Teenage geek overcomes disability

05.Teenage geek overcomes disability

Rashida Yosufzai


(Australian Associated Press)

Video editing has helped Christopher Hills communicate with the world.

Before he discovered how to cut and produce clips, the only people who could understand the teenager were his immediate family.

Christopher has cerebral palsy and is quadriplegic – the conditions mean his muscle function and speech are severely limited, involuntarily producing spasms and slurring his words.

But the 19-year-old’s mind is sharp as a tack.

And thanks to technology he’s become a certified professional video editor with Apple, is the owner of Switched-On Video Editing and a paid consultant.

It’s hard to follow him editing video on the screen because he does it with lightning fast speed.

Using accessibility software controlled with a button at the back of his wheelchair headrest, Christopher toggles through screens, surfs the web and cuts video with precision.

The self-described geek says it was a different scenario three years ago, when he struggled to be understood.

Today he uses video and YouTube to communicate.

“I have been able to connect with lots of amazing people all around the world using social media and email,” Christopher told AAP on Wednesday, speaking through his father Gary.

“Just for example, I’m part of a Facebook group of professional video editors who uses (software program) Final Cut Pro and I communicate with them without any barriers of speech.”

Christopher says his greatest achievement is the I Am More Powerful series of short videos which shows him working beside more able-bodied editors, showing he can do almost anything they can.

On Thursday, he’ll give a speech about his journey to the Disability in the 21st Century conference in Brisbane, which promotes technological innovation for the disability sector.

For now he’s looking forward to developments in technology and editing a feature film one day.

“Anytime there is some new technology that comes out, it opens up my world a little bit more and that’s very exciting.”


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