This might be a gross generalization, but let me say it anyway: We all, at one time or another, have complained about work. The themes are largely the same: An overbearing boss, piles of papers, inundated email inboxes, to-do lists that seem to never end. If you’ve ever been to the point where you’re pulling your hair out in frustration, you know what I’m talking about.
But what if you couldn’t work due to injury or disability? In the midst of a frenetic 9 to 5 buzz, we tend to take for granted the satisfaction we gain from an honest day’s work. The sense of pride from making your own money and feeling fulfilled in your life’s purpose. It’s the self-esteem that comes from being an active participant in the creation of your own life’s course.
That’s where assistive technology like orbiTouch comes in. Assistive technology, such as alternative keyboards, hearing aids, touch pads, and speech generators, help bridge the productivity gap.
In a blog article posted earlier this year, John M. Williams discusses the transformation that takes place when you take a motivated individual with autism combined with the empowerment that comes with using a keyboard like orbiTouch.
Twenty-year-old Catherine Grace Zeh is a high functioning individual with autism. A graduate of Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA, in June 2000, Zeh loves working with computers. In fact, she just loves working. She dreams of returning to work in an office where she can utilize her computer skills and general administrative skills.
“I have the ability to work and want very much to work full time,” says Zeh who is determined to succeed. One of her immediate goals is to work fulltime so she can travel to Europe soon with family or friends. Her burning desire is to visit Italy where she can see all the wonderful sights of Rome and ride on the canals of Venice. Working sporadically, Zeh feels as though her abilities are being wasted. She is looking for a full time job. After dozens of interviews without success, she is optimistic she will find one. She is certain the orbiTouch will play an important role in her career.
John M. Williams wrote another article on the orbiTouch, this time recounting his experience when Sean Grassley, a man with cerebral palsy living in Michigan, tries orbiTouch for the first time.
For the first time in his life, without assistance from anyone, 35-year-old Shawn had typed his name. For the fist time in his life, [Shawn] Grassley said, “I feel empowered. I want to continue.”
Grassley is intelligent. He knows what he wants and says what he wants. He told me, “I want to use this keyboard so I can access the Internet. I want to write e-mails. I want to write letters.”
More importantly, he wants to work. He wants to be independent. He says, “I want to earn my own money and be my own man.”
Assistive technology like orbiTouch helps open an entire world of information for a population that regularly feels isolated from technology and society as a whole. Writing emails, instant messaging, and posting on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are not only crucial in social interaction, but necessary for business interaction as well. Ability to operate a keyboard makes this interaction possible.
While many of us fantasize of the day we can retire, we can see through these testimonials many individuals with disabilities dream of the day they are able to work and earn money. In fact, it is remarkable how many individuals with disabilities want to work--and could work--given the right tools.