Learning to Love Assistive Technology

Declan Groeger
Written by
Declan Groeger

What is it about asking for help that goes against the grain? I’m not a psychiatrist or psychologist but I have an opinion on the matter. It’s about pride and stubbornness, an unwillingness to be seen as weak, and that may a weakness in and of itself. I refused to ask for help for many years even after it became obvious I needed it. I knew there were many resources available to me that would be immensely helpful, but I refused to consider even some of the most common tools, including assistive technology (AT).

Assistive technology comes in various forms but regardless of its colour, shape or size, its most basic function is to make life easier for the user.

A walking stick or cane is such an innocuous piece of assistive technology that it is often not seen as AT at all, and in the past has even been seen as a fashion accessory. For many living with multiple sclerosis, including me, it is the first piece of AT that enters your world.

For me, accepting AT into my life was a major milestone and an enormous step to accepting I needed a wheelchair. I had never considered using one, but while I was on vacation in 2004 I rented one, and it made life so much easier that I decided I had to have one at home. I now have a manual wheelchair and a scooter, and they both play specific roles in my life. AT allows me to still do things I enjoy such as gardening and going on vacations even with my MS symptoms.

I now know that asking for help is not a weakness but a strength, strength in knowing that help is needed and having the wisdom in deciding to accept it. I stopped worrying about what others were thinking when I realised that I needed to accept AT, not only for my sake, but for my family and friends too. If you listen to your body and your needs, you’ll make the right decision and know when it’s time to let AT into your life. You’ll probably end up like me and loving all that it offers.

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Declan Groeger
Written by
Declan Groeger
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