Brodie M. Boychuk

Calgary, Alberta

I hope Gail and Skye have had a good trip and are raising awareness for communication. 
I live by myself in an apartment in downtown Calgary, Alberta, Canada, I lead a busy life in my community. I’m very involved in my church and my family, I play wheelchair floor hockey, I belong to a bowling league, I am part of a dance company and I’m a member of the Disability Action Hall.

I was born in Grande Prairie where I went to integrated schools from the time I was 3 years old until I finished grade 12 when I was 17. I have cerebral palsy which is why I can’t speak but I understand everything, and I can use my voice to answer yes or no. For everything else, I need a voice system. 
I’ve used a couple of different voice systems before I got this DynaWriter. I got my first voice system when I was about 10 and it was hard to use.  I had to enter a 3 digit number for every word, so it took me a long time to remember all the numbers I needed to make a sentence. When we moved to Calgary, I got a new voice system called Multi-voice. 
I used the Multi-voice when I went to Mount Royal College. It was pretty good, but it broke down a lot and had to be sent to the US for repairs. Each time, it was gone for a long time and I finally got frustrated and said I didn’t want to use it any more. For the next 5 years I used a white board and markers to write out everything I wanted to say. 
Using the whiteboard wasn’t very good because writing everything down was very slow and sometimes people don’t understand my writing. I live a very active life and needed a faster way to talk. My mom gave me a push to look at getting another talking machine, so we went to see Nicole Kinaschuk to see what’s new for voice systems. 
We went to the ACETS clinic but when I heard the government wouldn’t pay for computers with voice systems, I wasn’t interested any more. I was hoping for a laptop computer with a voice system because I felt a laptop computer would let me do more things in the community, like search the internet, save my documents that I had been working on, etc. 
Nicole convinced me to borrow a DynaWriter for a 2 week period.  I truly didn’t like it but I took it anyway. Nicole wanted me to use it every day and every time I needed to talk to someone. Because I really wasn’t interested in the DynaWriter I preferred to use my desk top computer to communicate with my staff because I felt it was less work and less time.

I hate to change. Even though I wanted a better way to communicate, I hate to learn new things. But when I take the time to learn, I realize that things are better and I’m happy I did it anyway.
So when my mom and I came back after the 2 week trial period with the DynaWriter, I liked it enough to get one of my own. I asked Nicole if I could keep the loaner to use at my family reunion last summer. Nicole agreed to let me keep it until my own arrived. I had a great time at my reunion and I know that everyone understood me better.  
I have a staff that provides my care. I still use my desk top computer to communicate with them but now I can also have conversations with them whenever I want to.

The DynaWriter helps me talk to people easier and they understand me better. I can have conversations, I can ask for help when I need it, and I can even talk on the phone if I want to.
I’m glad that the ACETS clinic encouraged me to give the DynaWriter a try, even though I didn’t really want to. I’m happy with it and I’m happy with my life.

Thank you for the opportunity.

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