The life changing power of assistive technologies – TED Talks (Jane Velkovski | December 2021)

A man in a wheel, wearing a jacket, working on a computer on a table.

“This chair is my legs — this chair is my life,” says accessibility champion Jane Velkovski, who uses a wheelchair after being diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). With clarity and poise, he shares how his first motorized wheelchair empowered him with independence and ability — and why assistive technology should be available to anyone who needs it. “Freedom of movement, no matter on legs or on wheels, is a human right,” he says.

This great and inspiring TED Talk isn’t about disability entrepreneurship but it is a great example of the transformative potential of assistive technology to enable people who live with a disability to pursue their potential.  In Gary’s case, in addition to his great wheelchair, he uses an over-bed desk and a headset plus chest speaker to supplement his thin voice.  The NDIS is far from perfect (especially during this period of cost cutting), but Australians can be proud to have the scheme, which gives us options far beyond those available in other countries.  Assistive technology can be such a boon to assist you with your endeavour.

Jane Velkovski is a passionate football fan and disability advocate for every child’s right to participate and play.

Why you should listen

Jane Velkovski uses a wheelchair, having been diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). He has been part of UNICEF disability campaigns in North Macedonia and a speaker at a high-level conference in Skopje and the United Nations General Assembly for World Children’s Day 2019. He was also part of in a UEFA campaign to raise awareness about equality and access issues. He plays football whenever he gets the chance and is often the first on the field. As he puts it: “I have a muscular disease, which means I can’t walk. But I don’t let anyone joke about the issues I have with walking. I want to tell the whole world that everyone is equal and that people with disabilities can do the same things everyone else can. And even if they can’t, that doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy their lives.”

 

This great and inspiring TED Talk isn't about disability entrepreneurship but it is a great example of the transformative potential of assistive technology to enable people who live with a disability to pursue their potential.  In Gary's case, in addition to his great wheelchair, he uses an over-bed desk and a headset plus chest speaker to supplement his thin voice.  The NDIS is far from perfect (especially during this period of cost cutting), but Australians can be proud to have the scheme, which gives us options far beyond those available in other countries.  Assistive technology can be such a boon to assist you with your endeavour.

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