As usual I am waking up with an itching desire and need to offload my mind!
Forgive me for diving into a random subject!! But it’s one that’s been bugging me for a long time. I have to talk about it, as I got a phone call from the US, from a young guy building interphase technology! He’s putting together these headsets that read your brain patterns and can actually read what you are thinking – bloody amazing!!!
Why I want to discuss this is to document my thoughts, as he wanted to know my thoughts on it being used for LIS, you see. I was very honest and just spoke straight from my heart as I always do. “I said look, what you young guys are doing is totally amazing and you’re changing the world!! but…..!!!!!!
And it’s a big but!! We’re forgetting that we can’t count on this technology to fix us; all it’s doing in some cases is taking away the need to try moving and speaking for ourselves, which in turn fixes us! Here’s what I think today’s problem is, and I’m sorry this will be a long blog, but those people I know who read these blogs will be interested in my thoughts.
It’s very simple to me! A baby cries for a reason for years of its life, developing speech by exercising the voice box, the lungs and muscles in the diaphragm – this we know, yeah? It’s not rocket science!! So why are we looking to bypass the habits of a baby to regain speaking with interphase or iPad apps? We know by constantly trying to pronounce a letter or word it improves over many years. What I’m afraid of is, those who could otherwise regain the power of speech are not going to be trying anymore! They’re simply given a clever system and put back in the community!
If I was given this at the point when I couldn’t speak, I tell ya now there’s no way I would be speaking now, no way!!!! The brain will take the easy way every time! You give your 1-year-old an iPad with a speech app and do you think it would keep developing? No way!
The other thing I want to touch on is, I met a couple of guys here in Australia – Shri Rai and Fairuz Shirataddin from the School of Engineering and Information Technology, Murdock University – who are working on some awesome computer game therapy, so I just had to see it in action….
I watched my mate and fellow stroke survivor Craig try to play this game; he was hooked up and, like Batman had to fly though these rings. He tried to move his affected arm to lift his (virtual) wing! It was really making him try (this part I loved about the game) but I could see him having so much trouble lifting – he was lifting his shoulder incorrectly.
I explained to the team how I got the use of my arms back – through pulley systems and counter-balanced weights. This gave them an idea to improve the game.
My theory is: You take away, say, nearly all the 4-5kgs weight of an arm and instead start the game with the arm trying to lift the weight of a box of matches. Then simply add more weight as time goes on. This allows for correct rotation, training the arm to move correctly without damage to the shoulder joint.
Hope they listen. I strengthened my arms by using homemade pulley systems (without games) in my back garden for years – and it worked!! I had to be strapped in at first, as my hand couldn’t hold on, so had Velcro straps to strengthen my grip.
Me and the guys exchanged emails and I hope to get this game adapted further to help strokies like me. I’m excited about the advances I see around me in the stroke world; a lot of positive gains are being made with physiotherapy. We’re on the edge of great times!
I wanted to document this blog, as I know Curtin Uni read my blogs and so do LIS sufferers!
Ok I can sleep now. Thank you for reading!