By Alexa McBride, YO! Disabled and Proud Volunteer
|Alexa McBride, YO! Disabled and Proud Volunteer|
Hi! My name is Alexa McBride. I have cerebral palsy and have found a few adaptive devices that have helped me get through life easier.
For example, when I was in high school I started using a laptop computer. However, the way I navigated my way around my laptop is different then using a standard mouse with a computer. The "mouse" that I used was attached to my wheelchair on the sides of my headrest. It had two buttons that I could hit by tilting my head to the side. One button would move the mouse cursor and another button would select the item that I would choose. The keyboard I had was actually on my screen of the laptop and I would use the same device located on my headrest to select the letter I wanted to type. This device quickly became easier for me to use and I became very accustomed to navigating with my head. This system works the best for me because I cannot really use my hands consistently. Unfortunately, this device was taken away from me when I graduated high school because it was on loan from the school district.
|Low vision keyboard with keyguard|
Today I can use a mouse that works and looks like a regular mouse except it is a little bit larger and has a ball in the front of it that I use to move the cursor around. The large ball moves around just like the scroll wheel does on a standard mouse. Both the keyguard and the trackball mouse make navigating the computer much easier for me.
In addition to the computer being adapted to my needs, I also own a van that has a ramp in the back of it for better wheelchair access. All I have to do is drive up the ramp and sit in the back in my wheelchair. I am grateful for my car and the access to transportation that it gives me. Without my car I could not do -or have- the things that I do now. For example, if I didn't have my car I would not be going to Sacramento State College and pursuing my career dream of being a 7th grade math teacher. I also wouldn't be able to just hang out with my friends at the library. If I didn't have my van I would always have to plan my entire day in advance.
In conclusion, I am very thankful for my all my assistive technology devices. Without them, it would be very difficult to enjoy the same activities, work and study to pursue my career goals. I encourage everyone with a disability to explore the many amazing AT adaptations that can help people be independent.