Disabled girl in wheelchair smiling

Alisha’s story: how technology has changed my life

Can you imagine the impact technology can have on a disabled student’s life? Technology can give disabled people independence that they could only otherwise dream of.

With your support, technology is opening up the world for young disabled people like Alisha. Alisha is 17 years old and attends Scope’s Craig y Parc School. In this blog she tells us how technology is helping her to realise her potential.

Support our work with young disabled people, as well as our other services, by donating today

If I’d been asked to write this blog two years ago, it would have taken about an hour and a half just to write a sentence.

I would probably still have done it because I want everyone to know the difference technology has made to my life. But it would have been so frustrating and so difficult.

“I can’t physically type as fast as I think”

I have cerebral palsy and I can’t physically type as fast as I think or anywhere near. But right now, that’s what I’m doing. I bet you’re wondering how!

I am using a piece of technology called Dragon Dictate. I speak, and the words appear on my screen and then I can print them out. It’s made a huge difference to me. It’s made me achieve things I only dreamed of.

I used to have a teacher – she’s passed away now – and one day she said to me. “You’re going to do your Maths GCSE.” I said, “No I’m not. Don’t be silly.” I didn’t think I could do anything like that. Studying was so difficult because I had to rely on someone to type everything into a computer for me.

But that’s changed now. I can do it myself with my voice.

Disabled girl using assistive technology
Alisha using Dragon Dictate

“It has opened up the world to me”

Kim, who is the Assistive Technologist at my school, introduced me to Dragon Dictate and it has opened up the world to me.

Kim showed me how to train it to understand my voice – it took a few hours. Now I use it in class and at home as well. It’s made me more independent and able to study on my own. So now I’m doing my Maths GCSE. I know my teacher would be so proud of me.

I never thought I’d be able to do one GCSE in my life, but I’m going to do two. And I feel like I want to push myself even further. Kim says technology can help me do that – it is opening up the world for young disabled people like me.

There are many different types of technology that can help a young disabled person become more independent. For example, if someone has very limited movement they can control a computer screen with Eye Gaze. That means – when they’re reading – they can move from page to page using the pupils of their eyes. They don’t need to press a button or anything.

Just one person – Kim – works with all 42 students here at my school and helps us use technology in different ways. She’s amazing. I don’t know what we’d do without her – we’d lose out on so many opportunities.

I’m guessing technology makes your life easier. Maybe it means you can keep in touch with your family – you can talk to and even see relatives who live far away. Well, Kim’s shown me that technology can do even more for young disabled people like me. It can help us make friends, communicate and control our environment (like turning the lights on and off). It can help us study, get qualifications and give us more opportunities to work. It can make us more confident and independent.

Alisha’s story shows that young disabled people’s lives can be changed for the better with technology.

Support our work with young disabled people, as well as our other services, by donating today

With your support we can make sure another disabled student has the chance to use technology that can open up their world.

One thought on “Alisha’s story: how technology has changed my life”

  1. Well done Alicia and Kim I like you use DragonDictate and also have cerebral palsy I happen to work for Scope as an Empowerment Ofc working in the same field as Kim in assistive technology. Without DragonDictate 13.5 version best one yet! I couldn’t do the work I do, good luck for many more GCE’s and beyond.

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