About Me

*This account is managed by Joseph’s staff*

Early Life:

Joseph was born Joseph Reid Wojciechowski on 14th May 1995 to Mum Catherine Reid & Dad Stan Wojciechowsk. His mixed Kiwi & Polish heritage instantly endeared him to a wide cultural community. Following complications at birth, Joseph has managed his life amazingly well given his extreme disability. Joseph didn’t allow his Athetoid Cerebral Palsy be a barrier to enjoying a full and active life. Since the age of 5, when he took possession of his first power chair, Joseph has smashed through any barrier life has presented him.

Education:

Early life was difficult for Joseph as he was non-verbal. With an obvious high level of intelligence it was essential that Joseph developed communication tools which he did with his mother and those close to him. ‘Blink’ spelling, developed with Mum, expanded to drawing letter shapes with his eyes and using common facial expressions and thus a full and complete communication toolbox was born. With help, Joseph enjoyed a full, productive and enjoyable school life.

Technology:

Joseph displayed an obvious interest in technology but his disability limited his independent access to it. Clicker buttons were trialed that allowed Joseph to move his cursor left/right/up/down and then select an item but this proved laborious and cumbersome. In 2012, Joseph took possession of an ECOpoint 2 from Prentke Romich Company (PRC). This incredible piece of hardware used laser sensor technology to read where on the screen his eyes were looking. By using a screen based QWERTY keyboard which also featured common words & expressions Joseph was finally ‘there’. His ‘Eye-Gaze’ technology also allows Joseph to independently operate a second, fully featured, desktop computer or any other computer.

Social Media:

Joseph was now finally able to engage in the social media space as would any other user. His visible presence grew exponentially as other users became aware of his abilities in overcoming his disabilities. The numerous tributes of thanks and support drove Joseph to share his message. Now with over one hundred thousand followers (138,000) Twitter followers, Joseph is able to reach a substantial audience and has shown this with over 72,500 Tweets recorded as at June 2019. In fact, Joseph has become so popular on Twitter, even founder Jack Dorsey @jack follows him.

Inspiring so many, especially younger, followers Joseph was asked to make a presentation to senior specialists at a prestigious disability conference in Wellington in 2014. The presentation, detailing Josephs struggles and successes, became a benchmark in Cerebral Palsy progression in New Zealand and ultimately the foundation piece for Josephs motivational speaking engagements.

Today:

Apart from technology, Joseph’s greatest loves are comedy and music. He is especially keen on UK and NZ comedy and is good friends with a number of famous UK comedians; Richard Ayoade and Matt Berry to name just two. The team from TV3’s 7 Days (NZ) also feature in Josephs friends list. Stephen Christian from the now disbanded Anberlin is also a good friend and recently sang Joseph a song on his Facebook like broadcast.

Many of these amazing friends helped Joseph through a difficult time in April 2013 when he underwent substantial back surgery. A nervous 8 hours and one titanium spine later, Joseph left Starship hospital in Auckland with Mum by his side and thousands of friends waiting to welcome him home online.

Joseph has finished his schooling years and making plans for his future. Joseph is doing motivational speaking (presentations) with my life story. Joseph has already gone back into his primary and secondary school to present his motivational presentation, both with an incredible responses from the staff and the students. With his passion for Social Media, he’d be able to help businesses develop their profile in this medium. Using his technology, Joseph is able to use his skills to create an online presence for organizations.

One thought on “About Me

  1. Hi Joseph. Wow I’m so impressed with what you have done to manage and overcome your inability to communicate verbally. I am also really in awe of what your Mum has managed to achieve to help you. I am a mother too. I’m 60 years old now, wow that really sounds old! My son Mat was also born with CP and struggled with communication. He used to get very frustrated at times when he wanted to tell us something but we just couldn’t get it.. I really felt for him at those times. It was finally computers that gave him and us a glimmer of hope. We bought him a tablet and he learnt to swipe with his one finger that gave him purposeful movement. He could finally choose what he wanted to watch or music to listen to. He could be in touch with family and friends. Because he was dependant on caregivers to help him get set up to use the tablet he couldn’t use as much as he would like. I am speaking in the past tense because sadly Mat passed away last year from a sudden illness completely un related to cerebral palsy. It’s my dream to write a book about his life and hope that it opens people’s eyes to how people with disabilities face so many challenges and ignorance in life. How we need better resources available for example computers and equipment to assist being included in society. Some of the most basic things can be denied to people due to lack of a sometimes expensive but sometimes simple device or service. I hope I havent bored you stiff ( a cerebral palsy joke, my son had “spastic quadraplegia”) I wanted to connect with you and wondered if I could ask you the odd question from time to time as I’m writing the book to see what you think? I’d appreciate your perpective. please pass on my admiration to your mum . And I think you’re doing a fabulous job of raising awareness and dispelling some widely held beliefs about people with disabilities.

    Liked by 1 person

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