Technology, sometimes it’s good to be an enabler
Every now and again I hear or read about something that speaks to me. Well, an article posted by Harold J. Johnson over at Lockergnome speaks volumes.
As you’re probably aware, my medical consulting company provides advocacy services for individuals with developmental disabilities. I shouldn’t really have to tell you how extraordinary this population is, and how capable these individuals really are. Christopher Hills, a young man with Cerebral Palsy is nothing short of amazing.
I have the fortunate opportunity to work with these individuals, and as you might imagine, it is no easy task advocating for them within a complex a system, but it most certainly is rewarding. If you know me, then you know that my
obsession enthusiasm for technology is pretty apparent. For Christopher, you can also come to understand that he seems to have the same passion.
Watching his video, you can quickly understand how many of us take for granted the ability to just pick up any piece of hardware capable of accessing the Internet, and immediately having an unlimited amount of information within our reach. For an individual with a physical or developmental disability, the differences in how this same information is accessed can vary depending on the hardware or the software, but it’s obvious that a few extra supports are needed for the end result.
One of the pieces of technology that Christopher uses, the Discover Envoy by AbleNet, allows him to perform many of the incredible tasks that you see in the video above. The one issue however is that at the time of this article, it seems that Discover Envoy doesn’t support the latest Mac OS X version (Lion), and AbleNet apparently isn’t developing it.
You can’t help but notice that Christopher is a bit of an Apple Fanboy. Hey, I’m right there with you sir. Wear it proud.
I mean, sure I still dabble in the Windows® environment, but I just have an affinity for Macs. They just work. I know, all of you “non-Mac” PC fans out there are tired of hearing “it just works,” but in this particular case it needs to work. An individual with a disability like Christopher’s who also becomes easily fatigued needs an opportunity in his/her life to just have something be seamless.
So one might say, “He appears to be doing quite well, and he’s still able to use his computer, I don’t really see the issue.”
Well, shouldn’t this gentleman be afforded the same options as most of us have to upgrade to the latest software, the latest operating system, and even be able to upgrade his computer someday? I shudder to think about buying a brand new piece of hardware and having to downgrade the operating system just so the various pieces of technology that I utilize will work. What a concept right?
Rewind a few years ago when new PC’s purchased were sold with a downgrade option from Windows® Vista to XP. What!? Sorry Microsoft® I just had to do a little ribbing there.
All Mac vs PC jokes aside, the newest iteration of the Mac OS (Mountain Lion) is just around the corner and it sure would be great if Christopher could take advantage of all that it has to offer. So, AbleNet, what can we do to make this happen for him?
Apple, every individual regardless of ability should have the opportunity to experience “the magic” you produce. When you think that it can’t get any better, it just does.
To the community, and anyone who may be a new visitor to Innovative Nurse, help us ensure that this story reaches far and wide. And to all of you fellow entrepreneurs and tech enthusiasts, what’s the likelihood of finding a solution? Hit me up, I’m ready to make this happen.
Follow up Tweet from Ablenet
@innovativenurse An update for #DiscoverEnvoy for #MacOSXLion is in development. Release date still TBD.
— AbleNet Inc. (@AbleNetInc) March 28, 2012
Looks like we have an update from Ablenet:
Just got an email from ablenet to say a Lion compatible Discover Envoy is due out by June!!! So excited! Expect a review. Thanks everyone!
— Christopher Hills (@iAmMaccing) April 5, 2012
@innovativenurse I saw your video on youtube. I loved it. I got an email yesterday from ablenet. Thank you so much for contacting them.
— Christopher Hills (@iAmMaccing) April 6, 2012
[Another update from Christopher]