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Friday 1st – Monday 4th May 2020

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Case studies: how SpecialEffect have helped

Twin Town Challenge support the gamers' charity SpecialEffect. This unique cause helps people with physical disability to get a new lease of life through assistive technology.

The Twin Town Challenge is proud to support SpecialEffect, and all proceeds from by the Twin Town Challenge go towards the cost of their one-to-one support. Twin Town 2014, 2016 and 2018 have raised £850,000 for SpecialEffect and by taking part in Twin Town 2020 you can help us to get over the £1m! It helps to fund the customised equipment and software that allows disabled people to work, play and enjoy life.

Lewis

Lewis' story

Lewis has Batten's Disease, a progressive disorder that has impacted his mobility. He has lost much of his muscle control and is only able to move his eyes.

Natalie, his carer, contacted SpecialEffect to see if they could help. Here’s her story: "Mick, the founder & CEO of SpecialEffect came round straight away and tried a few eye-gaze systems. Lewis got to choose which one he liked the best, so he chose the bigger one of course! SpecialEffect have been three or four times since and added things onto the eye-gaze, which has really benefited Lewis. He uses lots of different games and he also loves watching his videos and laughs and smiles which is really precious to see because he doesn’t often do it. Lewis can also control his TV just by moving his eyes, which is absolutely amazing."

It takes a lot of effort for Lewis to smile and laugh, so it’s really nice to see!

Natalie has been staggered by how far SpecialEffect have brought Lewis. As his carer, she finds it really hard to see Lewis go through what he goes through. Despite his disability, SpecialEffect have been able to give Lewis his independence back.

Lucy

Lucy's story

Lucy’s muscular dystrophy means she's lying down most of the time and she has little mobility. SpecialEffect's occupational therapists were up for the challenge and visited Lucy to see what they could do to help. They found a way to make use of some finger movement on her left hand and a way she could use her thumb too. They also found they could capture the movement in her right hand and, after adding in some voice controls, Lucy’s ready to take on her brothers at computer games.

Lucy got in touch with SpecialEffect and explained her situation:

"It’s not just about games, it’s about joining in, being included."

SpecialEffect have enabled Lucy to achieve things that weren’t possible before, have fun and given her an improved quality of life. She can now enter a whole new world of fun, freedom – and a little independence.

Rob's story

Rob was in a car crash aged just 19, leaving him tetraplegic and on a ventilator. SpecialEffect helped him through his rehab, enabling him to gain a degree of independence in his life and go to university.

Rob had just come back from a gap year at the time of his accident. He was a keen sports person, enjoying rugby, rowing and going to the gym. He was due to start at York University to study politics, philosophy and economics when he had the accident towards the end of 2015.

A friend of the family saw Dr Mick Donegan, Founder & CEO of SpecialEffect giving a talk and thought he might be able to help. Rob’s family got in touch and SpecialEffect arranged to go to the hospital to assess Rob and see if their eye-controlled computer could help. The first visit was very promising and SpecialEffect loaned Rob a system. It tracks Rob’s eye movement, a blink is like the click of a mouse.

Rob used eye-gaze mainly for accessing the Internet – especially Facebook and Skype - to enable him to keep in touch with friends (he had almost 800 emails to catch up on!). He could play games and check the rugby scores! It was the first thing Rob was able to do for himself after the accident, so that was a huge thing, to realise he didn’t have to rely on everyone for absolutely everything.

“It’s just nice for me to be competitive again!”.

Rob has gone on to study at Bristol University where he got a first class honours degree, he was the first tetraplegic in the world to take part in a Tough Mudder and is now an Ambassador for SpecialEffect.

See the difference SpecialEffect have made to Rob and his family in this video:

You can make a difference

By registering to take part in the Twin Town Challenge 2018, you can help us to raise essential fund for SpecialEffect. All of the money raised will go directly to the charity helping them to provide one-to-one support to more people like Lewis, Lucy and Rob.

If you don't want to take part, you can always donate to SpecialEffect and support their fantastic work.

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