The Joseph Patrick Trust (JPT), the welfare fund of Muscular Dystrophy UK, provides grants towards the cost of specialist equipment for people living with muscle-wasting conditions. Since 2015, JPT has also been awarding grants for assistive technology and is keen to encourage more applications.
The JPT assistive technology grants currently focus on specialist communication aids, and computer controls to help people use their communication devices. For example, people with limited hand or arm movement who might find it difficult to use their hands to type, might communicate quickly and effectively with the use of an eye gaze add-on.
Blogger Vivek Gohil, who is 27 years old and has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, recently received a grant towards the cost of an innovative new device called the Glassouse. This equipment, shaped like a pair of glasses, uses Bluetooth technology so the user can operate a computer using head movements and bite control.
Owing to his condition, Vivek found it difficult and painful to type on the computer. He also tried using voice recognition software to convert speech into text, but found it exhausting to speak for more than a couple of sentences. As a blogger, he was feeling isolated and frustrated; he had so many ideas to convey, but was unable to write as much as he wanted.
After trying out the assistive technology, Vivek went from writing one blog post in three weeks, to writing two in the space of a week. The JPT grant got him back to helping other people by writing about disability issues, because he could buy the equipment he’d been trialling.
I was extremely thrilled to receive the letter stating that my grant application was accepted. The Assistive Technology will completely improve my quality of life, allowing me to easily communicate with friends again and carry on reaching my full potential as a blogger.
The Joseph Patrick Trust has allowed me to transcend my Duchenne, claw back my independence and once again become a contributing member of society.
Grant applications are welcome from anyone in the UK with a muscle-wasting condition. If you would like to apply, do so before 19 July 2017. The JPT panel will consider your application at their next meeting in August.
For further information, and to request an application form, please contact JPTgrants@musculardystrophyuk.org, or call 0207 803 4811.
It’s fantastic to hear how the Assistive Tech grant helped Vivek reconnect with his work and his friends. If you’ve received a JPT grant and would like to share your story, please get in touch with us, and you could be featured next!