After the car crash, I was taken to the Heath hospital. I’ve got a C5-C7 incomplete injury and I couldn’t even lift my arms at first. My family got me an iPad to keep me entertained during those long hospital days but I couldn’t use it.

Jay in his wheelchair

Someone came to see me from the Spinal Injury Centre and they told me they had a tech guy. I was reluctant to see him but he came anyway and that was how I met Drew, Aspire’s Assistive Technologist. He set up voice control on the iPad and it helped me massively with communicating with my family and keeping myself entertained. It made the bed rest go so much quicker – until then I’d just been staring at the ceiling tiles the whole time. It wasn’t just about being able to do something - it helped my mental health, it gave me some hope. 

Drew talked about the set up at the Centre and the adaptive gaming equipment he’d just got. I’d been thinking that I’d never play games again because I couldn’t use my hands. I’d been upset about that but now there was the possibility. So when he came in I was quite excited about that, and it was good to see a familiar face and then straight away we were on the Xbox.

The adaptive controller sits on your lap and the buttons are much bigger than normal so you can use your whole hand rather than just your fingers so you don’t need the dexterity. I tend to use both hands and an elbow but you just have to work out what works for you and then go with it.

At first I didn’t really want to talk to anyone, but the gaming has brought me out of my shell. Other patients use it too and we’ve bonded over it. It’s brought people together and helped us all build relationships. It’s nice to have something to take your mind off rehab and Drew’s a laugh - he’ll join in too, he made all this possible.

Some people might say it’s only games, but it’s helped massively because it’s lifted my spirits and that’s got to help with recovery. Using the controller is like doing an OT session; I’m sure some of what I’ve been able to achieve in rehab is down to the time I’ve spent gaming.

Jay in his wheelchair playing games

Assistive technology

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