January 25, 2022 at 9:25 am #52140
Most of us use our computers with ease. We don’t have to worry about getting our fingers to the keys or our hands to the mouse. When you have a stroke, though, everything changes. Simple movements need more thought than ever before. You need a strategy to do the things you used to do with ease.
That’s why one man called the Kim Komando Show for help. His brother suffered a stroke after surgery. I asked you guys for any tips and tricks his brother could use … and I’m happy to say you delivered!
The first piece of advice came from Mick in Shamokin, Pennsylvania. He said to use a bar code scanner. “You can print the alphabet or words, usernames or passwords and scan them,” he wrote in a letter to the Kim Komando Show. By the way, if you ever want to reach me, use this form.
Gail from West Des Moines, Iowa says her husband has ALS and is similar to the brother who had a stroke. “He can type one letter at a time on a virtual keyboard, and since he is on a vent he cannot speak,” she wrote.
“I would highly recommend the system he just purchased, which is an eye gaze system. He tried a Windows-based Tobii Dynavox system, which he really didn’t like,” she said. “So he purchased an iPad Pro and a Skyle Eye Gaze system, and he loves it.”
I always love getting specific product recommendations. Thanks, Gail!
Lastly, I’d like to shine the spotlight on Steven from Prescott, Arizona. He said the brother should try alternative augmentative communication resources (also known as AAC). Here’s a quick overview that explains what this means.
Specifically, he said the brother should check out Northern Arizona University’s Institute for Human Development in Flagstaff, Arizona. He even shared two phone numbers the brother can call for help:
Call up these numbers and you can get an assessment in person or over the phone. The person you’re calling can connect you with ideas and technology most suited for your personal communicative needs. Lastly, Steven shared an article that explains how AAC can make a world of difference.
Thanks again to Mick, Gail and Steven for all your help! I’m always happy to hear from the Komando Community, but at times like this, I’m especially grateful!
January 26, 2022 at 5:26 pm #52161
Shortly after posting this, I got another email stuffed with great advice from Dallas in Austin. He’s an AT specialist who suggested oversized keyboards, such as Big Keys. He also said the brother could check out key guides or keyguards, which are clear plastic sheets you put over keyboards. They come with holes you can access the keys through.
He also had a few other suggestions, like:
- A trackball, joystick or keyboard/pad mouse
- Touchscreen interfaces
- The VoiceIt! iOS app, which was designed to create understandable speech (and typing) for what might seem to be otherwise unintelligible speech
“It is sort of like Dragon Naturally Speaking for people with speech impediments,” he said. “Another idea is sort of like buffering, where commands are built up and reviewed before any action takes place. This also enables reuse of complex operations and scenarios, and meshes well with discrete, versus continuous, interfaces.”
Lastly, Dallas suggested Switch Control. “iOS has brought this, in-depth, to its users, though similar accessibility features are available on other platforms,” he wrote. “One large, well-placed switch or button (including the entire touchscreen) can control everything. This is a very time-consuming interface, however. Recipes can help.”
Wow! Thanks a ton for your specialized insight, Dallas. It’s highly appreciated!