Despite being pronounced dead at birth, Candi Yarbrough found her voice with Tobii's help - what she did with it when she found it is both remarkable and inspiring.
Candi Yarbrough was pronounced dead at birth. For 45 minutes doctors worked frantically to restore oxygen to Candi's brain and bring her back to life. Unable to walk or speak, she was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and mental retardation, and spent 26 years in various institutions.
Despite her adversity, in 2005, Candi was one of 36 people in Texas chosen to take part in training through Partners in Policymaking, and her life was about to change forever. Given a voice by her Tobii Mercury device, she wasted no time.
On her graduation in 2006, she testified at a committee hearing in the Texas State Capitol. Her statement was typed with her nose, one word at a time using a state-of-the-art communications device she controlled with her knee.
From there, she travelled to Morocco where she inspired parents and workers at a school for children with disabilities. In just ten days, she demonstrated the art of the possible to them, and when she left behind something they hadn’t had in a long time - hope.
Candi rejects the labels “disabled”, “crippled” or “handicapped”- she has a disability, but she is not broken. In fact, it’s her disability that allows her to make such a remarkable difference in the lives of others - those with disabilities, and those without.
“My hope is to empower people with disabilities and their families, to help them find their voice and the supports which will move them into self-determination. I want to encourage people to have the freedom to live their lives the way they want to,” says Candi.
“We are entitled to our own dreams and journeys. We want to have opportunities to meet new people and try new things, to pick and choose who we have in our lives and be surrounded by what is important to us in everyday life. We all have a right to be free!”
Today Candi is using a Tobii C12 and the Tobii CEye eye control unit to communicate.