There are several ways of making computers easier to use. A type of adjustable armrest is available. You rest your arms on them and then you can move your arms more freely (although it takes a bit of time to get used to). This can be used in combination with a computer keyboard that can be split and a foam pad to rest your wrists on. If you find using a mouse difficult you can get a large track ball where you use the whole hand. Alternatively you can use a small square pad where you point with your finger or a special pen instead of a mouse. A strong trolley that can slide over the bed may enable you to use a computer in bed. Some keyboards are specially shaped to reduce fatigue. Tilt the screen so that you can use the computer in a more comfortable position. Software is available which is voice responsive, enabling the user to dictate into their computer and operate all functions, including E-mail, by voice. You can use a combination of voice, keyboard and mouse if you want to. You can create your own macros – such as your address or a standard paragraph, and call it up by saying a certain word. However some types are better than others. One individual with experience of these programs is Barry Brooks and he is willing to tell people with M.E. more about them, Fax: 020 8286 4774 E-mail: Some programs can minimize the number of letters typed by guessing the word or phrase as you type it (e.g. newer versions of Word for Windows). Others give you the option of having text read aloud by the computer (e.g. TextHELP! Read and Write). If you can’t sit in front of the PC, print out your incoming E-mails and write E-mails to send on paper and ask someone else to type them. Computers can be used for organising lists, appointments etc. Energy can be saved by using standard letters that can be sent to more than one person, and printed labels for addressing envelopes.

Education : Headaches : Memory : Reading : Speech Difficulties : Writing

TYMES Magazine Internet Special £1.50 InterAction 37; 2001; pages 14-16 Computers and M.E.