I had to special order the new device, which needs to be ordered by the company, adapted, then shipped to me. In the process of ironing out some technical details, the following sentence appeared in Turning Point’s e-mail: “Please let me know what you want, and we will try to accommodate.” And I sat there staring at my computer, surprised out of all proportion. And now I’m dictating with a lump in my throat.
I have things to say about that sentence. I can’t say all of them now. But I can say this: it hit me harder than it should have. Someone, a manufacturer no less, said that I’m allowed to want something out of the assistive tech that allows me to work and communicate. That I’m allowed to have personal preferences. An opinion. A sentence like that is all too rare where I come from, in several ways. I know I don’t need permission to have an opinion, but in this context – where assistive tech companies usually aren’t accustomed to dealing with self advocates – it matters. It shouldn’t be so rare for a company to say that. It shouldn’t be rare that a company actually actively solicits end user input, particularly from adults. But it is, hence the grateful lump in my throat.