Sup­port a chat away

Cockburn Gazette - - NEWS -

HAMIL­TON HILL AERIAL skier Danielle LoizouLake spent five years learn­ing to walk again af­ter an ac­ci­dent on the slopes left her with a spinal cord in­jury.

The Hamil­ton Hill res­i­dent was on an aerial train­ing jump at Mt Buller in Vic­to­ria when she mis­judged the jump and landed on her neck from a height of about 8m.

Loizou-Lake frac­tured two ver­te­brae and parts be­came lodged in her spinal cord, par­tially sev­er­ing it.

She was air­lifted to Mel­bourne where she un­der­went emer­gency surgery.

“I was a gym­nast from the age of 5, be­com­ing com­pet­i­tive in my early teens and win­ning some state ti­tles,” LoizouLake said.

“I had been ski­ing from the same age and at 18 I moved to the snow full time to fo­cus on the sport.

“My goal was the X-Games, big air com­pe­ti­tions and half pipe but I un­for­tu­nately had my ac­ci­dent be­fore I was able to par­tic­i­pate in any.”

Af­ter her in­jury, LoizouLake re­quired a range of mo­bil­ity aids and or­thotics to walk and found nav­i­gat­ing the vast choices and amount of in­for­ma­tion avail­able dif­fi­cult and scary.

In­spired by the ex­pe­ri­ence, Loizou-Lake and oth­ers liv­ing with a dis­abil­ity have de­vel­oped an in­te­grated web­site called AT Chat.

AT Chat aims to im­prove how peo­ple ac­cess in­for­ma­tion about as­sisted tech­nol­ogy, us­ing prac­ti­cal and en­gag­ing real life ex­am­ples.

AT Chat has been de­signed with in­put from more than 300 peo­ple with dis­abil­ity across WA. The project’s Face­book page started re­leas­ing video con­tent late last month and launched this month.

Pic­ture: Nancy Truong

Danielle Loizou-Lake spent five years learn­ing to walk again.

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