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Aspire Assistive Technology Keeping you connected

Every eight hours in the UK someone is paralysed by a spinal cord injury. Incurring a spinal cord injury can happen to anyone, at any time. It can be life changing, but you can still lead a full and rewarding life. Aspire provides practical help to people who have been paralysed by a spinal cord injury. Since 1982 we have worked with thousands of people throughout the UK and Ireland, providing practical support to take them from injury to independence. We provide a number of services for people and families affected by spinal cord injury. This brochure explains how you can benefit from Assistive Technology.

About Aspire Every eight hours in the UK, someone is paralysed by a spinal cord injury. Aspire is a national charity that works with people who have been paralysed, providing practical support and advice to help them regain their independence.

preparation of evidence for appeals. Aspire’s head office is the Aspire Leisure Centre (ALC) in Stanmore, Middlesex. The ALC is a leading innovator in accessible and inclusive fitness and sporting activities.

Aspire is here to help:

Many of our British Paralympians and Aspire Grants provides funds to assist with national squads train at the ALC and it the purchase of much needed equipment, was one of the training venues for the 2012 London Paralympics. giving those with spinal injuries the independence most of us take for granted. Our research at the Aspire Centre We provide a number of specially adapted for Disability Sciences has led to Houses, which serve as accommodation groundbreaking work on relief of pressure sores, fertility services and the for patients newly discharged from development of technologies which can hospital while permanent, accessible greatly assist independent living. accommodation is being arranged. We also have a Housing Case Manager who Through our Campaigning we have provides a dedicated telephone support developed strong links with Westminster, service that can help you tackle a wide Whitehall and the media on a range of range of housing issues. important issues including wheelchair provision and accessible housing. We Aspire’s Independent Living Advisors continue to act as advocates for positive give practical support to people by change and improvement in these and sharing advice on how to live a more independent life. We work with patients other areas. in Spinal Injury Centres around the Aspire receives no statutory funding and country, providing accurate information we couldn’t provide practical help to and signposting them and their families people with Spinal Cord Injury without to the best services for their needs. the enormous generosity of our friends Aspire also provides Assistive Technology and supporters. We run a number of exciting fundraising activities throughout facilities at Spinal Injury Centres, which help people to use computers, tablets and the year so there are many opportunities smartphones, regardless of their level of for friends and families to get involved. injury. Please see the other brochures in this Our free Welfare Benefits Advice Service series for further information about our services: Aspire Grants, Aspire Housing provides advice and support, help with and Aspire Independent Living. completing forms and applications, and

“Aspire’s Assistive Technology facilities are based in Spinal Injury Centres throughout the UK and help people with spinal cord injuries use computers, regardless of the level of their injury.”

About our Assistive Technology Facilities

“This enables anyone, regardless of the level of their injury or paralysis, to have independent access to their technology.”

For most people, using a computer, tablet or smartphone is a part of everyday life – whether for work, communicating with friends and family, or simply enjoying news and entertainment.

use standard equipment. Aspire is able to provide computer and IT facilities that come complete with assistive technology. This enables anyone, regardless of the level of their injury or paralysis, to have independent access to their technology.

Having sustained a spinal cord injury, you may not have the dexterity needed to

service you can also speak to an Aspire Independent Living Advisor.

The technology includes a range of specialist software and hardware, such as voice recognition programmes, head and Aspire’s Assistive Technology Facilities are eye controls and mouth-operated mice. As based in Spinal Injury Centres throughout part of your rehabilitation, you will be given the UK and help people with spinal cord training and support by one of our trained injuries use computers and mobile devices volunteers – many of whom are ex-patients and who have used the facilities themselves regardless of the level of their injury. when in the Spinal Injury Centre. Patients with spinal cord injuries can The facilities are usually situated in the be in hospital for a considerable length Occupational Therapy departments in of time and we recognise that having Spinal Injury Centres. We also have PCs access to a computer or a mobile device during this period is invaluable. Whether and laptops on some wards so that you can access these services whilst on bed rest. used for keeping in touch with friends, doing online shopping or even pursuing If you would like to use any of business interests, they go a long way these facilities, please speak to your towards keeping you connected to the Occupational Therapist or Ward Manager. world outside hospital. If you have any questions about this

Angela’s Story I’m a C4/C5 complete. While in the Spinal Injury Centre, which was quite far from my family home, I realised that having access to the internet to keep in touch would be vital as I have two young daughters and I couldn’t bear to be away from them for longer than a day.

programme and a head controlled mouse that would allow me to do anything on the computer. David also installed a webcam for me so that I could use Skype to speak to my family on the days they were unable to come and visit me.

My Occupational Therapist assessed my needs and put me on to an Aspire Assitive Technology Volunteer, who gave me all the training I needed to get back online. David was so patient and made sure that everything was taken at my pace. I was shown a voice control software

I cannot describe what a difference being able to keep in touch with my family made to my recovery. Being able to see them and talk to them on the laptop, and using Skype to read my daughters their bedtime story every night, gave me the incentive I needed to regain my independence.

