I speak Dragon: voice recognition story competition

my competition entry:

My name is Tom, four years ago I was just finishing university in London. My degree was electronics and electronic engineering and I was heading for a first and had a contract with a leading research and development UK telecommunications company. On holiday in Bulgaria visiting my girlfriend who was on an Erasmus course I had a snowboarding accident and obtained a spinal cord injury at C4 vertebrae. I became permanently paralysed from the shoulders down.
I was rehabilitated at the National spinal injuries centre at Stoke Mandeville hospital and during my 15 months of rehabilitation I regained my efficiency with IT using various accessible technologies but in the end settled for just voice recognition using Dragon NaturallySpeaking. The reason I settled with just Dragon rather than a multitude of accessible technologies was for the portability. With no other hardware than simply a microphone, Dragon was the most portable option.
During my time in rehab I kept in touch with my university and prospective employer. I was allowed to graduate with a first and university undergraduate award on the strength of my university performance throughout three years and my dissertation. The human resources Department of my prospective employer kept a keen eye on my progress and I completed various small software development projects whilst in hospital using Dragon NaturallySpeaking from my hospital bed. In particular I developed an assistive technology switch-based device to enable someone with reduced manual dexterity to use the mouse on a computer.
The capability of Dragon to control every aspect of an operating system was a life changing facility. I am able to perform all functions on the computer just as before my accident and even use voice recognition to improve the accuracy and speed of my written word. I now use a multitude of different software development tools with the assistance of Dragon and its powerful script extensions.
While still an inpatient at hospital I attended an assessment day at my prospective employer to gauge whether I would still be of use to them. They decided I would be and on discharge from hospital I started a career as a software engineer.
I am still a software engineer at a leading research and development UK telecommunications company. I have worked on various telecom projects for UK providers and other networking projects for UK and international customers.
I use Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11.5 on two laptops and one desktop with two headset earpieces and scripts to isolate one listening system at a time. I interact remotely with a number of other systems via terminal applications. I have even recently bought a Mac to try Dragon dictate and I’m looking into the iPhone capability as a portable microphone.
Without Dragon NaturallySpeaking my life would not be as rich today as it was four years ago.
Tom

late summer occupations

Have to do a bit of fundraising first;
the off-road wheelchair project is still going after delays due to the available funds and development processes. It is being assembled as we speak over the next few weeks as the full 50% deposit has been paid. Some of the remainder has been raised but there is still significant shortfall serve anyone else can make a contribution please e-mail me or leave a comment with contact details: whizz2000 at hotmail dot com
enjoyed the launch of the charity “vitality” founded by Lucy Robinson (I especially enjoyed Rob Rush’s DJ set), they aim to start the process of self education in rural developing communities with respect to spinal health and care for people with spinal cord injuries. Google for more info
working on my personal health budget which should enable me greater control over my personal and health care.
Remembering Michael everyday and regretting the fact that I can’t ask him about radio systems anymore.
Writing a research proposal for a continuation of work I started about three years ago on the development of “ad hoc, mesh networks”.
Planning to attend various live music events including snow patrol, Arctic monkeys, Gruf Rhys, the King blues and Billy Bragg, DJ shadow.
Slowly progressing with wedding planning, visited a promising looking venue yesterday and typically shocked by the costs.
Thinking about how to deal with a large kidney stone and willing my ankle to mend quicker (it was broken in a midnight downhill venture at a Festival).
Wishing everyone well.
Tom