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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