Affiliate Disclosure
If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Read our ethics policy.

iPad gives nonspeaking woman a voice to advocate for Americans with disabilities

Jordyn Zimmerman using an iPad accessibility tool to give her a voice (Source: CBS)

A woman with nonspeaking autism got an iPad when she was 18, and through an app on it, is now speaking in schools — and working for the government.

Apple introduced Live Speech with iOS 17 in 2023, but as far back as 2014 there were iPad apps that could speak whatever was typed into them. The iPad then radically changed the life of Jordyn Zimmerman, then aged 18, who had nonspeaking autism.

"[The] iPad gave me so much confidence to really connect with people," she told CBS Mornings. "No matter where I am on iPad, I can double tap that assistive touch button, which allows me to open a live speech accessibility feature."

Zimmerman says that the iPad transformed her family life, especially with her brother. My brother and I have this amazing, ever-growing relationship, which now started 10 years ago," she said.

It's also given her a career in advocating for Americans with disabilities, which has led to her visiting schools. She also serves on the Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities in the Biden Administration.

Apple's senior director of Global Accessibility Policy & Initiatives Senior Director, Sarah Herrlinger, said that what Zimmerman has done with the iPad, "just makes me happy."

"I mean, Jordan has one of the best sense of humor, and to watch her facial expression as she has that thing that she wants to express, and then she types it out, and just gets that kind of wry smile on her face," said Herrlinger.

"And I love the fact that our technology is really just helping her show the world exactly who she is," she continued.