Assistive Technology Software Allows Students to Talk Their Way Through College
By Christopher Olson
“It was tough, really tough,” recalls Olson, who was stuck typing the coding required for his Master of Science in Information Systems degree using sticks fastened to wrist braces. The year before, a car crash had rendered him quadriplegic, with only the partial mobility of his arms. “If I hadn’t had any movement of my arms, I couldn’t have have done papers, couldn’t have written codes, I couldn’t have completed exams,” he says. Olson 34, is now a business and information systems professor at DSU, but says he might not have gotten there if not for that small range of motion. A range that many quadriplegics, amputees, injured veterans or developmentally disabled individuals simply do not have. “I’m fortunate that I have movement in my arms so I could complete it. But if I had access to the tools then that I have now, it would’ve been a breeze,” he says.