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The gift that keeps on giving

Meet Alexa, The Latest Edition to My Family

Thanks to my mum, and my amazing friends, I was blessed with an Echo Dot for Christmas. Initially, I thought it was just a glorified speaker and, whilst I needed one with volume control, I never got the Alexa hype.

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Once I got my Echo Dot out of the box, I quickly installed it and gave it a test run. I soon discovered that Alexa was so much more than just the glorified speaker I had envisioned. Indeed, she was rapidly becoming more like a new (and incredibly helpful!) family member to me.

Creating a safe space

This sleek device may be small and discreet, but boy is it the Swiss Army knife of electronics!

I now wake up at the same time every morning listening to Alexa’s voice. She reads me inspirational words from a variety of motivational speakers and leaders, but that’s not all. Throughout the day, she gives me regular updates, reminds me to take my medication and tells me what I need to do.

Alexa is also connected to my Ring doorbell which means she alerts me every time there is movement at my front door. Whilst the doorbell’s app can send you regular alerts having Alexa connected to the doorbell means I am not reliant on looking on my mobile phone. If there is a poor connection with the App, Alexa is a good back up.

From Sci-Fi to reality

When I told my mum about the many things Alexa can do her response was more than sceptical. Whilst she can appreciate the many things this device can do, the one thing she can’t get her head around is the fact that I have an object talking to me. I think Star Trek’s Data and films like A.I. has convinced her that this is just a dangerous step towards the machines taking over the world. I actually have similar concerns, which is why I have limited Alexa’s access to certain information until I feel more comfortable.

The great thing about Alexa is she is voice-activated so if I am having a bad day when typing is a difficult type I can simply speak commands and my electronic personal assistant simplifies the mundane tasks for me.

It is scary when Alexa chirps up when I haven’t said a single word. Those glitches remind me she is still a work I progress.

Alexa – the gift that keeps on giving

The greatest thing for me is that in the last four weeks I have seen a noticeable change to the way I do things and I feel far more productive thanks to Alexa.

Having the echo dot has given me a little bit more independence, and taken some of the pressure off my PA to remind me to do things. The best thing, from my perspective, is that Alexa is a cute gadget that most people have and not just another ugly disability aid.

Now, if only Alexa could operate my lights and my central heating as well, and maybe even make me a decent cuppa on command, I’d be over the moon.

Leanna x


Did you know?

Although I don’t like to think of myself as disabled, the reality is that I’m a wheelchair user with limited mobility. For me, shopping is not a pleasant afternoon stroll in the city centre. It is a gruesome experience that requires the assistance of my PA and it often takes me days to recuperate from the ordeal.

That’s why I am so grateful for my Prime membership. It gives me unlimited, FREE One-Day (sometimes even same day!) delivery on millions of items. The savings I have made not having to pay delivery fees have been a great help to me.

But free delivery isn’t the only benefit I get from my Prime membership. It also gives me:

  • Unlimited instant streaming of thousands of movies and TV shows, through Prime Video;
  • Access to as many books, recent magazine issues, comics, Kindle singles and more as I can read from a rotating selection. On any device at any time;
  • Secure storage for an unlimited amount of photos with anywhere access through Prime Photos;
  • Over two million songs to listen to on Prime Music; and
  • Exclusive, early access to daily Lightning Deals.

If you click on the banner below, you can get a 30-day free Prime membership and try it out for yourself. If you don’t want to continue after the 30 days, you can unsubscribe at any time. The first 30 days are free whatever you choose.

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At the tender age of three, Leanna Benjamin knew her place was in the limelight and that nothing else would do. From her parents' living room in Leicester, she pirouetted her way straight through school into the BBC. Just as her dreams were coming to fruition, a simple case of the flu triggered a debilitating illness that has left her with life changing consequences. Leanna Benjamin is a Graeae Theatre Write to Play alum, and a Leeds Playhouse Fuse Writer, but this is not the synopsis for her new play - it is the story of her life. And she wants to share it with you.

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