by DJ Kimble
DJ Kimble is 42 years old with Duchenne. He is the PAAC Secretary for Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy, one of the hosts for The Duchenne Life, a contributing writer for our blog, and has a great sense of humor. You can contact DJ at DJ.Kimble@FamilyFriendsAndDuchenne.org
Losing Connection with the Outside World
Hi, I’m DJ Kimble. I am an adult living with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.
I was asked by Family, Friends and Duchenne to write about a life changing technology that allows others with disabilities, including myself, to live life again!
The Last Connection
After graduating high school, I really had no future plans in life. The main reason for this was that I had lost all ambulation at that time. So the opportunity of college wasn’t possible – neither was the option of having a job.
To compound this, I also lost my ability to communicate with others due to not being able to breath for myself. So, the last connection I had with the outside world was now gone.
The only people I could still speak with were my family, and that consisted mainly of my mom. Some of the rest of my family could understand a few words but if I wanted to speak to others it was through my mom.
To be honest, this was the hardest part to deal with because I had always been very close to my family. Without them, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. When I could no longer speak with them, it was really tough because I was still the same person and wanted so much to remain close with everyone.
My World Opened Back Up
Thankfully after 15 years, I was introduced to Eye Gaze by two very special Individuals. If I had not been introduced to Eye Gaze, I would still be watching life just pass me by. Once I mastered Eye Gaze, my world completely opened back up to me by allowing me to communicate with others and have the ability to control my computer once again.
I was not going to allow this opportunity to just pass me by, so I immediately reconnected with my family and friends.
I was also finally able to meet others with Duchenne virtually and became very close friends with several, which I always dreamed of but never had the opportunity to do. When you have a disability and you are able to meet others that completely understand what you deal with everyday, a huge weight is removed from you because you realize that you aren’t the only one!
I also began to learn everything I could about computers because during the time I missed, our world had advanced so much through technology that I was lost. I have been able to learn so much and have been able to put it all to use in every aspect of my life.
Just a Glimpse
To this day, I am still pushing myself to ensure that I continue to not waste any moment of life because you never know when it could all be taken away.
I was there for half my life and it is my goal that I, nor anyone else in the Duchenne community, will ever be in that position of having the world just pass them by. I spend every day advocating for this and the other needs that the Duchenne community has to ensure that we gain full inclusion into every aspect of life!
This is just a glimpse into how Eye Gaze has allowed me to live life again.
I urge everyone that has Duchenne or if they know of someone with Duchenne that struggles with communication or computer access: please look into or share the technology of Eye Gaze with them. It will absolutely improve yours and their lives beyond measure!!
Thank you Family, Friends and Duchenne for allowing me to share the life changing technology of Eye Gaze with everyone.
Click here for Part 2 of DJ’s story.