Imagine being wakened up by a phone call from a hospital at 2 o’clock in the morning on a cold day in December. All they say is to come to the hospital right away. It is your son. What would you do? You don’t know what happened. It would freak me out for sure, but this happened to Mr. and Mrs. Swann on December 23, 1999, with their son Jason Swann. That day would change their lives completely for the rest of their lives.
Mr. and Mrs. Swann had three boys and one girl, and their oldest son was Jason. Now, Jason is a son that everybody wants to have. He had all A’s in high school and played sports like football, basketball, and baseball which he loved the most. Jason Swann had a job working at a local diner in Missouri. He went to church every Sunday with his family. Jason is a person who everybody loves dearly.
On December 22, a group of friends was going out for fun because a childhood friend came home from the military. Since Jason is a great guy, he offered to be the driver for the night. They were coming home from a fun night on a one-way road and a car took a wrong turn and hit his car head-on. The driver of the other car was a nurse who was drunk. They took Jason to the hospital by ambulance and after the doctors looked at him, they didn’t know if he would make it through the night. By a miracle, Jason did survive.
He mimics a Quadriplegic, but he can feel everything. He’s also nonverbal, but he is smart. He talks when someone runs through the alphabet and when they say the letter that he wants, he looks up. This is a long process to do, but sometimes I do this too when I don’t have my iPad in front of me. His mom said he doesn’t have enough control of his head and hands to work a computer.
Back in 2015, he had kidney failure so now he is on dialysis four times a week. With the help of his care team at Fresenius Kidney Care and since his mom is a nurse, they found an at-home treatment option. I asked her why they do it at home, and she said that his body can’t control his temperature at all. So, if he goes out in the summer, his temperature would rise and the opposite would happen in the winter. He doesn’t go out very much.
Jason Swann Loves Life
You must be wondering if he likes life and the answer is yes. He never once complained about being a person with a disability. He loves football so one of his friends or brothers helps him to play fantasy football. Last year he did very well in his league.
A lot of people would say they wouldn’t want to live in Jason’s condition. I would say that he is a very unique man who has the right to live. He has a few nephews and a niece who crawl on his lap and make him laugh. They didn’t know him before his accident so this is the only way they know him. They love being around him and don’t considered him different because he is not different. Yes, he needs help but he is a human being.
Effects on the Family
I asked his mom how Jason’s accident affected her marriage and the family. It affected her marriage greatly and her husband went into depression and after some years they got a divorce. A few years ago, Jason’s dad died. I am noticing that moms have a lot more strength to overcome tragedy like this. I am not saying that moms don’t suffer pain and loss, but they just deal with it.
Jason’s brothers and sister are really involved in his life. All of them are married and their spouses help out with Jason. I know that God has a plan for this family and they met it head on and accept it. My mom always told me when I have a struggle, just turn to the Lord for help. It always helps me.
If you are having a bad day, just think about Jason Swann. I am sure he gets frustrated with how his life turned out to be, but he accepts the cards that he has been given. Maybe we all should do the same.
As a child with Cerebral Palsy, education is really difficult to receive. Schools sometimes overlook the potential of the students and not provide the education that the students need. There is a school that is making a difference with students with Cerebral Palsy. It is named HMS School which is in Philadelphia, PA
How HMS School Got Started
HMS School started in 1882 and was the first institution of its kind and was founded by Helen Innes. She and her husband had custody of a boy with a disability. They had trouble finding an appropriate home for him so she decided to open a home for all kinds of children for free. When Polio was the highest, they took in children who were discharged from hospitals as hopeless cases. She took in 18 children who were provided care for the children with Polio. In the 1960s, they turned their focus on helping kids with Cerebral Palsy and they are still doing that today.
Why is this school unique? Well, they provide education to students who are not getting the right education in their school district. They take the student into their school until the district can provide the necessary accommodations for the students or the students are 18 years old.
Another unique thing about this school is if the student lives too far away from school, the student can live there. In 2007, they expanded the living hall so more students can live there. The students live there during the week and go home on the weekend or just live there all the time. There are personal care assistants who take care of the students around the clock. I think it is so important to provide the necessary services for them.
