Communication is vital for someone like me. Being a C1 Quadriplegic and unable to move anything below my neck I can't express body language. Therefore, I have to be honed at conversing in other ways. I like to be well read and enjoy reading the newspaper. I can then communicate to online readers through my writing. I also like using a dictionary to better put forward a point. I am now able to speak to unreachable people over the phone.
I'm a reader of
The Age. Prior to 2011, I used a stick in my mouth to tediously and awkwardly turn each broadsheet page. Sometimes an excruciating whole five minutes went by before I could successfully have new content presented to me. Often I wasn't productive at all. Now however, things are different.
I now subscribe to
The Age Digital Edition. A replica of the hard copy is presented in all its glory on screen. With the cursor positioned in a corner of a page and a click of the mouse I can turn its pages. Nice.
Not only that, but via a toolbar I can browse full copies of
The Age over the last two weeks in Back Issues. I can choose to read the paper in full screen mode, view one or two pages at a time, or browse what's inside through page thumb nails. And once read I am abreast of the writing style of
The Age and type of material published I can write for them in the future. Beautiful.
The ever informative
Macquarie Dictionary Digital Edition is another useful communication tool to me. With over 300,000 words and definitions the resource book is packed with useful interaction instruments. A hard-copy purchase needs to be sought first. A code is then supplied, allowing access to the online digital version.
The online edition is a replica of the hard copy. Readers can browse the Ozzie compilation page by page, reading the whole reference if desired. For enunciation purposes the digital chronicle features a speaker next to most words, magnification for close/normal inspection, a quick reference word search and a logging bookmarking feature. Lovely.
People who use assistive technology like a screen reader should check the software is compatible.
There are a range of hands-free mobile phone products for smart phones in the market. I think for disability friendliness and the elimination of hand use, hands-free products are a great option. I use the BlueAnt S4 True Hands Free phone.
The former disabling situation of attendants picking up one of my calls is a thing of the past. I now comfortably answer my mobile, simply voicing
ignore if it's an unwanted number. And what's more, it can do this even when my mobile is nestled in my back pack and can't be seen.
The messages are hands and eye free as well. Once an application is installed messages are read out as they come in. Alternatively you can install another application to dictates messages.
To activate voice controls I say
BlueAnt speak to me. I also do this if I'm ringing a person. I then say
phone commands followed by
call and their name and it makes the call.