A Whole New World: My experience of changing communication devices

A Whole New World: My experience of changing communication devices

"OMG you have a new communication device!  You are so lucky!  Isn’t it awesome”. I think everyone says that when they see you with a new communication device.

Sometimes you may agree as you couldn’t wait to get rid of that old dinosaur. However, I have to let you know that this is not always the story and sometimes you are so terrified of that new thing that has been placed in front of you and whether you like it or not.

As a very loyal Pathfinder user for eleven years, I was no way ready when the speech-language pathologist said it was time to upgrade my communication device to the Accent. I was not ready!  I knew the Pathfinder like the back of my hand. It was certainly like another body part to me. I knew everything there was to know about it. So when the day came and the shiny new Accent 1200 was mounted on my wheelchair, and the Pathfinder was gone, it was the most foreign feeling! 

I promised everyone that I would use both for a while to get used to the Accent. This sounded good in theory, however I am a busy woman I needed my communication to be consistent all day every day and therefore I wanted my Pathfinder to be on to ensure this. Also those around me did find it a lot of work to keep adjusting the mounting to suit each communication device. So I left the Pathfinder on. It was just easier all round.

This was all good until I went out on a rainy day and the old and fragile Pathfinder decided to die for good. From this day on I had no other choice than to use my Accent. I was scared. I didn’t stop crying for days. The most important part of me was gone!  I could not stop worrying whether I was going to communicate the same? The same speed? And what would everyone think if the answers to these two questions were no!  I did develop bad anxiety over this time. As humans, we don’t like change much and this was a huge change.

In time my confidence did grow and I could see my communication was no different between the two communication devices. This was something happy!  However this anxiety transferred to more external things about the Accent. There were a few software glitches and settings that needed to be sorted out before I could begin feel confident about the Accent. For example, once it lit up in the night and I lay awake worrying whether it was okay and whether it would work in the morning.

As much we don’t like change, we also learn to adjust to change. This is what I did!  I learned to work around the ways of the Accent and learned a lot of the time it just needs to be restarted then it would be all good again!  If not, Liberator are always a phone call away and are very happy to help even if you do sound kind of crazy!    

In May this year I updated to the Accent 1400. The transition went so much better and I feel more confident this time. I’m even starting to learn how to program!  It’s so awesome!  My new Accent came at the perfect time, weeks before the Queensland ISAAC conference!  I loved meeting other Accent users and learning new tips! I had an awesome time.


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