Paralysed Gadget Addict – My Story
I used to work in IT until my health took a turn for the worse. I had a fall and banged my head. Unfortunately this triggered off an underlying issue. My mobility declined over a year or so. I’m now pretty much paralysed from the neck down. I say pretty much as I can just about rotate my left wrist. I think I am turning into a talking head, maybe Max Headroom 🙂
I am mad on technology and wasn’t going to let my health stop me playing with gadgets. I decided to investigate what my options were. I’d like to give you an overview of the challenges I found along with a couple of solutions.
Remote Control Devices
By this I mean your television or cable box. I was referred to an occupational therapist who in turn referred me to “The NHS Assisted Technology Department”. They came to my home and showed me a really neat programmable remote control. You can connect various buttons to this remote control. This could be a simple microswitch or in my case very large button that I rest my hand on.
The box can be programmed to replace many many remote control devices. This means you can have one box to control your TV, satellite or stereo and so on.
Like I said in my case I have a large button to control this box. I simply press it to select the device and function. It takes a bit of getting used to but is absolutely liberating to be able to turn the telly over.
Telephone and Front Door Intercom
Assisted Technology also installed a phone/intercom system. It allows me to use my remote control to answer the phone and call existing numbers. To me this meant I could call my favourite curry house. As the description suggests it also allows me to answer my front door. Once I know who it is I can then open the front door. so not only can I ring for my chicken vindaloo but I can also open the front door for the delivery guy.
At first I was still able to use a mobile phone. I just about had enough dexterity to press the buttons. I did try purchasing a phone with extra large buttons. This was great for making phone calls but no good for using android applications et cetera. I did find out a lot of android phones allow you to customise the size of the keyboard and icons. So if you have issues pressing the buttons then this may be a solution for you.
I also investigated using the voice control on a couple of android phones. This was okay for answering phone calls. It wasn’t any good for using a browser or other applications. Probably because it’s been designed as a cool feature. Rather than a method of controlling the phone.
So in summary here are a few tips for you:
Do not give up
Ask for and Accept for help