“That was the big goal — I need my independence back.”
Amber lives with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (opens in a new window), and as a result has cerebral palsy (new window).
“I have learning challenges which make it difficult to write and to scroll, and so for the longest time I had to allow other people to do the text messaging for me and then read it back to make sure that’s what I wanted them to send,” she explains from her home in Langford, BC.
While she had a laptop equipped with assistive technology, the computer has become old and outdated making it hard to use. She has had to rely more and more on her phone and iPad, devices she struggled to use.
“I realized that I have a phone that I was only using, I’d say, five percent of it,” she says.
Amber found out about the TELUS Tech for Good™(new window) program in collaboration with Neil Squire. Through the program, customers with disabilities that require assistive technology can receive specialized assistance.
A longtime TELUS customer, Amber initially thought she might need a new phone more suitable for her needs. Through remote sessions with Neil Squire’s Digital Technology Specialist, Khatidja, however, she found the tools she needed were accessible on the devices she already had.
As a self-advocate, being able to respond to messages and emails quickly is very important to Amber. In the program, she learned how to dictate texts and emails verbally and have them read back to her to check them before sending them. She no longer needs somebody around to help her fire off a text.
“My world opened up again,” she explains. “Being to just send a message to somebody using messenger, or reading Facebook scrolls or messages from people again was like, ‘Aha, I can do this again.’ So that was really helpful.”
It’s changed her life in another profound way.
“I now have my first ever job. I’ve done little things, but this is my first ever job. I’m a contract person and I will be paid to do this, so I’m thrilled,” Amber shares.
“I’m so excited because it’s something that I did on my own. Because Khatidja had shown me how to do dictation through my phone, I was actually able to apply for this position, send a request, get an interview, and now I’m in the position I’m in.”
Amber adds, “I am amazed at TELUS in general… Every time I’ve called TELUS, every time I’ve needed help, I’ve basically started off with, ‘I’m a person with a disability and it may take more time’ — but without hesitation they’re with me each time. I’m so grateful and I’ve been with TELUS for a long time now and I love it.”