Justin in wheelchair with movie lights, 2 men looking at him with video camera
Accessibility (#A11y), Advocacy

Inclusion in Action

I am honored to be featured in Microsoft’s Inclusion in Action video series because it shows how I use technology to share my voice with the world and just how important technology is for me every single day of my life. The video of me is being released on Monday, 10/30/17 at 11:00 CST. If you found my blog because of the Inclusion in Action video series, thank you for finding me and welcome to my blog.

”What people don’t understand is that technology is my way to communicate with the world,” I say in the video. Assistive technologies like an adaptive keyboard, joystick mouse, word prediction software and captioning all help me use the computer. I use my communication device to help me speak because people have a hard time understanding my speaking voice. I move around thanks to my power chair. I even have tech implanted in my body – my deep brain stimulator helps calm my movement and makes it a little easier to do what I want to do.

Since starting college, I have some new favorite technologies. As you saw in the Microsoft video, Immersive Reader in Word and OneNote Online has made it so much easier for me to read documents. I wish I would have had it years ago because it would have made high school curriculum way more accessible for me. I have visual tracking difficulties and with Immersive Reader I can set the text size, spacing, and it highlights the words as they’re read.

I don’t Skype with people often, but Microsoft Translator also was very helpful for me in the calls with Microsoft leading up to the video. I would see the real-time captioning while we were in the Skype call. I have auditory neuropathy which makes hearing difficult so captioning is very important for me to better understand what is being said. Thank you, Microsoft!

For reading books, Bookshare is my go to favorite. Have you read Turtles All the Way Down by John Green yet? If you didn’t know, I am a HUGE John Green fan. It was available on Bookshare.org the day it was released. This is a great resource for those with disabilities that make reading print books difficult or impossible. Thank you, Bookshare!

I also rediscovered WordQ at Closing the Gap last year. I use it ALL the time. It has sped up my writing process a lot. Imagine if you can type with only one finger of one hand, and you have uncontrolled movement jerking your arm away often and randomly. As I’ve written in the past, athetoid cerebral palsy is like every muscle in your body having its own individual brain, none of which listen to your actual brain. As you can imagine, typing takes me a long time. WordQ is simply awesome at cutting down the number of keystrokes to get my words out!

Here are some of my earlier blogposts that you may want to read if you’re interested in finding out more about life as I know it and to inspire you to keep stretching the boundaries of what is possible!

  • Being Human – My mom refers to this speech during the video, this was the first time I ever shared my writing in public at our youth group’s annual church service and then submitted to a local writing contest.
  • FrequentlyAsked and Unasked Questions – This post tells more about me, kernicterus, and about my medical stuff.
  • Accessibility:What works for me – This is a post that I wrote before my presentation at Closing the Gap in 2016.
  • Presentation at Closing the Gap 2016 – This also shows why technology is so important for me.
  • Contact me – if you’re interested in following me on social media, contacting me, finding up-to-date info on presentations, writing, etc.

p.s. I did also get three hard cover autographed Turtles All the Way Down books for family and friends.

2 thoughts on “Inclusion in Action”

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