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Nikki Barker

I have a progressive muscle wasting disability called Chronic Spinal Muscular Atrophy and severe Scoliosis, which means I’m paralysed from the neck down and am dependent upon my electric wheelchair, a vast assortment of specialist equipment and round-the-clock care.

Nikki Barker

The degenerative nature of my disability meant that, although I was a wheelchair user from late childhood, I didn’t start to lose the movement, strength and dexterity in my hands and arms until my mid-twenties.

It was this particular stage of my disability that I found incredibly difficult to come to terms with, as it meant that, over time, I eventually had to give up a wide assortment of hobbies, sports and crafts. I also lost the ability to do many of the simple everyday tasks that I had previously taken for granted.

Whilst I did have access to a basic environmental control system, it unfortunately did not evolve in line with other technological advancements and, after a certain length of time, could no longer meet the demands of my worsening condition.

Inevitably, fears for my future independence became a regular source of worry and I found it incredibly difficult to reconcile the fact that environmental control devices for the able bodied were becoming more technologically advanced than those for people with disabilities.

I voiced my concerns to the engineers at Steeper and shortly after was introduced to evoassist which has improved immeasurably.

It has been tailored specifically to suit my needs and home so that I now have full control over my immediate environment. It is also much faster and more responsive than any other system I have tried. I can quickly and easily change the channel on the television, draw the curtains, make phone calls and turn electrical appliances on and off.

It’s little touches that have the biggest impact though, like the provision of a headset which has, at last, given me the ability to make a private phone call. It makes me feel as though the system has been designed to enhance my quality of life, rather than just enabling me to perform a function.

I’m also comforted by the fact that evoassist will advance in line with both modern technology and my disability – the possibilities are endless and I’d hate to imagine what my life would be like without it.

All of this means that, not only have I regained some much needed independence, but the pressure on my parents, who care for me 24/7, has been significantly alleviated too.

To find out more, or to arrange a visit with your local Assistive Technology Product Advisor, email or call us on 0113 207 0449 today.

To find out more, or to arrange a visit with your local Assistive Technology Product Advisor, email or call us on 0113 207 0449 today.

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