At NExT, we strive to help you realize your everyday life goals and maximize functional independence. Here are some testimonies that reflect our individualized, client-centered approach.
For the First Time Since my TBI, I Can Speak!
Since my brain injury, I have dysarthria, so it's hard for people to understand anything I say. That can be so disabling! My life felt smothering, stagnant, and trapped in a never-ending block of ice until Tony Gentry came along and helped me build a bridge to all of the things that I want to do in life. He gave me the momentum to start a career and the ability to do everything that is communication linked. For instance, other clinicians had recommended augmentative communication tools that cost thousands of dollars, things I could never afford. Tony showed me how to use a $1.99 app called Speakit! on an iPad and that has been amazing! Tony gave me a voice! And that has opened up a jar of endless possibilities for me. Within a span of 3 or 4 months, I went from being seldom heard to speaking in front of a Capitol Hill briefing on brain injury funding in the U.S. Senate. I'm so grateful to Tony for all he's done. He can change life as you know it!
Support for a Woman with Multiple Sclerosis
Memory impairment is an often overlooked symptom of multiple sclerosis, but it can be disabling. We taught this woman in Charlottesville to use a pocket-sized personal digital assistant to help her keep track of everyday tasks, including medication management and her busy worklife.
This system has changed my life! I like everything about it. It helps me. It enables me to remember to do all I need to do. It is spoiling me rotten! It frees up my mind, because I know I have everything recorded and know it will remind me. It has been tremendous for my state of mind. I do too much, but this device makes me feel like I can do more! And you know the best thing? I don’t look dumb anymore! And taking my medications on time has been really important. I’m shocked at how much more organized taking two dumb pills on schedule makes me feel! I had tried to use my phone to remind me about things and just gave up, because it was all too complicated. But you showed me how to do it right with the right apps and now, wow!
I Can Do Things on My Own Thanks to You
We showed this young man with high-functioning autism how to use mobile technology to manage his high school activities and chores. A graduate now, he continues to use these tools in his work.
Tony Gentry has been my reason for being as successful as I am now. When I was in high school I needed constant prompting to do just simple tasks. Mom always had to nag me to do everything. Even though I still forget to do things and need nagging, I don’t need my parents for that anymore – my phone does the nagging for me!
The phone helps me with lots of other things too. For example my volunteer job is delivering SCBA’s and gear to firefighters here in Virginia Beach. That can be a problem, because there are so many different locations all over the city. We have a LARGE city. But thanks to my phone, when my battalion chief gives me a station I just type the location into my phone and it uses GPS to tell me where to go and how to get there. This is just one example of all the things Dr. Gentry has helped me do on my own since I first met him back in 2003.
You Helped My Son Live on his Own at Last
We worked with the family of a young man in Mechanicsville to provide smart home adaptations so he could live safely and independently on his own. Here's his mom's comment:
Tony Gentry with NExT did an amazing job setting up my son Christopher’s’ home. Chris has a mild intellectual disability and important things like cooking, taking his medication, household mishaps (leaky water heater etc.), fire and safety were a major concern for him to live as independently as possible.
Tony came to the house and evaluated what Chris would need to live as independently as possible. Chris and everyone involved with his support attended. Tony listened to all of our concerns and then installed several inexpensive devices that are helping Chris live safely and independently for the first time in his own home. It was a pleasure to work with him, and he has been wonderful in responding immediately to new concerns as they arise. I would recommend NExT to anyone who could use assistive technology to help them live independently in their own home.
You Helped My Daughter with OCD
This testimonial is from the mother of a young woman with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and autism who lived in a group home. For years she had been phoning home with checking/reassurance questions for up to six hours a day. We used a video modeling and behavioral plan that helped her be more independent.
Thank you so much for your work with Jennifer! She is very happy with her new behavioral plan and the instructional videos. I am very happy too!! She finds and is happy about the fact that she has more time in the day for things she likes to do instead of making all those reassurance calls. She has even begun to talk about living on her own and looking for work for the first time. We will see how it goes but I think that Jennifer and I are very willing to recommend this to other people if that will help you in the future. Your approach could be helpful with all kinds of independence issues for special needs populations.
Jennifer has found your visits and talks very helpful. You have a special way of talking that makes her very comfortable talking about things that she may not talk about with other people. We are looking for someone to come and talk with Jennifer about her daily living concerns, like a mentor, and to help her begin to manage day-to-day things on her own. We are hoping that Jennifer will be able to start looking for a small job now that she is feeling more comfortable and not spending her time making so many phone calls.
There is not any pressure from us on Jennifer at this point but it is a goal of ours for the near future. I think that as this progresses we might be able to incorporate some assistance videos to be added to her iPhone so that we could help with things that come up, much the same as she is going to be using her new help videos. This new mode of assistance for her has so many useful possibilities. Many thanks again for giving us a new way to help Jennifer become independent.
After receiving this note from her mother, Chris helped her learn independent living skills as she moved from the group home to her own apartment.
My iPad has Changed My Life!
Ed Turner is a tireless advocate for people with disabilities, well-known on Capitol Hill as he makes his rounds in his motorized wheelchair to lobby for progressive change in our laws. We loaned him an iPad, fitted it out with appropriate apps for communication, outreach, and news updates, then helped him learn how to access it despite his mobility impairment. He loved it so much that he bought one himself. Here's his story:
Being a successful lobbyist with a speech impairment and coordination difficulties can be challenging no matter how skilled or talented one may be. While my colleagues without disabilities easily hooked up their laptops or electronic notebooks to communicate with their clients to get and receive information on the spot I had to wait until I got home to my PC. This not only put me at a disadvantage with other lobbyists it kept me from giving my clients the service they deserved!
As I watched other lobbyists use iPads to communicate with their clients and schedule legislative meetings and get updated information on legislation or legislative meetings I decided it was essential for me to have one. I knew using one would be challenging because of my lack of coordination caused by my disability of Cerebral Palsy. I casually mentioned my dilemma to Tony Gentry at NExT. Shortly before the General Assembly session ended I met with Tony, his student Amanda Glover and Johnny Kelley, a friend and consultant of Tony’s. They carefully observed me trying to use the iPad in the conventional way. Johnny keenly observed I had more finger control when my left arm was against my chest so recommended that the iPad be placed either in my lap or mounted on the arm of the wheelchair. Tony suggested that I use a stylus to type to increase my accuracy. These suggestions gave me real confidence that an iPad could become a valuable tool in my work as a lobbyist.
As we began to work together, it was evident that I needed help not only on the best techniques for using the iPad with my coordination challenges but how to find and use the apps that would enhance all aspects of my life. I was a real novice! Working with Amanda and Tony, I soon discovered that the iPad could help not just my work life, but it could enhance my leisure time activities such as reading the daily newspaper, sports magazines and even books such as the Bible. We even found an app with a bus schedule so I would not have to wait so long for a bus. I could stay inside longer where it was warm instead of coming out in the cold because I did not know exactly when my bus would come. This was especially helpful during the General Assembly Session in the dead of winter.
I do not like to be dramatic but being able to use the iPad effectively has made a significant difference in my life. Not only has it improved my effectiveness as a Legislative Lobbyist/Advocate but has enhanced the quality of my leisure time as well. I am very appreciative of Tony at Neurological Expert Therapies and his consultants Amanda and Johnny for making this happen for me. Truly my life will never quite be the same. Now I have a constant traveling companion because I hardly go anyplace without my trusty iPad!