My name is Farhad Hussain and I am a 30 year old young disabled gentleman with a condition called Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy. My condition is a muscle wasting and progressive disease that affects all the muscles including my heart and breathing muscles. When I was diagnosed, I was only 4 years old and it was a big shock to me and my family because we never had a family history or knowledge of this kind of condition. Over the years, my family have been really supportive and helped me with my needs.
For the past 7 years my condition has deteriorated, now I am bed bound and due to my breathing difficulties, I have to breathe with a breathing machine 24/7 via a nasal mask. I have round the clock nursing care at home to help me with my daily activities and am also nil by mouth, feeding via a gastronomy tube. Along with my condition, I also have other problems, such as ongoing diabetes management, ulcerative colitis and risk of further deep vein thrombosis (DVT’s).
My life is really difficult because I am unable to walk, don’t have much movement to do anything by myself independently and always require full assistance from my carers and nurses to help me with my hygiene needs such as washing, oral care, grooming, dressing and undressing. As my condition started to worsen, I started to struggle with my basic day to day activities like controlling the television, Sky digital box, DVD player, switching lights on and off, answering and making calls, browsing the internet, communicating with my friends and family via social networks and texting.
My Occupational Therapist Katie Griffin, suggested to me there are some services that have environmental controls that can help disabled people like me with basic day to day activities which can make them feel more independent. Immediately, I was really interested and as such she contacted a man called Alan Woodcock at Hillingdon Hospital who works in the environmental control equipment service department. I was introduced to Steeper by Alan to get assistive technology equipment.
The Steeper engineer Donald Butler and Alan came together to my house to assess my needs to see what type of equipment and devices would be most suitable for me to get my independence back. Initially, the Activ 500 was recommended by Donald and Alan, which enabled me to control my television, Sky Digital box, DVD player, and switching lights on and off with an accessible switch control that was attached on my right hand with a Velcro strap. It was really quick and easy to program and install the Activ 500. After a few minutes, I was amazed to discover how easy it was to control and how quickly I was able to adjust to the Activ 500. I started feeling really confident and after a little while I decided I needed a new challenge.
Being able to control my iPad was really important to me and I spoke to Donald and asked him if there is any special devices for using an iPad. He said there was and he got me a pererro+ device, enabling me to control my iPad with the same accessible switch control attached on my right hand with a Velcro strap. It was really easy and quick to install and after a few hours I was so amazed at how easy it was to control my iPad and I mastered it really quickly. I was able to browse the internet and use social networks for the first time in my life after a long-time. I was feeling more confident and Donald was really impressed with how good I was doing with this device. Shortly after, I was also given the new Pererro+ device to control my iPhone, using the same accessible switch control I had used for my other devices. This was a bit confusing at first and difficult, but eventually after a few days I figured out how to use it and I was so fascinated by how many functions that it had. After a bit of practice, I got the hang of the pererro+ and was finally able to communicate with my friends and family via text and call with my own personal iPhone.
Before assistive technology I wasn’t able to use anything at all, but thanks to Steeper for creating the Activ and the pererro+, I can now get on with my daily activities and have got my independence back.
The Turning Point
I will never forget the moment when I finally got my independence back thanks to Steeper Assistive Technology, it was a lifeline and I was over the moon. I never imagined how these devices would transform my life for the better but they have and I wish someone would have recommended this service to me earlier in my life.
The devices have changed the way I interact with my friends, family and carers. Now I can organise my day to day activities better and liaising with my healthcare providers regarding my care is a lot simpler, as I can communicate better with them. I can now use the Activ 500 to control my television, to schedule and watch my favourite TV series and football, DVD player to watch movies with friends and family, switching lights on and off and answering and making calls on the landline. I also use pererro with my iPad and pererro+ with my iPhone to do my online shopping, online banking, e-mailing, browsing the internet, social networks, watching videos on YouTube, downloading apps and texting. It has simplified my life in several ways, by providing easy access to information, advanced communication technologies and improved entertainment.
I can’t live without any of the Steeper Assistive Technology because I would feel cut off from this world, bored and depressed. I really enjoyed getting my life back on track and my friends and family are really happy for me that I have my independence back.
The future looks bright and promising for Steeper with new technologies to help disabled people live a normal, independent life with confidence. I am so grateful for Steeper for changing my life for the better.
Keep up the good work!
Special thanks goes to Farhad Hussain for providing an insight into his life and the way in which he uses his assistive technology. His compelling story and the way in which he has written this piece, will hopefully go some way in expressing the life changing capabilities that assistive devices can have on user’s lives. Without these products, and in Farhad’s own words he would be cut off from this world and unable to communicate. It brings us exceptional pride that here at Steeper we have been able to help him live a “normal and independent life with confidence.
To view Farhad's full case study, please click the link below.
Farhad's Case Study