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Using a Computer After Brain Injury

Disclaimer

2014-0718 Technology AssistanceThe article in this post was written by Alex Barker for AbilityNet, an organization in the United Kingdom (UK) that, according to their website, “exists to change the lives of disabled people by helping them to use digital technology at work, at home or in education.” I realize some readers of this blog do not live in the UK and calling the phone numbers below would be costly. I could have removed the phone numbers prior to publishing this post, but the phone numbers might be beneficial to those readers who do live in the UK. I also recognize home visits are unlikely for those people who live outside the AbilityNet service area. However, many recommendations in the article are great ideas no matter where you live.

Article

[The following answers to commonly asked questions identify some of the many ways to use a computer more effectively after brain injury].

I sometimes find it difficult to take my finger off the keyboard so I end up getting lots of characters. What can I do?

It would be worth seeing if the keyboard you are currently using is the most effective one. You can also turn on a function called Filter Keys which is built into every new computer and basically slows down the keyboard repeat rate to your own specific needs. You can find some information on it within our website. (http://www.abilitynet.org.uk/mcmw/category/changing-keyboard-settings/) . There are lots of different keyboards to choose from so it should be fairly easy to find a keyboard that you can use easily.

Every computer, smartphone or tablet includes options for adapting the way the keyboard works. AbilityNet’s award-winning My Computer My Way provides information about all the main computer and smartphone systems.

Can I talk to my computer?

If your voice is clear then we’d advise trying out voice recognition. It’s built into all new computers that run Windows. For more details have a look at our easy to understand step by step instructions on My Computer,My Way.

We’ve also written an overview of how voice recognition can help you. If you do have literacy difficulties it might be a really good idea to get support in reading text to the computer.

Sometimes I have difficulty with reading text. What can I do?

There are a number of free and cheap text to speech packages which will read text out to you.  We really like the text to speech package at: http://www.ivona.com/en/.

I find it difficult to remember important appointments. Can a computer help me?

Using Google’s Calendar application is just one way of making sure you never miss an inportant appointment again. It is free of charge and you can synchronise it between your smart phone/tablet and your desktop computer meaning that you always have your schedule at your fingertips.

Helping You

AbilityNet provides a range of free services to help disabled people and older people.

Call our Helpline. Our friendly, knowledgeable staff will discuss any kind of computer problem and do their best to come up with a solution. We’re open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm on 0800 269 545.

Arrange a home visit. We have a network of AbilityNet ITCanHelp volunteers who can help if you have technical issues with your computer systems. They can come to your home, or help you over the phone.

We have a range of factsheets which talk in detail about technology that might help you, which can be downloaded for free.  You may find our factsheets talking about voice recognition, keyboard alternatives and learning difficulties useful.

My Computer My Way. A list of free hints and tips that you can use to make your time on the computer that bit easier.

Credits

Click here to see the content of another site dedicated to helping brain injury survivors and their caregivers.

Thanks to Alex Barker; AbilityNet; Google; and all the other people who, directly or indirectly, made it possible to include the picture and test I used in this post.

Scott
Even after brain surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation treatments to eradicate his brain cancer, Scott continued to work; continued to study; and earned professional certifications from the Project Management Institute, American Society of Quality, and Stanford University School of Professional Development. How were all of these achievements possible at a time when Scott was struggling with the hurdles of brain injury? The answers are in this blog.

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**** About The Author ****

During the past 13 years, I have been diagnosed with cancer, brain injury, balance issues, stroke, ataxia, visual impairment, and auditory challenges. I have overcome significant adversity! I can explain how to overcome your challenges. I am a very active Toastmaster and a motivational speaker.