Hi, my name is Justin Adkins – I’m writing to share a brief synopsis of my disability and how finding the correct communication device, suitable to my abilities, has helped me regain my independence. When I was 16-years-old I suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) from an assault, which damaged my motor skills, and left me with limited mobility. When I first awoke in the hospital unable to speak but completely aware of my situation, the doctors asked me to blink my eyes to yes/no questions, which assessed my cognition. I’m 32-years-old now and I still use eye blinks as a quick response method to yes or no questions. However, this method did not allow for personal opinion.
The speech therapist in the hospital decided to construct a letter board for me, where I would look at letters to spell out sentences. This would be my main form of communication for a few years, but it wasn’t very fast or efficient. Then I was introduced to a Dynavox device which had speech output, was the perfect size, and I could effectively use it in social and professional settings. But like all good things – they come to an end! Eventually this device became obsolete and they were unable to repair it anymore. This led to a vigorous search for a new device, and not succumbing to pressure of others; that I’m being too picky.
Alas, I discovered the Nova Chat which has allowed me to continue my aspirations of professional and collegiate success. If there is any advice I could give others, just know your disability and own it! Everybody’s story is different, so only you know what’s best for your particular situation, but keep an open mind.