This is the time of year when most of us gather with family and close friends. We show our appreciation for one another by sharing meals, gifts, and happy wishes for the future. For countless numbers of people, however, the journey to and from the homes of the people they love are sometimes just too far. Mobility or the ability to communicate is lost to many for a number of reasons including injury or illness. This is where technology, the great equalizer, comes into play.
One of my favorite things about technology is its redemptive nature. I am reminded of that every time I see social media updates from my friend Ihsan who was diagnosed with ALS at only 31 years old. Technology connects him to a world where his physical disability is a constant challenge. Although he can no longer fully use his hands to type or his voice to speak, assistive technology helps him communicate with his wife, friends, and family. He uses a software controlled wheelchair to move around. With technology, he can still be a part of the world.
Most of us are familiar with the ALS challenge or various other charities that support finding a cure for ALS and diseases like it. Until cures and better treatments are developed, I think it’s great that there are so many awesome stories of people whose lives have been changed by assistive technology. A more famous example is former NFL player, Steve Gleason. Also diagnosed with ALS, his ability to communicate is completely dependent on technology. Check out this video where Gleason puts it best. According to him, “Technology gives human voice to the voiceless.” Pretty powerful words.