Tech helps woman with cerebral palsy create her own art

Felicia Bowers was first diagnosed with cerebral palsy when she was just five months old. Today, he's unable to speak or move her arms or legs on her own. But technology is changing her life.

"Very frustrating and trapped within myself," Felicia said.

She's 27 now and able to communicate througha  computer device called Tobii. It tracks her eye movements and and types her words.

"(It) lets me express my feelings and life experiences," Felicia said.

Beyond that, she's getting help from Bassie Shemtov and other dedicated staff at the Friendship Circle's Soul Studio in West Bloomfield. The center helps special needs adutls and children further their strengths and passions. For Felicia, that's art and she's now able to create it her self.

"We tried everything from Velcroing a paintbrush to her foot, helping her use the little bit of use she has in her arms, and we tried a helmet with a paint brush attached on her head," Shemtov said.

But soon, they figured out a way for Felicia to use Tobii to convert her visions into portraits.

"Just three days later the craziest thing happened. (We went) from thinking she would need months or years to practice, her very first practice piece was a self portrait," Shemtov said.

Just as Felicia uses her eyes to type she she's thinking, the camera tracks her eyes, allowing her to draw and make a living. One recently auctioned at a charity event sold for $14,500. Felicia keeps 40% of her sales.

"Felt good to see my art sell and others were interested in my work," Felicia said.

Her mom always knew of her daughter's creativity and determination but couldn't imagine this would ever be possible.

"I have never seen her do anything like this. Nothing like this. This is just amazing," Tina Bowers said.

Cerebral palsy may have control over her body but not over her love of art or her destiny.

"Creating these drawings not only helps me express my hopes and dreams for independence they also give me an opportunity to sell and make a living as an artist," Felicity said.