James B., Lincoln, NE
James' son, Kaden, is a fun-loving kid with cerebral palsy. One of his favorite things is going on car rides. Kaden has found ways to gain independence through technology. In Dad's own words, below.
"Right now, I'm a very satisfied and proud dad. My wife, Michelle, my daughter and I were out at a movie event one night and my son Kaden was home being watched by my wife's mother (we didn't think Kaden would be able to handle the movie night the way it was setup).
About halfway through the movie, my watch buzzed and I see a pic of my Dad entering our front door. I then checked the camera out the front of the house and saw Michelle's mom helping Kaden get his wheelchair out and loaded him up in my dad's car for a ride. Kaden's favorite activity in the world is car rides, it's the only place he is truly comfortable and satisfied. (He and I go on car rides every night, it's what we do).
I thought, hmmm, that's unexpected. So I looked at our Amazon Echo's account online and saw the command, 'Call Grandpa,' in there. This meant that Kaden had used his speaking device to trigger our Echo Show to call my Dad. Then Kaden used his speaking device to ask to 'Go for a ride,' and my dad, being the awesome guy he is, brought his new Mustang GT over and rewarded my son for his request. This was actually, to this point, the most independent action my son has ever had in his lifetime.
A lot of things had to work right for this to happen. The Internet, for one. Our home wireless, the Amazon Echo Show, Kaden's Dynovox speaking device, and the Alexa app on my dad's phone. These various technologies worked together seamlessly to allow a little boy, who cannot walk or talk, who is legally blind, who only has partial control of one finger (his ring finger on this left hand), to be able to call his Grandfather and request a ride in his car, all while the rest of us were at a movie.
Kaden is very lucky to be alive in this time period. I'm very grateful for all of the technology we have today which has such enabling abilities for those who need it. I'm grateful for the Amazon Echo Show, which thank goodness I figured out could be used via voice commands on my son's speaking device to allow him to call others.
My son is unfortunately trapped in a body that doesn't work, it doesn't work hardly at all. But tonight, tonight he knows he earned that ride. He accomplished it all on his own. Just a proud dad here, and thought I would share. It's easy to take stuff for granted in life. It's important to notice the stuff that truly matters."