abby to listen to her music, she has become a part of Bridget’s speech therapy at home. Since this video, Bridget has used Alexa to:

  • Ask what day it is
  • Ask what time it is
  • Ask it to play the Pizza song (yes, there is one)
  • Ask when it will stop raining

I’m sure when Alexa was invented, the creators never imagined that it would become a device to allow people with a disability the power to speak, to ask questions and to learn.

If only she cleaned bathrooms.

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