My name is Barry Smith and I am 42 years old. I am from Scotland and I have cerebral palsy.
Down to this I use a power wheelchair and I speak with a Lightwriter too, but this don’t stop me making the most of my life.
Before I go on with this I am going tell you how I write this up, down to my hands is too jumpy to type. I use my toe to type this up, which is a skill too.
When I was about 23 years old I lived in Red Cross in Irvine. When I started there I was a part of the Gateway project which was for 16 to 26 year olds to show us new skills. One of the best things I got out of the project I was able go on a course call Part and Polly making with the Gateway. One of the things I got from doing the course I was told no matter what you are able to do anybody got a skill even just a happy face.
How my communication aid helps me
In 2006 I made my goal which was to get my own home what I am still in today. I don’t think I would be able to this without my Lightwriter.
Then two years later I did a talk about my life at Communication Matters Conference which I loved on my SL35. When I was down at the conference I saw the SL40 what was the new Lightwriter which was just coming out. What I remember I got to try this – what I loved about this you were able to text on it so I send the first text in my life to my Mum. She couldn’t believe it was from me, because she knew I couldn’t send texts down to my hands. My Mum phone the person who I was with, and he told it were from me on a new aid.
A few months later Ayrshire got me one. Once again I text my Mum and it felt like Christmas. In 2011 I got SL40+ – that mean I could phone people on it and they could call me on. Then I started doing little project in Scotland for the Right to Speak what I loved do for them. In 2012 I help with a green paper for government.
What I do not like being a communication aid user
When I was using the Connect Lightwriter as you know people could telephone with this. A few times I trying to make a business call. When the person answers and I said who I was and I told them I am using a communication aid to telephone them. The person who I were talking to told me they were sorry I needed to end this call, down to you aren’t using your own voice under the data act. When I put the telephone down I felt disabled and so mad. I feel my communication aid were stopping me in my life. Now I think people should know about this.