No matter what type of cerebral palsy a person has, it limits their independence to a certain extent. Independence is amazing, especially when you have such a limited range of freedom. Technology has improved the quality life of thousands of people who have significant disabilities. I know that each time I can do an action for myself, the feeling is indescribable. This week online, I learned of two children who have experienced the unexpected, thanks to advances in technology.
One is Kyleigh, a young girl with cerebral palsy. She cannot speak, but uses a device to help her express herself. Kyleigh uses her eye gaze to control her tablet device. But being able to close or open her bedroom door still was impossible until now. Thanks to technology, she can have that feeling of excitement that comes with having a bit more independence. Bill Binko recently created a video of Kyleigh using her new automatic IoT door opener by herself.
Binko is the co-founder of an organization called ATMakers, a group of people who create technology to improve the quality of life for those who have disabilities. They recently designed the automatic door opener and demonstrated it with their video. They still want to work out a few design elements, but essentially it works really well. Kyleigh has two icons on her device that she can look at — one icon to open the door and another to shut it.
In addition to the door element, Kyleigh also can use Alexa via Amazon Echo. Simply by having her device to give Alexa commands, she can control the lights, music, locks, and the television. Alexa has brought freedom not only to Kyleigh, but also to many people who have disabilities that make doing everyday tasks difficult.
The second child impacted by technology this week is 9-year-old Hayes Hutto. Like most children, Hayes would like to have more friends and be accepted for who he is. But, unlike most kids, he has cerebral palsy, and finding friends who truly accept him is difficult. A nonprofit organization called Special Books by Special Kids shares stories of children with disabilities to about a million readers from around the world. Hayes’ is one of the stories it shared.
In a YouTube video, he made a simple request ― all he wanted was to have friends that accepted him and wanted to play. The video now has more than 500,000 views on Facebook and 50,000 views on YouTube! The response has been phenomenal and has touched people’s hearts.
Technology has helped people be more independent at levels that are simply amazing. Technology also has made communication so much easier, to make and find friends, even worldwide. Even a few decades ago, people who have disabilities didn’t have the technology that they do currently. Doors are wide open for us to wheel right in and enjoy the freedoms we can. I wouldn’t be where I am today without technology and am so happy to have it.
Note: Cerebral Palsy News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Cerebral Palsy News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to cerebral palsy.