On any given day up to 25 individuals with varied disabilities are hard at work in the EP!C Hub computer lab in Peoria, earning a paycheck and cultivating independence thanks to assistive technology.
The Hub has a variety of adaptive equipment, including specialized keyboards and screen-reading software. Hub workers with disabilities design and print flyers, posters and calendars; create business cards; and even make and sell their own greeting cards.
“Technology definitely helps them to work and live a more rewarding fulfilling productive life. Because a lot of them have those abilities; they just need a little bit of assistance,” said Lauren Coyle, EP!C’s director of specialized programs.
Designed for Todd S.
Todd is the CEO of a technology consulting company and a prominent member of the quadriplegic community. With Siri, Switch Control, and the Home app, he can open his front door, adjust the lights in his house, and queue up a party playlist.
It took a week for them to discover Marshall Burningham was wearing contacts.
The 30-year-old man has worn contacts or glasses most of his life. But after a November fall left him a quadriplegic, glasses were his only option as Marshall moved from Salt Lake City to Lake Shore to live with his parents, Kim and Cindy, as he navigates through his new world.
“The idea of other people putting contacts on me freaked me out,” Marshall said.
As I put down the phone, I really felt for my new mentee Laura and what she was going through. When you have a spinal cord injury, people assume that it just means you can’t walk, but there’s so much more to it than that. That first time we spoke, Laura told me that she hadn’t had any specialist rehabilitation, any wheelchair training, or advice on how to use a catheter. She was lost.
And yet, I felt shockingly reminded of myself while I was talking to her. I too was a young mother when I was involved in a car crash in 1990 that left me permanently paralysed from the waist down.
For the past seven years, the Canadian technology developer Komodo Openlabs has been working on a device called Tecla that allow users with limited mobility to control electronic devices.
Designed for users who have trouble operating smartphones, tablets, or computers because of limited upper-body mobility caused by spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, ALS, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, brain injuries or a stroke, the original Tecla product could only work with one device at a time.
I love lacing up my turquoise Nike running shoes each morning.
However, every time I leave my house, going for a jog is the furthest thing from my mind as the door closes behind me. In fact, I will go out of my way to avoid a set of stairs like it’s the plague. And if I get somewhere and the elevator is out of order, well let’s just say it can sour my mood quicker than a cold cup of coffee.
In spite of all this, I certainly don’t consider myself to be an individual in possession of an indolent nature. Actually, I’m more productive than most people I know. I just don’t use my feet right now.
The internet can be a gift and a curse at the same time. It offers the potential of providing people with some very valuable information, but also allows for a lot of misconstrued and ill-informed ideas. This has created quite a large amount of confusion and that can be very dangerous for those seeking medical advice.
With the many assumptions that have been made about those who have experienced spinal cord injuries, it is extremely important that these ideas aren’t interpreted as facts. Families who are now learning to cope with SCI already have a lot to consider and do not need these false claims guiding them down the wrong path.
As the #1 referral choice for SCI patients from all over the world, we are renowned for innovative, interdisciplinary care. By integrating advances in research and technology, we continuously enhance medical and functional outcomes.
You want to recover what’s most important in your life — be it mobility, independence or walking again. Together we reach for those goals.
Doctors and nurses in our Spinal Cord Innovation Center provide specialized care. Our state-of-the-art Ability Labs infuse science into treatment. The goal: helping you get your life back.
Ralph’s Riders Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to enabling individuals with spinal cord injuries and other mobility impairments to achieve their highest level of independence, health and personal fulfillment by providing peer and career mentorship, resource information, scholarships, grants, and a supporting network within the community.
Lingering cleanup chores, tasks he didn’t attend to during the holiday weekend, consume Ryan Baetke’s Monday night at his home just north of Davenport.
From the seat of his motorized wheelchair, the 48-year-old sweeps the floor of his garage as his “sidekick,” a golden retriever named Annie, gnaws on a bone. As he scoops the dust into a garbage can, Baetke motions to another sidekick nearby.
At first glance, the 2015 GMC Sierra parked in the adjacent bay doesn’t appear to be anything special.