A child with Cerebral Palsy needs a lot of therapy because if therapy is not provided, the students will have a difficult time learning in the classroom because their bodies will become tight. HMS School has physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech. They all help the students to be the best they can. They also help the students to communicate with others through a communication system.
Like any other school, they provide art, music, and sports. HMS School puts on plays and has a yearbook club that a student can join. They take the kids out in the community to the museums and other educational places. Besides that, they bring in different people to talk to the students around certain times of the year such as black history month. So, they try to help the kids learn.
When the students get close to graduating, they learn life skills so they could get a job. I don’t know if they could go to college or not. Remember that HMS School take students who are having trouble in the regular schools. Like a parent said that his son had no way of communicating before going to this school. I think communication is so important for everyone because how could a person tell someone what they want.
More Schools Like HMS School
Since HMS School is doing a great job in helping students with
Cerebral Palsy, why don’t other states have schools like this one? That is a
good question to ask, but I guess it takes a lot of money to run. On the other
hand, I am afraid to say this but it is the fault of the regular schools for
not accommodating the student. Yes, being at HMS School is a huge help. Being
in a safe environment like at HMS School is good in one sense but might be bad
too. It all depends on what the students will do after they leave the school.
If you want more information about HMS School, they have a website that you can
go to. It is www.hmsschool.org.
IOS 13 is almost here and iPadOS is coming out at the end of the month. People are getting excited to get their hands on it. I love the new features but the most important feature that I can’t wait is automation with Shortcuts. For those who don’t know what Shortcuts is, it is an app that allows you to make a task to be a push of a button on your iPhone or iPad. I have a button on my iPad to get the weather forecast.
With IOS 13 and iPadOS, you will be able to set up tasks that can be run at a certain time of the day or by a button or NFC tags. What are NFC tags anyway? They are stickers that have a code on them. If you create a certain task that you want to trigger whenever, you put it on the wall. When you want to activate it, you just have to touch it with your iPhone or iPad. It is just like having a button but a lot cheaper.
With automation in Shortcuts, I have a few ideas of what I am going to do first. The first automation will tell me the forecast for the day and then play a playlist. Right now I have an alarm on my HomePod to wake me up. This is good to a point, but I am tired of hearing Siri says “Wake up alarm” for ten minutes. With IOS 13, I can get up to Guns and Roses or something from the ‘80s. That is how I want to be wakened up to.
On a serious note, this next automation will be to text my aides that someone didn’t come on time or I’m sick. This automation will be triggered by an Eve button which will be by my bed. For now, this is what I know will work. The concern is that how will I know if somebody texted back. Siri can read texts to if you ask her to. Since I am nonverbal, I can’t tell Siri to read texts. You can have another button to read texts, but that causes a privacy issue. I understand the fear that Apple has.
Door Locks with IOS 13
There are many things that you have Shortcuts to do for you and one thing is to unlock your door at a certain time. Security is one thing that all of us need in our lives. Some of these door locks have a number pad so you can give your aides a code to get in. If one of your aides quit on you, you can just change the code.
Some of the doors have cameras on them. With IOS 13 HomeKit has capability of storing the video on the iCloud encrypted. The encryption will be done before the video is send to the iCloud. People are not buying cameras because they don’t trust the companies are saving your videos on their servers. With Apple, you might have a better trust in their security. For me, I have more trust in Apple than a third-party company who is new
With Shortcuts automation in IOS 13, the possibilities are endless. To me, I truly believe that it will change the lives for people with disabilities. Right now, people are thinking that this is all fine and dandy, but they are not thinking beyond their comfort zone. Yes, it is scary but you have to try it and see what you can do with it. Technology is out there to use and not be afraid of it. IOS 13 and iPadOS will help us as people with disabilities. I want to know what you think about this technology. Do you think that it will help you?
Earlier this week, I received a message from a friend of mine who went to college with me. Mike got disabled from a car accident when he was in high school. The accident left him paralyzed from the neck down. He received his law degree and he worked in Chicago. After that Mike met a woman who he fell in love with and they got married. Now they have three beautiful kids. Mike has a life that any guy dreams about.
Like I said that I received a message from Mike and it has been a few years since we talked. Life is always changing and getting busy. We get into a hole and it seems that we are always digging and never get out. We think of somebody who we haven’t talked to in a while and we say tomorrow we will contact them, but tomorrow comes and we forget to contact them.
