Glenwood’s Brouhards featured in Women’s Day mag this month
May 19, 2017
Kara Brouhard of Glenwood Springs, the inspiration for her mom's advocacy that's had national reach, is featured in this month's Woman's Day magazine. The story grows from Kara and her family's efforts to create awareness of the benefit of technology for the disabled.
Kara, 36, suffered a traumatic brain injury in 1986 at the age of 5 while skiing with her family at Sunlight Mountain. She also endured a two-month coma following the accident. This left her with cognitive issues and paralysis on the left side of her body.
Her parents, Alice and Jim Brouhard, have been Kara's primary caretakers for the last 31 years, aiding in Kara's recovery from the accident. Though it's been a long road, Kara has come a long way.
Alice attributes the technology and convenience of the voice recording reminder iPad application Aida in helping Kara achieve independence into adulthood. The application walks Kara through daily tasks and chores she would likely not otherwise remember to do without the help of the application.
"Kara is largely on her own because of this technology," her mother said. "It's like hearing her own voice in her head."
Kara and her family received national attention in 2015 after successfully petitioning Apple to make changes to its operating system, enabling Kara to continue use of Aida's automatic reminder function on her iPad, which would have otherwise been removed from the application following an iOS update.
"The update would have required Kara to open the application manually each day to use, rendering the app useless for Kara," Alice said.
Thanks to the change.org petition, media coverage with the Post Independent, and multiple supporters, Apple tuned in and accommodated the change.
Kara's feature in Woman's Day magazine, which describes the Aida Reminder app as "the soundtrack of Kara's life," is not her first opportunity of publicity. Her story was featured in a TEDx talk in 2016, as well.
The inspiration to feature Kara in the May 2017 issue came when Alice entered an essay in October 2016 to the magazine's caregiving essay contest telling of Kara's journey.
"In January out of the blue, I got an email from one of the editors," said Alice. "She was touched by our Ted X Talk and wanted to do a feature for Kara."
According to Alice, Kara is excited to have this opportunity with Woman's Day magazine.
"She loves it," Alice said. "Kara has always said, 'Mom, I would like to be famous some day.' I think she knows she's making a difference for other people, too."
Alice is hopeful this exposure will help others realize how beneficial the use of technology and apps like Aida can be to the disabled community.
"I just want to plant seeds about the power of technology to transform lives," she said. "The long term cost of care for people with disabilities could go way down if we utilize technology effectively."
Alice travels to New York this week for the Second Annual Tech Conference for Cognition and Learning in an effort to inspire others with Kara's story.