Opportunities for Everyone

Published: 01/17/2019 06:00 PM

We are proud to introduce you to Anushka Shah. Her parents, Nita and Animesh, say opportunities presented with the help of her eye gaze device not only allow her to perform with friends and peers on the same stage, but also give HOPE to several others, that with belief and the right tools, you can change the world! Below is a post written by Anushka’s parents.

Opportunities for Everyone

By Nita and Animesh

“While challenges are so great, so are the opportunities” ~ Bill Ford

We all faces different challenges in life, but for girls facing Rett syndrome, they are enormous. Meet one of these brave girls - Anushka Shah, who battles Rett and turns her challenges into opportunities for everyone around her.

Anushka was diagnosed with Rett syndrome, which robs her of her ability to speak or purposefully use her motor skills to communicate. Many people in her life, from her friends and classmates, School team, and family, know how these challenges do not deter what she can accomplish with the right tools of technology and opportunity given thinking outside the box!

Anushka is an 8th grade honor roll student at Fort Zumwalt school district in O’Fallon, St. Louis, Missouri. One of her electives in school is Band. During the Spring and Winter concert, along with 100+ peers from her class, Anushka performed various songs composed by the teacher on stage with the help of the Tobii Dynavox I-12.

In the words of Anushka’s band teacher, Rebecca Fanning, “Her band journey has been a long one...full of challenges, struggles, and setbacks. Like her band peers, she has rehearsed and prepared for three performances with the help of her Tobii Dynavox eye gaze device.”

Anushka accomplished something no less than record-breaking. Anushka sat on stage at West High school and, using a rather unconventional instrument, performed with her classmates. Instead of a trumpet or a xylophone, Anushka used an Eye gaze communication device. The icons were connected to sound samples specifically chosen to supplement the concert band literature being performed. She "played" on two songs and received an overwhelming applause from both the audience and her classmates.

While this may seem insignificant to many, Anushka's performance was the culmination of months and years of hope, belief, and persistence.

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