technology that has made my life with cerebral palsy vastly easier


English: Go Talk Static communication device (Photo credit: Poule (talk).via Wikipedia)

I grew up during the evolution of personal technology. We had our first family computer when I was a young child. I had access to a computer in the classroom in elementary school and probably before, if I really think about it. I began to use a computer for productivity in school. When my peers were learning cursive writing I was learning the computer, although, I was taught penmanship as well. Someone, who was very wise in my educational journey, had recognized that I would probably be more productive and self-reliant if didn’t have to focus on penmanship and more on expressing my thoughts.
That was when I was introduced to my first piece of adaptive technology. Adaptive technology has always been something I have had a keen interest in. My first exposure to it was a classmate of mine in kindergarten having a speech output device I was so intrigued that I figured out how to use it and taught my class mate how to in turn.

Adaptive Technology in my own life

The first thing I personally used was word production software called: co-writer when I was in elementary school. From there, my technology journey expanded. As my skills and needs changed, so did the software that I used. It went from co-writer to dragon dictate  this software has been renamed dragon naturally speaking (amazon affilaite) for windows by scan soft (which was later bought by nuance) and then from there I followed the progression of the dragon product which I still use today. I also use Kurzweil 3000.
I see adaptive technology as a bridge for me and others with cerebral palsy. From an augmentative communication standpoint technology acts as a social conduit allowing people who can’t use their own voice to express themselves. For me technology bridges the gap between the social isolation which is created because the wheelchair, and creating a sense of community.

These tools helped me build confidence

I haven’t always been the greatest speller, and I am an auditory learner. Knowing this about myself I use the tools I mentioned above to make my life easier. Without them I don’t think I would be able to maintain the posting frequency that I do. For example, the ability to talk my thoughts out without having to think about the spelling involved creates a sense of relief within.
What impact does technology have in life?

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About lifeofthedifferentlyabled

Laura Forde founded her blog through my eyes: my life with cerebral palsy in December 2009 out of a great need she had, realizing that there was a vast gap in firsthand accounts of what life was like living with Cerebral Palsy: she knew then that the only way to see this reflected online was to create the change herself and thus this blog was born Laura was born four months premature, weighing a mere one pound three ounces and given ten percent odds for survival. She was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at the age of three. After graduating from college, she continued writing and doing what she loves to do most; speaking to groups about her life experiences and sharing what she has learned from her journey. Her blog lifeofthedifferentlyabled was created after discovering that the online community lacked the voice of people in her situation. In its first year, the site saw over 20,000 hits from all over the world. Her readers are from all walks of life; some with disabilities, parents of children, professionals, and others who seek to gain a better understanding of the world of the differently abled. You can follow her on Twitter or Facebook
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