We are oftening asked what equipment can help a computer user with Parkinson’s disease.
One of the biggest problems that users suffer from is the repeating of typed characters. So instead of typing just an ‘a’, a whole string of ‘aaaaaaaa’s appear.
Fortunately Windows (all versions) have a utility called FilterKeys to eliminate repeated characters. It can be accessed from the Start Menu | Contol Panel | Accessibility Options and then checking the Use FilterKeys check box.
Another problem which is quite common is the constant missing of the intended character. So instead of hitting the letter ‘A’ for instance, you miss and hit the letter ‘S’ next to it.
For this problem Keyguards are very useful. These are metal or plastic plates that fit over the keyboard with holes over every key. So you either press the letter ‘A’ or the letter ‘S’ but if you hit in between the two, you just hit metal (or plastic).
Keyguards are not made for every keyboard and surprisingly, although they all look very similar, there are probably in excess of 5000 different kinds of keyboards, all with very slightly different spacing, widths or layout. So the keyguards and keyboards come as matched pairs.
The ones available within the UK are as shown here.
Using the mouse successfully is also a common problem. You are able to position the cursor in the right place but just as you go to press the button, your tremor causes the mouse and therefore the mouse cursor to move.
For this we would recommend either a large rollerball mouse, with the rollerball as large as possible. This allows seperates the moving of the mouse and the clicking into two distinct actions and therefore is a lot easier to control for people with tremors. See typical rollerball mice here.
Another approach is to use a mouse ‘filter’ which filters out tremors. The Assistive Mouse Adapter is a tremor supressing filter which electronically filters out tremors. With its controls, it can be adjusted to suit the magnitude and frequency of your tremor, with the ability to adjust it during the course of the day. Well worth a try!