Sheila is visually and hearing impaired and has had osteoporosis and brittle bone disease for several years. Sheila used to work as a Health & Safety Executive. Following an accident at work in 2009, she was badly injured and has been in a wheelchair since then. She had to give up work in 2011.
She said “I began with UCanDoIT with no IT experience at all. I had an accident at work that left me disabled. Up to that point I had a secretary who took notes and did everything for me.
I was very nervous and had a very very short concentration span due to medication. The tutor who came to see me was so friendly, patient and provided my learning at my pace. She spoke to me in a way that allowed me to develop my understanding gradually and was available by email if I got muddled.
Because of the foundations I received from my UCanDoIT course I went on to further develop my IT skills which helped as I completed my BSc Environmental Studies Degree with Hons.
As I have a progressive disability I am now a wheelchair user but can use my iPad, iPhone and iWatch to keep in contact with family and friends. I now also use assistive technology and am not scared to try things as your tutor gave me the confidence to try new things.
I am just so grateful that I was able to access the training via your charity as I was at a very low stage in my life”.
Through UCanDoIT, she learned how to use a desktop computer and laptop with Supernova and iZoom. Sheila uses her iPad for 90% of university work, she relies on Siri and Voiceover apps. She also uses an Apple watch for security (CCTV), alarms, and making payments.
She has also been studying a BA in Innovative Design, BA in Business Studies and a BSC in Social Care and Well-being. In the course of Sheila’s studies she has also learned how to use design software programs such as Compendium and ODS. In October 2016 she embarked on a BSC in International Relations.
Sheila works for the Open University Disabled Students Group and is the Chair. She travels to Milton Keynes and attends training conferences and mentors students.She has been awarded an Honorary Membership of OUSA. Sheila also carries out training for other organisations: Support for Ordinary Living (SOL) in Motherwell and New Mayfair Hotel in Blackpool which provides accessible respite care.Sheila is hoping to have the support of an assistance dog in the near future.