A few years ago, I had the pleasure of working with Greg, a wonderful man, who composed this letter below with the very technology he tells us about. He is an inspiration to anyone who knows him, and now, after reading his beautiful letter, hopefully to you!
There are many people in the world that have needs just like Greg, and there may be AT available that can help them live fuller, more productive, independent lives! If you know someone who could use help in this way, call IPAT or the State Assistive Technology Act Program in your State.
An abridged letter from Greg Rose, Grafton, North Dakota
January 12, 2010
I have multiple sclerosis and only have use of my head. Although family, friends and the great people that take care of me fill a part of my day, there is still a lot of day left that is unoccupied time, so I mostly watch TV as the world goes on outside and around me.
The idea came up in conversation that maybe a computer would be a useful item to occupy my time. Connections were made and Jeannie Krull at IPAT was contacted. I told her that a computer would be impossible for me to use, and she said something like, “Don’t say that! Wait until you see what IPAT has to offer!”, and then she drove up to see me with a big load of equipment.
Once she arrived, she took inventory of my needs, and we discovered that I also needed help controlling my phone, TV, lights, and fan. She gave me an overview of assistive technology equipment to match those needs and demonstrated some of the items. Well, the equipment she explained to me, amazed me and started me thinking this could actually work.
We tried various types of equipment for controlling the computer and ended up with the Jouse2, which is simply amazing tech! It is a mouth joystick with a sip or puff mouthpiece for the right/left clicks, and can be mounted on just about any surface and adjusted in multiple angles and directions to fit most uses. It’s awesome, and I can attest to that because I just created this letter using it and only my mouth!!! IT IS TRULY FREEING!!! You use the Jouse2, with an on-screen keyboard, moving the cursor over each letter, and sipping/puffing to select the letters, make them into words, sentences, paragraphs, and then Viola!! a letter. While this may seem overwhelming, it’s not! What it is is time consuming, and that’s OK because I’m RICH in that department.
So with the Jouse2, I can send e-mail, play games on and offline, go online read a newspaper, or check out an endless amount of web sites from A to Z and beyond. There is no reason to be bored anymore. I can use my computer with the Jouse2 system to take me away from this room to places I could never afford or physically go to; like I stated before its TOTAL FREEDOM!!!, and I LOVE IT!!!
IPAT also hooked me up with another wonderful SIP/PUFF switch that allows me to operate a telephone and the Relax2, an environmental control device that operates the TV, DVD player, stereo and various electrical appliances such as a fan or light. I simply sip or puff on the switch, scan through commands, and then sip or puff again to do things like dial a number, change the channel or flip on the fan. It’s that simple!
In conclusion, I want people who are in my situation to know that even if one is limited to only the physical use of their mouth, you can still be FREE!!! and VERY VERY INDEPENDENT! What a GREAT FEELING!!! With this new technology, I’m on cloud nine. I never dreamed I could be so Independent while being dependent. It’s so FREEING; I LOVE IT!!!