by DJ Kimble
About the author:
DJ Kimble, a 41 year old man with Duchenne, recently shared some of his story with us. He lost his ability to speak shortly after undergoing a tracheostomy as a teen to help him breathe. After 15 long years, DJ was finally able to communicate with the outside world again.
Read Part 1 of his story here.
DJ continues his story below by describing the many ways his life has changed since regaining the power of communication.
Regaining Connection with the Outside World
What is the technology that allows others to live life again?
The technology I speak of is Eye Gaze. Eye Gaze allows a person with a disability to live a life with endless possibilities by just using your eyes!
How does Eye Gaze work?
Eye Gaze works by utilizing a camera to track your eye movements, while the software converts these movements into touch and mouse emulation. For example, let’s say you wanted to type a phrase to speak. What you do is look at the keyboard, find the letter you want with your eyes and it selects that letter like if you were to simply touch the screen.
What are the ways this technology can actually help you live life again?
1. Providing a New World of Communication
- Being able to communicate clearly with others is a very necessary task that all of us with Duchenne need on a daily basis. Whether it be for your care, for help or for socializing. Without this ability to communicate life just really isn’t the same.
- When you are living with a disability and you are not able to communicate your needs it can lead to a scary place. Because you are always worried that if something was wrong, you wouldn’t be able to get help in time. Believe me, I lived in this situation for a very long time and my disability became secondary to this fear.
- Eye Gaze will absolutely revolutionize your ability to communicate your needs and feelings by allowing you to do so in a timely and accurate manner to enable you to live a much more normal life.
2. Computer Access
- Being able to have computer access in today’s world is an absolute necessity. Eye Gaze allows you to do anything you want with your computer, just as if you had no disability at all. Your only limit is your imagination.
- If you want to continue your education, you can. If you want to have a job, you can. If you want to join an organization to help others, you can. If you want to just keep up with what your family and friends are doing or what is happening in your community, you absolutely can. The entire world is just a gaze away!
- (We, in the Duchenne community, really need to push the necessity of computer access on the government because there is absolutely no reason for a person today, despite having a disability, to not have the ability to participate in our world. I could speak on this for hours but perhaps I will touch on the subject of necessity in a future article.)
3. Independent Living
- Being able to be independent is what those of us with disabilities strive for everyday. If you have lost some, most or all your independence, Eye Gaze can allow you to regain a lot of your abilities by allowing you to control your environment around you.
- You can control your lights, your fans, your doors, and your blinds. You also have the ability to control your entertainment sources such as your TV and your favorite music listening devices. You can completely control your phone to make calls, to send texts or to just navigate through.
- You can also use personal assistants such as Alexa from Amazon, Siri from Apple and Google home. You can use these assistants to help keep you on schedule, to alert others or anything else you choose to use them for!
I would like to thank Family, Friends and Duchenne for allowing me to share more of my story here today.
If anyone has any questions, please feel free to comment below. If you would like to discuss the PAAC or to learn more about Eye Gaze technologies please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org!!
For part 3 of DJ’s story, click here.