Regained independence with Tecla
Diane's Preferred Smart Technology to Control with tecla-e
- PC laptop (controlled by Dragon NaturallySpeaking)
For the first ten years of power wheelchair use, Diane controlled her wheelchair with a joystick. But as her Multiple Sclerosis progressed, this method eventually became difficult.
Finally, she was fitted with an ASL Head Array and, several years later, the Tecla Shield and then later the tecla-e. This head array/Tecla pair allowed her to control technology using the three pads of the head array as the three switches for Tecla and her iPhone. Diane's set-up includes a phone mounted by the armrest of her wheelchair.
"The ability to text is great."
Diane is the mother of two millennial children. She mentions that the most influential access Tecla provided her with was the opportunity to communicate with her children without the assistance of her husband. Both of their children use texting as one of their primary methods of communication. Therefore, having access to a cell phone is very important for Diane. Currently, Diane has family members in France on vacation. Being able to email, browse pictures and hear updates from her family is meaningful for her.
"That, to me, was the biggest thing. Being able to text my kids and not need my husband."
During our interview, Diane mentioned that many people do not believe she can use her cell phone with no hands. She has developed a small hobby of providing phone call demonstrations to show that the tecla-e's capabilities are sound! The demo includes Diane calling her husband’s cell phone, using only tecla-e and her head array. She shared that everyone who watches is impressed.
"The ability to make and ANSWER calls by myself is great."
With access to her laptop and iPhone, Diane enjoys staying up to date with current events. Diane's favourite newspapers to read include the New York Times and Washington Post. She also enjoys reading books for leisure using the Kindle App on her laptop.
Diane shared that when she lost control of her arms, she was unable to turn the pages of books. As a result, she was forced to read with someone at all times so they could turn the pages on her behalf. With the Kindle app on her PC and Tecla with the Kindle app on her iPhone, everything changed. Now, she can read entirely on her own.
-What led you to Tecla?
Diane had discovered Tecla through a little paragraph in New Mobility Magazine. She shared the article with her husband Matt and brought it to the attention of her therapist at the wheelchair clinic. They then arranged to meet with someone from ASL for a demonstration. She loaned a device and tried it out for a couple of weeks. Diane shared that when her loan time was up with the Tecla, she felt upset:
"It was love at first sight. I could not wait to get one of my own. I will never forget the feeling of not wanting to return it. "
It was not long before Diane purchased a device of her own. She shared that the set up was a unique experience that required her son's assistance. "He was moving so quickly." Diane was in a bit of a shock at first, because the last time she had used a cell phone was over ten years previous. "At that point, it was only a number pad!" Consequently, with having technology access for the first time in ten years, Diane was inspired to learn how to use an iPhone.
In one of her first public experiences with Tecla, she remembers being in a meeting on a college campus. The meeting included a series of events that required her to go from building to building for different activities. The meeting facilitators would send out a text message 10 minutes before the end of one session to direct attendees to the next one. It was a month after she got Tecla. Diane shared that this text message experience was a huge moment for her. She said she thought to herself:
"Wow, I have joined the human race. I'm getting text messages like everyone else."
-Do you use voice assistance, or do you prefer typing with your ability switches?
Diane's husband Matt shared that autocorrect often makes them laugh. Sometimes she will purposely not edit her voice dictated text messages to share a good laugh with their children. Her method of transcribing her message will depend on where she is. If she is in a noisy location, she will type, but if Diane is in a car and the road is bumpy, she will use Siri instead.
"The combination of text, email or searching the web with Siri is FANTASTIC."