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As a person with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), there are many things I prefer not to consume, but coffee is not one of them.

I’m aware indulging in too much caffeine might not be the healthiest or wisest consumption for my health, but it motivates me to wake up in the morning, and tackle my tasks head-on. Meanwhile, I try to refrain from alcohol and eating too many sweets. I know the harsh long-term effects they can have on the body. And SMA has enough deteriorating symptoms attached to it, so I’d like to prevent any added stress to my insides. 

Nevertheless, if I’m to enjoy one special luxury, it’s my morning cup of Joe. The love I have for it is no small secret in my circle of friends and family. It’s so obvious my sweet cousin bought me an Ember cup for my birthday. Heating my cup of coffee several times in the morning is an ongoing joke between the both of us. I like to baby my cup of java.


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Hearing the drip of the coffee going into the coffee pot, breathing in the rich, earthy smell it generates, enlightens me with its beautiful aroma. It puts me in the greatest of moods, hence the reason I savor every sip. Meanwhile, as one of my main caregivers, my cousin thought it’d be wise to provide a little form of independence for my coffee demands. 

Read about HCP resources for SMA

All jokes aside, the Ember cup is one of the more useful and meaningful gifts I’ve ever received. It’s a mug providing me the capability to operate its temperature through my iPhone. I’m able to fully control how hot or cold I like my coffee to taste. In addition, it allows your cup of coffee to stay at your preferred temperature for 2 hours, and if you need extended time, keeping it on its coaster allows it to say warm for as long as desired. That’s great for a slow sipper such as myself. 

To the average person, this may sound meaningless. However, to those of us with rare diseases, finding adaptive technology such as the Ember cup is like striking oil. For the minimal independence we obtain, controlling something so small as the temperature of our cup of coffee is a big deal, and worth celebrating. 

Moreover, I’m comforted by knowing I’m living in an era when adaptive technology is rapidly advancing. It’s been a saving grace for my disability in the last decade. Products such as the Alexa, voice recognition, and the Ring camera for safety concerns, are just to name a few. And, I can’t forget to mention my iPhone. It has created a world of increased liberation by utilizing social media and an abundance of other things.

In all that being said, I find it important for individuals to share which technology items have been a saving grace for their conditions. Doing so could help those who are unaware of what’s out there and encourage people with disabilities to have more freedom and self-sufficiency.