|Here's a screen shot from a Skype|
conversation with captioning.
My family is one of many that is trying to keep the communication lines open during the quarantine. Mom lives in a community for seniors that has closed its doors to visitors, and it doesn't look like the rules will change before Mother's Day.
If you're in the same situation, here are some ways to see your loved one long-distance.
1. Skype. This is available to Microsoft users. Its biggest advantage over other video chat apps is that it provides auto-captioning and you can have up to 50 people on a call. My daughter and I have tested it a couple of times, and while there is a time lag, the captioning is decent. Microsoft account holders can download it to their desktop or find it in their mobile device's App Store.
2. Zoom. (Available via computer desktop or app.) While it's touted as a business meeting app, anybody can create a free account and set up a meeting for up to 100 of your closest friends and relatives. An advantage Zoom has over other group video chat options: you can mute your mic. I've been on Facebook Messenger video chats with background noise that was overwhelming. You'll have to keep the call to under 40 minutes on the free plan, though.
3. Whereby and Cisco Webex. These, like Zoom, have free versions. I have not tried them personally, but Webex has upgraded its free plan to allow up to 100 people to meet as long as they want. Whereby allows up to 4 participants in secure calls with easy to read links.
4. Facebook Messenger. This app is built into Facebook website. The app is free, and you can include up to 50 people on a call.
5. Facetime. The app is free to Apple users, and it allows up to 50 people.
You can find more hints on ways to learn, work and communicate accessibly in this blog post.
I'm sure there are more options out there, so if you have a suggestion, leave us a comment!