My name is Karl Dean, and I
am from the United Kingdom. I'm a bright, happy and easy-going
person with a good sense of humor.
In 1972, I was born Hull. I
am the baby of the family with three older sisters. You
can imagine that it was a tough life growing up with three
older sisters in a 3-bedroom house! Just like The Waltons
I am a fighter, I never give up! I can remember
the time I went swimming at school. I wanted to pick up
a hoop from the bottom of the swimming pool but I couldn't
get down to pick up the hoop. In those instances when I
did manage to get down, I couldn't get back up so Kay, the
swimming instructor, had to rescue me from drowning. (Thanks,
Kay!) Anyway, it took me about six months to learn to dive
to the bottom, pick up the hoop and come back up safely.
I have Cerebral Palsy and have
to spend a lot of time in a wheelchair. Although it does
not get in the way of my work I feel I am fully capable
and articulate in this area. Basically I have a body which
some would comment that "does not work properly"
For keyboard operation I have
to use a head pointer and keyboard overlay. Although this
may initially seem a hindrance I have actually become quite
proficient and can type at a reasonable speed. Many people
would assume that I would be slow and have been pleasantly
surprised if they have ever observed me working.
I am the first disabled student
in Britain to achieve a degree using a "head pointer"
device to complete my work. Using the pointer I can accomplish
12 words every minute My biggest project is the 10,000
I may be somewhat slower than an able bodied person but
I always produce the results in good time and feel that
the quality of my work matched and even supersedes that
of some of my companions.
Because of the Cerebral Palsy
my speech has been affected and I am not always audible
in an understandable manner. To overcome this I communicate
using a speech synthesiser. This makes communication quite
accessible and in other cases I either type what I want
to say into my laptop or, with a little help from my friends,
get a quick translation. Although people will initially
find it difficult to understand me, after a short while,
they soon begin to pick up words and phrases until after
a short while they begin to speak to me like anybody else.
It is almost like learning a new language, only it takes
about 2 or 3 months to become fluent!