Just when you're fed up with your email in-basket, ready to ditch your computer, and retreat deep into the woods to live on beetles and brown roots, something useful turns up. I was shocked recently by a note containing what seems to be simple and practical ways to make using your Windows-operated computer easier if you have Parkinson's Disease. The item in question comes from Data Driven Health which, in spite of its name, seems to be run by humans, for humans. I'm including the entire item here because it appears sensible, and so you can get a feel for what they plan to offer in this new weekly email feature called "PD 5". If you wish to subscribe go to this link. Here is their message...
Welcome to our first "PD 5" quick note! Each Tuesday, you'll receive a fast and easy tip sheet with 5 suggestions to make your life easier. This week, I have 5 tips to make your computer more accessible.
PD 5- Tips to Make Your Computer Accessible - Microsoft Edition
1. If your tremor is causing you to make unintended additional keystrokes, Microsoft Filter Keys can help. Go to Start, Control Panel, Ease of Access, then click Make the Keyboard Easier. You will find 6 excellent accommodations there, but for tremor choose "Turn on Filter Keys." This option allows Windows to ignore keystrokes that occur in rapid succession, or keystrokes that are held down for several seconds unintentionally. If you have a tremor, this app will truly help.
2. Is your screen difficult to see? Are text and objects indistinct? You can change your monitor display settings to increase the size of icons or text. You can also customize colors displayed on the screen to make things easier to see. To change the text size without changing your monitor resolution (which will make things fuzzy) go to Start, Control Panel, Appearance. Select adjust screen resolution and choose 150%.
3. If images seem indistinct or fuzzy, changing your background or text colors can make a huge difference. Go to Start, Control Panel, Resolution. Chose Change Theme, and scroll through your options until you find the combination of colors and contrast that work best for you.
4.If images are still too difficult to see, Narrator in Windows can help by converting text and captions to speech. To have text read aloud; Start, find the search box, and type in Narrator. There are many options there, and you may want to turn on some of the other Ease of Access apps to streamline the process.
5. Windows also has Windows Speech Recognition which will write email and documents by speaking commands rather than using the keyboard and mouse. To use Speech Recognition go to Start, All Programs, Accessories, Ease of Access, Windows Speech Recognition. Say "start listening" or click the microphone button.