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11 Aug, Thursday
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Montreal Families

Website offers special needs products

All Access Life, a website and online store, was founded by Daniel O’Connor and Bradley Heaven, who saw firsthand the increased need for adaptive technology as well as products and resources. Heaven was born with nonverbal spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy. He is nonverbal and uses assistive technology to communicate with others and also to take part in hobbies and activities. When he had just finished at a specialized elementary school, Heaven and O’Connor met each other.

“He was nervous about transitioning into a mainstream school and I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do in life,” O’Connor said. At 19, O’Connor became Heaven’s full-time aide, and they’ve remained best friends ever since.

In 2017, they founded the Pointe-Claire based non-profit organization. Over the years, O’Connor says that they saw the impact assistive technologies and adaptive products had on Heaven’s life and they wanted to share these life-changing resources with other people.

The men have won many awards and accolades, including first place of Dawson’s Den, Dawson College’s business competition; The Lieutenant Governor’s Youth Award, which recognizes the positive influence Quebecers have had in their community; and  the Simon Chang Difference Maker award, granted by the fashion company to people who positively bring change.

A diverse online store

The website boasts hundreds of products, ranging from gaming gear to those for everyday use. In fact, many aspects of daily life can be challenging for people with special needs. For example, generic gaming controllers and consoles can be difficult to manipulate. Thankfully, many companies now produce adaptive gear, which allows the user to experience Virtual Reality or to hold a controller more comfortably.

Eye tracking systems are good for people who struggle with communication or are nonverbal, as they help them communicate using their eyes, giving them more independence. The online store even has family-inclusive tools to help with everyday life like jogging strollers.

If you can’t find what you’re looking for or have a specific request, they invite you to contact them directly so they can look for a product that will suit your needs.

Follow Dan and Brad on their Youtube channel

Their Youtube channel boasts more than 18, 000 subscribers. The duo test out and review products and try out popular video game consoles such as the Xbox, using assistive technology (one of their videos went viral, and now has over 1.3 million views).

The pair also post fun videos of them trying out food, showing viewers around their office, and simply sharing their life and friendship with the world. Fun fact, their favourite hobby to do together is gaming.  They aim to show the world that disabilities should not stop people from enjoying their lives to the fullest. “We want people to live their best life and we know first hand how adaptive products can open up new worlds for people with disabilities.”

For more information, visit the website here. 

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