Balcatta: Independent Living Centre WA’s Equip Myself app making a difference

Imran Ariff.
Imran Ariff.

BALCATTA resident Imran Ariff features in a new free app that aims to empower Australians living with disability.

An initiative of the Independent Living Centre (ILC) WA, the Equip Myself app provides users with easy access to information about the range of equipment and technology options available that could assist with their independence, safety and wellbeing.

Through a virtual world, people can explore assistive equipment and technologies in the environments in which they would be used such as the kitchen, bathroom, garden, at work, in the study, at the beach or in the community.

People are also able to read real life stories about how West Australians with disability use innovative assistive technology in their lives.

Known for having a steely determination, Mr Ariff has overcome the physical challenges of living with cerebral palsy to be an independent man who does not take things for granted.

“I live in my own unit and have daily support; I use a powered wheelchair operated by a foot-controlled joystick and mostly rely on public transport to get around the city,” he said.

“Due to my involvement in community and government endeavours, being able to use technology is very important.

“Word-predictor software is installed on my laptop to reduce the amount of text I’m required to type.”

Mr Ariff said technology made a huge difference to his life.

“It is a lot quicker and means I have time to do other projects such as designing logos and websites,” he said.

“I use an on-screen keyboard and have a regular mouse which I control using my foot, clicking with my big toe.

“I have a smartphone because it’s important for me to have access to emails and be contactable when I’m away from home.”

He said it was important to try new technologies that contribute to independence would ultimately improve the quality of life of those with a disability.

ILC chief executive Gerri Clay said she hoped the app would provide people with disability with easier access to information about the wide range of equipment and technology options available.

“Equipment and technology can make a big difference to people’s lives, whether it is helping them to better manage daily tasks or enabling them to achieve their goals,” she said.

“With such a wide range of products available on the market and with new technologies continually emerging it can be difficult for people to be aware of options that are available and what the best choices for them may be.”

Equip Myself is a free tablet app and is available now.

International Day of People with a Disability is December 3