became a quadriplegic and unable to speak after suffering a brain stem
injury when I was in 7th grade. Since I was only 13 years old at the
time, my physical appearance changed drastically to the point of being
nearly unrecognizable. I still face common misconceptions based on how
I look even today. However, I believed then that if I could fully utilize
my surviving human abilities, I could gain understanding from those
around me. Even if I needed special assistance, I could somehow participate
in social life activities.
In 1981, I made a head stick as my self-help tool while I was staying
at a rehabilitation hospital. I then learned how to express my feelings
and thoughts by typing on a typewriter or word processor. While at home,
I created my own personal letter board using a word processor in order
to improve communication with people I would meet on my outing events.
In 1988, with my letter board and head stick, I traveled through Western
China for one month with people I met through participation events.
After the trip, I started using Namco’s compact communication
device “Talking Aid” to enable my communication over the
phone. This encouraged me to pursue an independent life. I left home
and moved into a residential home for the physically disabled, and regularly
used the Talking Aid as my daily communication device. My range of activities,
both in and out of the residential facility, took on many forms from
In 1996, because I was very vocal with suggestions for improving the
Talking Aid, I began exchanging ideas with the company about upgraded
versions or new products. In the video clip below, Asako is demonstrating
and commenting on some of the features of her device.
View Video Clip in Windows
started using the computer in 1997. I had written many magazine articles
using the word processor and facsimile machine but with the computer
I published a book in 1998 entitled “Kuruma-isu no Shiten”
(directly translated as “The World Viewed from a Wheel Chair”).
This marked an increase in opportunities to give presentations and write
more articles, enabling me to speak in front of an audience using the
computer and a projector.
Beginning in 2002, I took part in starting up Namco’s welfare-related
web site “Hustle
Club.” I was given the opportunity to share my experiences
by writing on the weekly diary corner entitled “Asako Matsumoto’s
Talking Aid Club.” And in 2003, I started working for Namco, which
I continue to do to this day.
Most of my time is involved in working with the Hustle Club web site,
but I also take part in checking/validating Namco’s new product
the “Talking Aid IT,” and giving presentations whenever
such opportunities arise. The Talking Aid IT, released in 2003, looks
almost identical to the Talking Aid, but function-wise, includes features
not available in its predecessor, such as enabling conversion to kanji
characters, e-mailing, and clearer voice identification.
corner is available within the Talking Aid Club accessible from
the “Hustle Club” web site. I welcome participation from
around the world from those using AT or AAC devices in sharing personal
experiences. I am not sure whether there would be any possible language
barries, but I am eagerly waiting for many messages. In the video clip
below, Asako is shown browsing the internet. (In fact, she is viewing
the AAC enABLES web site!!)
View Video Clip in Windows
The residential care facility that I reside in permits physically disabled
individuals requiring constant care aged 18 or over. Members are entitled
to receive medical and nursing services. 80 individuals are currently
living in this facility.