About Me

Welcome to my About Me page.

My name is Joseph, I was born in 1995 and reside in the Bay of Plenty. As a result of not enough oxygen at birth I now live with CP – Cerebral Palsy. I have a good brain for thinking and my eyes are my most important body part.  Together with my Mum, we have developed ‘blink spelling’, which is a way of communicating with my eyes.  My early years involved several different highly intensive therapies, and wouldn’t have been possible without a supportive and loving family.  

Online I’m known as JosephReidNZ. I was born with Cerebral Palsy (athetoid) and I use technology and social media as my primary method of interacting with the world.  

My older sister, Amy, has been my mentor. She guided me through the initial setup of my online presence. As I started my internet journey I became very inspired by Steve Jobsthe man behind Apple. What he aspired to and achieved in his short life was truly amazing. Steve revolutionised computer products for my generation. My life changed in a big way in 2012 when I was given an Eye-Gaze computer! The Eye-Gaze system is much faster and uses a lot less of my energy. The Eye-Gaze has given me the opportunity to share my humour and connect with people and their ideas.

Connecting online allows me to communicate and create my community. I have been able to get myself and my personality out there, away from the physical barriers I have. I sussed out pretty quickly that social media was a way for me to partake in a social life a lot more. Facebook is a great medium for friends and family to keep in touch. They see what I’m doing and enjoying and I can see what they are up to. I use Facebook mostly to have chats with people, especially friends from school. My Gmail is used like any email account.  To send and reply to messages, pictures and jokes and to subscribe to organisations. It is also how my Dad & I connect when I’m not staying at his house, I also use the Gmail chat feature too. My favourite form of social media is Twitter, it is truly a global community. I’ve even got the Founder and now CEO following me, Jack Dorsey

Being in contact with people I admire in New Zealand like Dai Henwood and Jeremy Corbett from TV’s 7 Days led to me meeting them in person. I even created a Twitter account for my followers to keep up to date with this major event in my life such as my spinal surgery in April 2013, you can find it hereAlong with favourite actors and comedians, I have also connected with some of my favourite musicians like Jon Foreman the lead singer of Switchfoot. Another band I really link is Anberlin, I got lucky when the lead singer, Stephen Christian did a live video on Facebook, where he sang a song just for me! You can find it hereI don’t feel like I’ve done anything different to any other Teenagers in reference to getting onto Twitter and Facebook. I’m just an ordinary person to other people on Social Media. The benefits of using the Internet for me is I communicate with people who I wouldn’t be able to otherwise, because of my disability. As you can imagine, there aren’t many computers like mine in New Zealand, and not many people who can fix problems when they happen, when mine breaks down, I’m isolated from my social media community.

Now I’m finished my schooling years and making plans for my future. I’m doing motivational speaking (presentations) with my life story. With my passion for Social Media, I’d like to work helping businesses develop their profile in this medium. Using my technology, I am able to use my skills to create an online presence for organisations. So, in summary, being able to access social media has been life-changing. I am not isolated from my community of family and friends, my world has expanded and I am part of a global community where my disability is not a factor.

 

 

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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.

    Like

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