When I received the message from Mike, I was so excited to read what he had to say, and then tears started to roll down my face. He wrote a painful note. He has liver and colon cancer and was asking for financial help so his kids will be taken care of all during their childhood. The oldest looks like she is five or six years old.
Why Why Why
Last few days I have been trying to figure out why would God would allow this to happen to him. Mike always wanted to have kids, and now they have three beautiful kids. He got cancer. The question is why and all I can say is that God has a plan for everything. Sometimes it may be filled with joy and sometimes it is really painful. We can get angry at God, but how does it help? It doesn’t. It only makes it worse.
Just Look at Mike
Being disabled, you can be mad but you also turn that anger into something positive. I am not saying that pain, loneliness, and depression are good, but if you look at the bright things in life, you will be happier. You have to pick what you want in life.
Look at Mike, after his accident, he could have stopped enjoying life because he can’t walk or even move his arms at all. He didn’t let it stop him from getting a law degree, getting married, and having kids.
If you are a person with a disability and are disappointed about your life, please have faith in yourself and know that you can have a better life if you work at it. I am not saying that you WILL have a better life. It just depends on how motivated you are. You might have a lot of let downs but have that let downs to fuel you to do something awesome in your life.
Knowing Mike, I know that he will fight his cancer with all his might because he is a fighter for sure. If you want to help Mike and his family, they have a GoFundMe page to raise money for his kids. Their goal is $100,000. Yes, that is a lot of money, but it is possible to reach if all of us chip in. I am including a link to the page to help out. The world is one huge family and if we help one another out, this world will be a better place.
People are Apple lovers or Android lovers. With me, I am an Apple lover
and write a lot about Apple. IOS 13 and iPadOS will be coming out within a few
months now. I am learning a lot about what new features they will have for
people with disabilities. The most powerful change is that they are moving the
accessibility features to the top level in settings. Right now, it is under the
general section. I think that this is a huge change because they are saying
that people with disabilities are very important to them.
I am really excited about the dark mode. You are asking what dark mode is. Well, it is when the background is dark and the text is white. When I first heard of this, I thought whatever no big deal, and then I watched a few videos on it. I could see the text clearer so I really think it will help me to read things easier. When I went to Apple a few times lately, I talked to several guys who were on the beta version of IOS 13 and they love it a lot.
Another feature that is being enhanced in IOS 13 for blind people is voice over. This feature allows a blind person to run their finger over the screen and detect different things like text and buttons. In this version of IOS, they made it to detect really small objects that it didn’t detect before. Now blind people will have more accurate representation of the screen.
This next feature is not for people with disabilities per se, but it will help them so much. Shortcuts is an app that Apple bought it two years ago and in this version of IOS, they really enhanced it. What Shortcuts does for you is allow you to write a task or several of tasks that you do every day and attach it to a button. For example, the guy at the Apple store, made a task to text his girlfriend and say that he is on break and can chat with her for a while. When he is on break, he just has to press a button and the text is sent.
You are thinking this is not going to help you but let me tell you what I am planning to do with this technology. Like I said many of times that I live on my own and have personal care assistants helping me throughout the day. I have someone who gets me up in the morning. If they don’t come on time, I am in trouble and I can’t use my iPad in bed. What I am planning to do is to buy a button that works with HomeKit. When I press the button, it will trigger a task to text all of my aides that I need help. I heard from many people that this will work. We will see what happens.
The Sky is the Limit
With Shortcuts, it can trigger complicated tasks which is great. I am finding that smart technology is wonderful when it works. When it doesn’t work, it is hard to find the problem but this technology will get a lot better as the time goes on. Yes, I am worried when it doesn’t work when I am in bed, but I have to try it.
Apple IOS 13
As a person with a disability, I am really please how Apple is trying to improve the lives of people with disabilities. Another thing that is coming this Fall to the Mac is the ability to use the Mac with only your voice. It is built right in the operating system. When you have a third-party software, you might encounter many problems, but if the feature is within the system, it is a lot better.
Ios13 is coming this Fall although I would like to use the beta version of it, my iPad is how I communicate with the world. When it is buggy, I can’t be productive like I want to be. If you know more accessibility features that will be in IOS 13, please tell us in the comments below this post.