B.C. Woman with Cerebral Palsy Uses iPad to Become Motivational Speaker

When Glenda Watson Hyatt was born, she was not breathing for six minutes, which meant she would not be able to walk or speak clearly for the rest of her life, due to Cerebral palsy. She can only type with one thumb, but has defied odds and made success out of her life, proving critics wrong and demonstrating how one can live a fulfilling life, even with her limitations.

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Despite Cerebral palsy, Glenda has fulfilled her dream of becoming a motivational speaker. How? Through Apple’s iPad and the text-based Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) solution Proloquo4Text for iOS, created by developer AssistiveWare, headquartered in the capital of the Netherlands, Amsterdam.

Glenda told iPhone in Canada her story, about how Proloquo4Text has changed her life. She recalls how the app has made face-to-face communication possible, such as being able to order an iced mocha at Starbucks, whereas prior she would have had to type out and print what she wanted at home, to give to the barista.

She says Proloquo4Text “made face-to-face communication possible, beyond the small group of people who understand my unique dialect. Spontaneous communication was now an option.”

These new found communication abilities thanks to iPad and Proloquo4Text, allowed Glenda to contribute in group situations, which she delightfully described as “another new experience for me,” allowing her to realize she now could launch a career as a motivational speaker.

Using Proloquo4Text, Glenda patiently types each word of her presentations with only her left thumb, to share her story with audiences. “From significant speech impairment to motivational speaker…what a ride this is!” she exclaims.

Glenda’s new attitude to overcome her disability has resulted in personal success. She published her first book I’ll Do It Myself, while also completed her Bachelor’s degree after seven years of schooling.

“I feel Proloquo4Text more accurately reflects my capabilities, particularly my cognitive level, to others,” explained Glenda, who currently resides with her husband and their cat, Buddy, in Vancouver. You can learn more about Glenda by visiting her site DoItMyselfBlog.com.

Last week, the B.C. government announced a $4 million investment towards the Communication Assistance for Youth and Adults program, to “help improve technology and services for British Columbians who are without functional speech,” which includes those affected by Cerebral palsy.