In November 2017, Microsoft Store’s across the country installed Wish Machines allowing customers to share their most imaginative wishes for someone else or some other entity, like a non-profit or charity. The Children’s Center Rehabilitation Hospital was chosen as one of 95 wishes granted out of 6,700 submissions.
Stephanie Bates, a patient activity aide at the Hospital submitted the wish asking for new adaptive technology for patients. Prior to being hired, Bates completed a six-month music therapy internship at the Hospital where she saw the benefits of adaptive technology and recognized the need for it.
“Through music therapy I was able to use music interventions to accomplish individualized goals. One of the main goals for the patients focused around using their augmentative and alternative communication devices. These communication devices are used to supplement or replace speech for many patients at the hospital,” said Bates. “I found out about the Microsoft Wish Machine and how it could provide the perfect opportunity to wish for technology that could be used as communication devices. This is an amazing testament as to how one wish can really make a difference in a child’s life.”
The Microsoft Store at Penn Square Mall in Oklahoma City held a reception for staff from the Hospital to present them with Microsoft Surface Pro tablets. This technology will be an added benefit for patients and staff, as it will help to bridge communication gaps.
Misty Milligan is a speech-language pathologist at the Hospital and one of four Assistive Technology Professional Certified employees. Misty understands the importance of assistive technology and the positive impact it can have on a patients life.
“Most of the children we serve have significant motor impairments making independent access to technology very difficult if not impossible. These tablets can be fitted with eye mobile devices that can allow patients to use their eyes to access the tablet and computer in the same way as a mouse or their fingers. Using just their eyes, they can utilize features such as swiping and clicking, which opens up a whole new world for the patients. Words cannot express how grateful we are that Microsoft is providing this opportunity for our patients to access technology,” said Milligan.
Microsoft granted wishes for each of their 92 United States stores with prizes valued at $3,000 and three grand prizes valued at $10,000.