Hands free iPads, an accessible Nintendo Wii controller, apps to aid accessibility and a computer mouse that you can control with your eyes; these were just some of the technology demonstrated this week at Aspire’s fourth annual Assistive Technology Training Conference in Nottinghamshire.
Fifty delegates attended this year from Spinal Injury Centres all over the UK. We were also delighted to welcome supporters from solicitors firm, Potter Rees Ltd.
Aspire’s Assistive Technology Programme is designed to ensure that all patients in the Spinal Injury Centres have independent access to a computer and, more recently, to their own mobile phones, tablets and Kindles. The Conference provides a unique opportunity to find out what’s new, and what’s worked for people elsewhere in the UK. This year’s programme also focused on accessible gaming tools; from joysticks to switches and even a new feature on theIntegraMouse that’s operated with your mouth, there are solutions available for people with all levels of injury. The TecTetra Wii Controller attracted a lot of enthusiastic testers; a simple joystick adaption for the console that allowed the developer’s spinal injured son-in-law to play with his three-year-old son. Solutions like these may seem small but they open up all sorts of opportunities that many of us take for granted.
As well as offering demonstrations of both new, and tried and tested technology, the Conference is a great opportunity for NHS Occupational Therapists, Aspire’s own staff and volunteers, and key funders to get together, explore new technology and ways of working and to share best practice. Technology is moving forward all the time and it’s vital for people working with spinal injured patients to keep up to date.
Aspire Assistive Technology Volunteer at Salisbury Spinal Unit, Badg Champion, reflected, “The thing that always strikes me is how the different Spinal Units all approach the subject of Assistive Technology in different ways - and with different priorities. It’s great to hear how other people approach it and to take these things back and apply different methods. Every time I go, I come away with ideas about different ways of working.”