Ainsley's New Tools Help Her Shine in Higher Education

From communicating with friends to operating her front door, technology helps in all aspects of maintaining seventeen-year-old Ainsley’s independence. Living with a spinal cord injury and tetraplegia, tech gear is a vital component for Ainsley to achieve her goals in post-secondary education and in her community as she continues her advocacy work, helping other young people with severe physical disabilities. 

Throughout high school, Ainsley had access to a voice-speech dictation program on a tablet, but once she graduated, she had to find her own accessibility tools to support her post-secondary studies. “I have been saving up for University on my own so buying a new phone or iPad really isn’t something I can do right now,” she shares. 

Working with Shine, Ainsley received a laptop, phone, tablet, and a speech to text program to give her the assistance she would need to help her participate in class and make her studies easier to manage. She is excited to attend the University of British Columbia Okanagan and pursue her dreams of working in law or clinical psychology.

Something Ainsley wasn’t expecting when she received her Shine Dream was the decrease in stress she felt about her future. Knowing that she has the technology to support her academic goals and future career has been a tremendous weight off her shoulders. Ainsley’s anxieties about what lies ahead have diminished and she feels excited for the next chapter of her life. Ainsley has also been able to increase the amount of communication with family and friends since her new technology is much easier to use.

She shares, "I am less nervous and more at ease about the future now that I have the technology that will support in my success at school. That was a big area of concern for me. This technology really helps me to get ready and prepare for university, so it makes it feel more real. It's now so exciting to begin to plan for university. This is such a huge contributor to my future success and my educational aspirations."

Outside of school, Ainsley is an advocate and mentor for people with disabilities through Spinal Cord Injury – BC, as an ambassador on the Rick Hansen Youth Leadership Committee, and now as a Shine alumna by sharing her story. Thanks to her new tech gear, Ainsley can stay connected and maintain accessibility to continue shining bright.