I’ve got no use of my fingers and it’s so frustrating. We all rely on technology so much and then with my injury it was just taken away.

I’d woken up in the night and gone downstairs to use the bathroom. When I came back up to bed I slipped and fell from the top of the stairs. I’ve injured my spinal cord at C5/6 and been in hospital since.

Paula in her wheelchair

When I got to Rookwood, initially someone from the NHS helped set me up so I could at least access my phone and change the channels on the TV. But then Drew, Aspire’s Assistive Technologist, started and he has been amazing. He got me using Aspire’s computer, and now I use a head control mouse to get around the screen and Dragon voice recognition software to write.

The software has been amazing, but having Drew explain how to use it has made it possible. He’s more like a friend than a teacher, and because he’s in a wheelchair too it feels like he’s an equal. He’s so calm and patient when I make mistakes, and our sessions are the highlight of my day – I love learning.

My husband isn’t savvy with technology, and I’ve always been in charge of the bills, and sorting out things like the car tax and insurance. He hates computers, he’s always left those things to me. And although I’ve been in hospital, I’ve still been able to do everything.

Paula using assistive technology

I’m trying to get home but my house needs adapting. We applied for funding, and I had to draw up a spreadsheet of our income and expenditure which Drew helped me with. But we need to find a lot of money ourselves, get planning permission, and bring together everyone from the village who has said that they are going to help; I’ve been writing so many emails and letters to make things happen. We use our sessions to make sure everything is written perfectly; I’m not brilliant with Dragon yet, and it doesn’t always understand my accent, but I’ve learnt so much. Without Drew, none of this would have been possible. It’s all very well making phone calls but you need that paper trail.

With Drew’s help, and the Aspire technology, I’m still in charge and making things happen. And that, for me, has been a life-saver.

Assistive technology

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