Mike has graduated with a first from Cambridge and is employed by a high profile advertising agency in London – although impressive, this story by itself is not unique. That is until you realise what Mike has had to overcome to make these achievements.
Mike has Athetoid Cerebral Palsy that has affected his movement and coordination since birth. Subsequently, there are some work related functions which he finds either difficult, or impossible. Two of the biggest barriers Mike faces in the workplace are handwriting and typing accurately. Most of us would be daunted at not being able to access a computer or hand write some quick notes in a meeting. Therefore, for Mike to gain such a high qualification is even more impressive. So, how did he achieve this?
He explained that ‘Assistive Technology has offered a gateway to an independent life. I used my first computer at primary school. However, it wasn’t until secondary school when I really started my development with Assistive Technology. This continued at university where it was important to study independently as it was not possible to have a scribe all the time.’
Where Everyone Can helped..
After University, Mike began as an intern for the company he now works with full-time in London. When he first started, he needed further help to allow him to be more independent and productive. However, he was not employed full-time and so statutory funding was not available for an assessment. Everyone Can sourced an adapted keyboard for Mike, which enabled him to type confidently and make fewer errors. We also invited him to attend one of our free training days to explore other solutions. This is when we recommended a device called a Smart Pen to enable Mike to take notes. It not only has the ability to record, but pen strokes can be made to bookmark parts of the recording. Perfect for meetings!
Assistive Technology is integral for Mike to ‘keep up to speed’ with everything going on around him and has helped him to secure full-time employment. ‘I now work in a busy planning department within an advertising agency so again technology is important in keeping me up to speed. The keyboard allows me to work independently on work projects and the pen is great for keeping track of meetings.’
Opening up opportunities…
Mike’s story is an excellent example of how disability doesn’t need to restrict a person’s goals and ambitions. Access to the right support can help make them reality. He told us ‘Assistive Technology plays an important role in opening up opportunities in disabled people’s lives’ and that, ‘without the expertise of the Everyone Can, the opportunities that Assistive Technology offers would have remained closed.’
The support of our free services will continue to be made available to Mike. He can call our Freephone helpline whenever he feels he needs additional advice, training or technical support.