10 November 2015
Reflections on the Spinal Injuries Association Solicitors’ Training Day
Along with my colleague, Nick Godwin, I recently attended a Spinal Injuries Association (SIA) solicitors’ training day which proved to be a really interesting and informative day.
The focus of the day was on children and young people with spinal cord injuries. Each speaker was able to bring something different to the agenda. But out of all the presentations we heard on the day, the two I found to be the most fascinating were those of Charlie Hart and Rob Gregory.
Charlie’s story is truly inspirational. She became spinal cord-injured at an early age as a result of surgery she underwent. She spoke about the effect her injury had had on her life, the challenges she faced on a daily basis, her views on rehabilitation and the people around her that had made a difference to her life.
Her positive outlook on life and her humour, courage and confidence were all admirable. Working in the peer support service of the Spinal Injuries Association, Charlie’s support and contribution has been invaluable to those affected by spinal cord injury.
This is the kind of thing our clients can often benefit from; speaking to someone with shared experiences who can truly empathise and understand their situation. As personal injury lawyers, we only tend to be engaged with clients towards the outset of their journey, shortly after their spinal cord injury so it was fascinating to hear from Charlie and see how her life has evolved and to see all that she has achieved.
How Emerging Technology is Helping
The other presentation I enjoyed was by Rob Gregory. Rob works for a company called Tobii Dynavox in the area of assistive technology. His presentation was really engaging and he was able to demonstrate how eye tracker technology works with the different devices that are available to purchase.
An eye tracker device replaces the standard mouse, allowing users to navigate and control a desktop or laptop computer using only their eyes. It isn’t hard to see the level of independence this kind of technology would afford a person with a high-level spinal cord injury or brain injury, allowing them to access apps, the internet, music, e-books, social media, games and much more.
The device, which was surprisingly affordable, demonstrates just how quickly technology develops. As lawyers, it is important that we are on top of this and it is definitely something we will endeavour to factor into our clients’ claims to help with improving their lives.
Rita Alsoof is a paralegal in the serious injuries department at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in London.