Sharooti became paralysed when a hospital procedure went wrong and it has been over a year since she was last home.

I didn’t realise the extent of the damage to my spinal cord until I arrived at The London Spinal Injury Centre at Stanmore and the consultant came to see me, saying that I had developed a C2 spinal cord injury.

I was using a mobile phone in hospital but my eyes are not good and the phone is too small and not easy for me to use without hand movement. I was introduced to all the technology that I am now using by Aspire. My husband noticed the Aspire building when we first arrived and Occupational Therapy referred me to Aspire’s Assistive Technology service as part of my rehab. I received training in how to use SmartNav, which is basically using my head and neck to direct the mouse on my laptop, Dragon, which allows me to speak into the laptop and it follows my instructions and Eyegaze, which uses my eye movement to control the mouse. Through Aspire, I was also provided with a grant for a laptop, Smartnav and Dragon.

Sharooti using assistive technology with her laptop

I am now in a nursing home whilst I wait for my house to be adapted. As soon as I get up, after my morning care, after getting dressed and all dolled up like I’m going outside, I go downstairs along with my laptop and SmartNav. Using Skype, I am able to call home and ask about my kids; what’s going on. I also have family in Hong Kong, so it’s really important to me that we can keep in touch. If it doesn’t work, I’m like, ‘What am I going to do?’ It’s the only way I communicate with family and friends. When I first arrived, I watched TV for a month whilst I waited for the kit to arrive. The first few weeks were so difficult for me without the use of the laptop. There’s no one here to really have a good chat with, it get’s boring.

The training was so helpful.  It’s been so helpful for me since I’ve come here. It keeps me busy.

Assistive technology

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