For generations mankind has conceived, developed and used enabling technologies to both overcome our physical and mental limitations and leverage our ability to manage daily life efficiently and independently and these are especially important for those individuals who are disadvantaged by physical or mental conditions. For those individuals who are disabled, technology plays a vital in not only improving the quality of life but also giving them some control over their world that would otherwise be denied to them. It is important to emphasise the value of the independence from human care that these technologies bring. Being dependent on other human beings for our every need reduces our capacity to grow and develop our capabilities, wellbeing and self-esteem. Being able to meet the challenges of everyday life using our own resources, assisted by technology is a powerful motivator.
Clearly, over recent years, there have been many advances in assistive technologies that can provide individuals with even the severest of disabilities a gateway to a more independent life. This article presents an example of enabling and assistive technologies for making positive changes to lives and features the remarkable story of Simon Stevens, a highly intelligent man whose life has been transformed by his creative use of digital technologies which have empowered him to overcome the challenges posed by his cerebral palsy.