Communication technologies

Anthony Bartl
Communication is vital for someone like me. Being a C1 Quadriplegic I am unable to move anything below my neck. I can't express body language. I use technologies to help me to write and read more easily. It used to difficult for me to turn the pages of a newspaper. But now I can read the news on the internet. I can also read a dictionary on the internet. New hands-free technology means I can use a mobile phone. I can make and answer calls. This technology allows me to easily speak to people.
Posted by: 
Anthony Bartl on 10/02/2012
The BlueAnt S4 True Hands Free phone

I now answer my own phone.

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.

Hands free

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 answer or 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.

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