On-the-go and always connected

Carolyn lives with a C4 spinal cord injury and has been using Tecla since 2011. She is an editor and a writer and uses her iPhone — with Tecla and her wheelchair proximity switches — for work.

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"It's almost like Tecla has my back because I'm able to use multiple methods of communication through just my smartphone and Tecla." 

On life before Tecla:

Ten years ago, I was working as a circus performer in Toronto. There was an accident on the flying trapeze and unfortunately, I was paralyzed from the shoulders down. I'm now someone who lives with quadriplegia – so I have no movement or senses below my shoulders.

In the beginning, I had to spend money on some very specific devices that would help me activate things like a cell phone or a home phone. It would work in your basic sense, but there were some frustrations. For example: the rise of smartphone and tablets. I was left with my basic flip phone and I was literally cut off from a new and evolving part of communication culture. Just knowing that others could do this and I couldn't... it was another frustration with being injured.

On life with Tecla:

While I was at Lyndhurst Spinal Cord Rehab after my injury, I met Mauricio who was the Assistive Technology Consultant. There, he taught me how to use my desktop computer with new devices like an optical head mouse and speech recognition software. When Mauricio started developing Tecla, he asked me if I wanted to be a beta tester, which I jumped at the chance to do. I was finally able to text, check emails on the go, and use different apps like book and magazine readers. As I am not able to turn pages independently, reading without someone's assistance was impossible — with a smartphone and Tecla, it no longer is!

On the best part of Tecla:

A new safety factor has become a positive result of using Tecla through any smartphone. I feel more supported. This system has my back because I'm able to use multiple methods of communication through just the smartphone and Tecla. Now, I work in magazine publishing and editing and, in this industry, a phone comes in handy — I've had to obviously change careers from the circus. I'm finally plugged into my peers, my friends and to a work world, which was impossible in the beginning with just my little flip phone. I'm happy to be part of the connected world again.