At some point in the progression of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, an individual with Duchenne might have difficulties steering his or her powerchair with hands.
For years, this meant relying on other people to push you where you wanted to go – if they approved of your plans and if they were available. While it may seem like extra work or an inconvenience to the caregiver, this dependency actually cuts far deeper for the individual with Duchenne.
Being unable to move oneself can easily undermine self-determination and self-efficacy for an individual with Duchenne. Accordingly, it can also usher in feelings of depression and additional challenges with mental health.
Thankfully, with recent technology, loss of hand mobility doesn’t have to mean loss of self. Individuals with Duchenne can access worlds they thought they had lost. Eye gaze technology has changed the lives of many of our adults with Duchenne, from communicating with loved ones to controlling their computer, and now even steering their own powerchair.
Above is a video of Sachin Munshi, an adult with Duchenne using this eye gaze technology to control his own powerchair. The chair is a Quantum Q6 Edge 3, the tablet with the eye gaze app is a Windows 10 Surface, the eye gaze app is called Ability Drive from Tolt Technologies and it works in conjunction with the PCEye 5 eye tracker and the Tobii Dynavox TD Control app. The mounting arm bracket is from the Mount’n Mover company. It takes a little practice to learn how to control the powerchair smoothly, but is well worth the time investment.
Lastly, if you know someone who could benefit from the technology, please share this information with them. It could give them access to new horizons they thought they’d never see.