In her own words! From our guest blogger Isha Sayid:
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the United States “Around 10,000 babies each year are born with Cerebral Palsy“.
I am one of those babies that were born with Cerebral Palsy. I was born with a condition called Spastic Cerebral Palsy. Having Spastic Cerebral Palsy caused me to be a wheelchair user, to have no hand function, and to be nonverbal. In spite of being nonverbal, I have a communication device. I only have had two communication devices in my entire life. My current communication device is called a WinSlate 12. The way I navigate my device is by using a Wireless Jelly Switch. I love using a Wireless Jelly Switch because I can’t involuntarily pull out the cord like I could many times before.
People assume that having to use a communication device is such a hassle. However, that isn’t the case for me.
My WinSlate gives me so much independence and freedom. Without my WinSlate 12, I wouldn’t be able to thrive in my regular education courses in high school. A lot of my regular education courses required me to make and present slide shows. I will never forget my first time ever presenting. I was a sophomore and it was for my Business Administration class. On the day of the presentation I was incredibly nervous and on the verge of vomiting. But after I was done with presenting I felt this overwhelming sense of accomplishment and happiness. My WinSlate allows me to access the Internet independently so I could complete any quiz, test, and assignments that I had online. That add-on feature was super beneficial not only in my school life but also in my personal life as well. I could use social media and watch YouTube videos as any other normal teenager could. What is very crucial to me that my WinSlate gives me is that I can communicate with people. I can communicate with my niece and nephew which is super important to me. For example, when my niece and nephew get home from school I ask them about their day. I’m able to hold a conversation with them. I am also able to have debates on various different topics with my sisters which happens often in my household.
Another thing that makes me feel independent is that I have the ability to make calls with my WinSlate.
I remember a time when I called my mom to remind her to get my pills from the hospital. I called my mom like any person who has the ability to speak physically would. Later that evening my mom told me something I found funny. My mom told me that she was in the car with her friend and her friend said “Wow I can’t believe that Isha can call you.“ I chuckled to myself when my mom told me that. By then I had gotten used to calling people so it just became a new normal for me. The reason why I was chuckling to myself was that I was remembering a time when I didn’t have the ability to call. This is yet another thing that enhances my independence. One more thing that makes me independent is I can control the TVs in my house. When my adaptive technology therapist came over to my house to connect my WinSlate to the TV I was elated. I was endlessly fascinated at how someone who has zero hand function can control the TVs. It amazed me and everyone in my house that I could control the TV.
The last thing that it was important to me that my communication device could do is say the people’s names in my life right.
For context, I am African American and I speak Somali. So the people in my life don’t have generic names myself included. For that reason the way that my old communication device used to say my sisters’ names would be wildly incorrect. However now my WinSlate can say the names of people in my life correctly. My WinSlate can also pronounce the words “Mom” and “Dad” in Somali accurately. As you can tell having to use a communication device isn’t limiting. My WinSlate allows me to accomplish so much. I’m very thankful to have a WinSlate 12.
Isha Sayid is a disabled blogger. She is extremely passionate about educating people about disability and helping out disabled individuals. Her goal is to make disabled people feel less isolated by sharing her story. You can follow her @ishasayid on Instagram!