Let’s start at the beginning, tell us about the first time you tried Coapt. For example, where were you, who were you with, what was it like, etc.?
The first time I tried Coapt was at Amputee Coalition’s National Conference. I had heard of Coapt several times before, but had never met anyone from the Coapt team or tried the system for myself. I was able to try out Coapt for myself at the booth, and was surprised at how easily I was able to learn the basics!
Before you used Coapt, what were some of the pain points or difficulties in your day to day activities either using other prostheses (if applicable) or just in general living with a limb difference?
I did not use a prosthesis for the first 21 years of my life, and prior to receiving my first device, there were several activities and hobbies that were either difficult or uncomfortable to perform without a prosthesis. I have used my prosthesis for the past 4 years, and it has assisted me significantly with those tasks. Now, moving from a dual-site system to Coapt, I’m experiencing a similar leap in the ease of daily activities and hobbies.
With a Coapt system, what are some ways that your daily routine has changed for the better?
The pattern recognition of the Coapt system makes it much easier for me to quickly transition between grips and gestures, almost becoming second-nature. This has made my daily tasks and chores much more efficient!
What is your most memorable Coapt moment since becoming a Coapt user?
The first time I calibrated my Coapt system and was immediately able to move my hand to the desired grip without a second thought, I was blown away!
What would your advice be for a first-time Coapt user?
Practice makes perfect! Whether moving from a dual-site system or receiving a prosthesis for the first time, learning to isolate movements and control the system takes time, patience, and a lot of practice. So take small steps, and don’t get frustrated if you’re not a master on the first day!
What are some of the biggest misconceptions you see about people living with a prosthesis?
A LOT of people tend to assume that I’m very shy about it and that they should never bring up the fact that I’m an amputee or that I wear a prosthesis. While some amputees and those with disabilities are uncomfortable talking about their situations, that doesn’t mean it’s true for everyone! I love talking and educating people about my prosthesis and the technology that exists to help others. It’s okay to be cautious, but if you’re curious, just ask!
Plug yourself! What are you most proud of this year? Any milestones in your life? Any thing else that you’re eager to shout from the rooftops?
I am a children’s author of a book series written to help kids with disabilities understand, accept, and learn to love their unique differences. As of this year, over 4,000 copies of my books have been sold!
I also launched a company earlier this year called Uniquely Connected, which is an online marketplace made “FOR those with disabilities, BY those with disabilities”. We offer products meant to help and empower those with disabilities, from toys and children’s books to clothing, accessibility tools, and more!
What’s next for you – do you have any big or small goals on the horizon?
I am heavily involved in the amputee and disability communities, and my current goal is to secure a full-time job within that realm!
Finally, are there any other details about your Coapt experience or your experience living with a prosthesis you’d like to share?
I am just very grateful for the fact that this technology is available to me, and I am so excited to see how it continues to evolve in the coming years!