Paul’s Story I do have quite a bit of experience using IT, I used it a lot in college; I have an IT level 1 qualification and I was going to do my level 2 but never got round to it. I know my way around a computer, it’s pretty simple once you know how. Before I got injured I would usually access the internet through my phone. I never really used a laptop. To be honest there was nothing specific that I wanted to do, I just wanted to be able to get onto the internet normally – the way I used to. I was in hospital a long time and there wasn’t much to

do. I’m not sure what I would’ve done without being able to access the internet. It gave me something to do and friends didn’t live near to the hospital so I was able to use the training I received to access Skype. SmartNav is really good, this is what I use now. It’s the best piece of kit by far. Now that I’ve left hospital I’m looking to the future and I know that I’ll need to brush up on my IT skills. With that in mind, I’ve applied to Aspire Grants for help with purchasing a laptop and I’ll soon be enrolling on a computer course so that I can hopefully start my own business. Once I’ve retrained, the world will be my oyster!

FAQs What is Assistive Technology? High level spinal cord injuries can restrict the use of your arms and hands, and often standard equipment is difficult to use. Our Assistive Technology Facilities include a range of devices and software packages that enable anyone, regardless of their level of injury, to use technology independently. We regularly research and test new technologies, such as tablet computers, gaming controls and smartphones, so we are able to offer advice in these areas too.

“Aspire’s Assistive Technology Programme means that anyone, regardless of the level of their injury, can independently use a computer. ”

Can I use my own laptop on the wards? Yes. Most wards have WiFi internet access. Contact the ward manager for more information. Others require you to sign up to mobile broadband with your mobile carrier. Can I use your technology with my own laptop? Yes, you can in some cases. Speak to an Aspire Volunteer or Independent Living Advisor for more information.

How else can Aspire help me? The full range of Aspire Services are there Where can I find your facilities? to provide help and support when you need We have facilities in most of the Spinal them; the other brochures in this series give Injury Centres in the UK and Ireland. They further information about what is available: are usually based in the Occupational Aspire Grants, Aspire Housing, Independent Therapy department and we also have Living Advice, Aspire Guide to Legal Services mobile units on some wards so we can come and Welfare Benefits Support. to you if you are unable to get to us. Additionally, Aspire has partnered with Back How do I know which equipment I will need? Up, another charity with a range of great The Occupational Therapists will work services that are available to spinally injured with our volunteer trainers to find the best people. Aspire can make a referral on your solution for you. Your needs may change behalf to Back Up, or you can see everything over time and we will continue to work with they have to offer at you to find the best option. How can Back Up help me? Can I use this equipment at home? Back Up understand that a spinal cord injury All the equipment that we provide is can be devastating, but they believe it shouldn’t available to purchase so you can replicate prevent anyone getting the most out of life. the system you use in hospital when you get Their services include mentoring, wheelchair home or back to work. If you need financial skills training and activity courses as well as help to purchase the equipment our Grants support in getting back to work or school programme often provides funding for such after an injury. All their services help to build equipment. Just ask your Occupational confidence and independence and provide a Therapist for more information or speak to supportive network of people who understand. an Independent Living Advisor. They can help you get your life back and achieve I’ve never used a computer before but I your goals – whether these are about family, now need one. Can you help? work, lifestyle, social life, travel, or simply to feel Yes. Once we have determined what type positive about the future. of equipment or software you need, we will teach you the basics of computing. Once you are familiar with the use of technology, you can then take further courses at college, in the community or online.

How to contact us? Service Aspire Housing Aspire Grants Aspire Independent Living Aspire Assistive Technology Aspire Welfare Benefits Advice

Telephone 020 8420 8950 020 8420 6707 020 8420 6735 020 8420 6732 020 8420 6711


Support Aspire If you would like to make a donation to support the work of Aspire please call 020 8420 6731 or visit If you would like to fundraise on behalf of Aspire please call 020 8420 8951 or visit We welcome support from companies. To find out how your company can fundraise for Aspire please call 020 8420 6731 or visit

Solicitors for people with spinal injury

Call us free on: 0800by 030 20 40 Sponsored Email:

Solicitors for people with spinal injury

Call us free on: 0800 030 20 40 Email:

Aspire Law is the trading name of Aspire Law LLP, which is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales, registration number OC390992. The registered office is London Court, 64, London Road, Southampton, SO15 2AH. Authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. 07/14

Wood Lane, Stanmore, Middlesex HA7 4AP Tel: 020 8954 5759 Email:

Aspire Law is the trading name of Aspire Law LLP, which is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales, registration number OC390992. The registered office is London Court, 64, London Road, Southampton, SO15 2AH.

Authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. 07/14

Association for Spinal Injury Research, Rehabilitation and Reintegration. Registered Charity Number 1075317. Scottish Registered Charity Number SC037482. Registered Company Number 3744357.

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