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Spinal Cord Injury Paralysis Resource Center

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Pete Denman

Hi my name is Pete and I’m a graphic artist.  I recently got a job at Intel near Portland.  I gravitated towards art and design as a kid.  When I got injured, I thought that area of my life was over.  I didn’t think that I would ever be able to draw again, being that I have limited upper body movement.

Pete Denmin is a graphic artist working with a variety of computer tools and programs. His spinal cord injury occured over 17 years ago at the infancy of the computer age.

About 5 years into my injury, computers began to get smarter and more graphical.  The first copies of Photoshop and Illustrator came out.  I got my first copy of Photoshop at version 3.  Now they’re up to version 8 which I’ve been using ever since.  With these two programs, I was able to get back into using the computer and become design orientated again.

I also use a digitizing tablet by Wacom to interface with the computer.  It’s pressure sensitive, meaning the harder I push on the tablet, the darker the line gets.

Then, there are my mouse sticks, which I make myself.  The way that came about was that when I first started looking into the stick idea, mouse sticks were extremely expensive to have built for you.  And the ends would often snap off when you put any sort of torque on them.  So, I began to search for alternatives.  At one point, I saw someone use old archery arrows with rubber ends and decided to give that method a try.  I found a few archery arrows.  Then, I discovered brass tubing that could be cut down to any size you wanted.  I found one that was 9/32 that allowed a ¼ inch surgical tubing to fit over the outside of it perfectly and an eraser to fit on the other end just as perfectly.  So, my mouth stick was born and it only cost about a dollar fifty to make.

The goal for me then is to draw, design or even work like any other person would with a pen and piece of paper.  I can do this by using my Wacom tablet and my whole computer system.

How important has the computer been to my life?  I just love the computer.  The computer has changed my life.  It is my life.

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The Reeve Foundation Paralysis Resource Center Information Specialists are reachable business weekdays, Monday through Friday, toll-free at 800-539-7309 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Eastern U.S. Time. International callers use 973-467-8270. You may also schedule a call or send a message online.

This project was supported, in part by grant number 90PR3002, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship areencouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official Administration for Community Living policy.