Science fiction writer, blogger and motivational speaker, communication is at the heart of everything Aidan cares about.
A passionate advocate for disabled people, Aidan regularly presents at disability awareness events including to staff at his local council, foster carers, support staff in residential homes, to other young people with disabilities and to sixth form students in local colleges.
Aidan has choreoathetoid cerebral palsy which means his speech can be difficult to understand. It also affects the movement in his limbs and as a result, the iPad mini he was communicating with using his thumb was both awkward to use and often selected the wrong words. It also struggled to keep pace with Aidan’s speed of thought!
To say he was frustrated was an understatement…
Whilst waiting for an assessment from the NHS Specialised service, Aidan joined some of the Ace Centre team at the Oldham office for an information day session. He trialled some alternative access methods and prioritised what he wanted to look at as part of a more detailed assessment of his specific requirements. Everyone left the session excited to find the right equipment for him!
When Ace Centre visited Aidan at home, he was keen to trial different pieces of technology and consider what features he required. Aidan eventually settled on a dedicated eyegaze device, the TobiiDynavox i13+, which enables him to write by scanning his eyes over a screen and dwelling on a specific cell, using his eyes in much the same way as a computer mouse. Mounted to his wheelchair Aidan says it has revolutionised his ability to communicate both in-person and online.
‘It gives me literally everything I need… It is so comfortable to use and my sitting position when using it is excellent. I am getting closer to total control. ‘
Aidan is making the most of the freedom to communicate effectively wherever, whenever and to whoever he wants – in his own unique and engaging style, and at awareness-raising events, he now takes to the floor, with total confidence that technology will support – not sabotage – him.
The TobiiDynavox i13+ also has Office installed which enables Aidan to indulge his love of creative writing.
‘I can do my writing, email it to the publishers, get drafts back to do edits, do the edits and return the work, all independently and all together.’
It also provides easy access to social media, enabling him to focus on his successful blog, An Aid For All, in which he shares his personal experiences and discusses topics ranging from science-fiction, fantasy and cult television through to poems about the weather.
Usually a man of many words, Aidan’s sums up the impact the TobiiDynavox i13+ has had in just one: