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Meeting Special Needs

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Unit 3C1 Meeting Special Needs For this piece of work I will be looking at a particular person who has a special need and the technology they use to help them. I am going to write about Stephen Hawking, a nuclear physicist suffering from Motor Neurone Disease. Motor Neurone Disease is an incurable, degenerative disease. The Motor Neurones in your brain send instructions to the body in the form of electric impulses. Degeneration of Motor Neurone leads to weakness and wasting away of the muscles. Senses and intellect are rarely affected, so it's like the person is trapped in their own body. Steven Hawking was diagnosed with this disease in his early 20s, and now can only do minor movements like blink and move his index finger. To get through home, social, and work life, he uses specially adapted technology to help him do and access things he can't. Social Life To communicate Steven needs specially adapted technology, as he can't speak without help. * To talk, he uses a speech synthesizer. To do this, he selects words and builds them up into a sentence, then sends them to the speech synthesizer. ...read more.


* To use the telephone, he uses either his laptop mobile phone card or connects his wheel chair directly to a mobile phone socket. He does this by sending digital commands from his computer making the phone system to dial a number, answer the phone or hang up at the end of a call. He talks via his voice synthesizer. Evaluation on Home Life The technology is useful at home because it gives him more independence and enables him to do things he usually wouldn't be able to do. The controller makes it more convenient, as it has a wide range of technologies it affects so it's more mobile, and he can move round more. If it was a big bulky thing, or needed loads of wires connecting everything he wouldn't really have much freedom, so its an advantage that they are all wireless from the remote. The disadvantage is that because they are technologies they will need maintenance and could malfunction, which could be very dangerous since Steven is quite dependant on them. ...read more.


Evaluation on Work Life These technologies benefit Steven a lot in his work life because they enable him to share his intellect with the world. The advantages of these technologies are that they make his work life more convenient for him as they make him less dependant, and he can share more. The disadvantages of these technologies are that Steven is totally dependant on them, so if there is a problem there could be dire consequences, like if his computer gets infected with a virus, and he hasn't had a chance to save his work to a disk it could all be wiped and maybe weeks of research and writing could be wiped. Conclusion Although Steven Hawking is severely disabled he manages to get through social, work, and home life quite dependently with his computer. This is good because without these technologies he would truly be trapped in his body. The computer is his backbone, and without that he wouldn't really be able to control any of the technologies. This is a huge disadvantage because if something was to happen to it then it would prove very difficult for Steven. ...read more.

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