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Computer Tools


 
The advent of the computer has helped society in a number of ways and the medical field certainly has taken advantage of the increased opportunities the computer offers.  The advancement of computer technology has lead to new tools for brain injured survivors.  As computers continue to get more powerful,   less expensive, and more portable,  we can expect to see continued improvement and for more computer tools to become available.
 
The biggest factor in selecting a computer tool is to identify the person's deficits so you can select the right components to overcome them.  There are products to help with most any condition to assist with reading the screen or providing input.  If your rehab specialists or therapists are not knowledgeable in this area call your local college as they typically have people that work with the Office of Disabilities to design solutions.
 
Below is a list of some of the uses for computers in your recovery.  If you have any other innovative applications, drop us a line at help@tbirecovery.org
 
 
 

Communication Devices



Communication Devices are specialized computers that aid people who have difficulty speaking.  These devices use computer generated synthesized voices to vocalize what the person has selected or typed on the screen.  They are extremely customizable to create very personalized sets of options to choose from.
 
Users can provide input to the device in a number of ways such as a touch screen, buttons, head control units, puff and sip switches and more.  There are different sized units and there are mounting devices to attach the larger units to a wheelchair.
 
To learn more you can search on Communication Devices or use the industry term of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ACC).
 
 
 

Personal Computers



Using a personal computer offers access to a broad range of software. From e-mail to the Internet, a PC can give the brain injured person a lot of options to interact with others.  Windows has continually added additional features for the disabled in every release of Windows.  They now include a magnifier, high contrast colors and other tools for accessing the computer. 
 
There are a multitude of software programs for the PC.  From business software to games to art and music tools.  Just about everything you can imagine.
 
 
 

Input Devices



The good news is there are a wide range of input devices for the computer that address a wide range of disabilities.  The hard part is sometimes just learning about all of the different choices. 
 
If a person has very limited mobility, there is a head mouse that can operate with very limited movement or perhaps a puff and sip switch.  With a little more movement a roller ball or a thumb mouse might be right.  There are various switches with different capabilities, sizes, and pressure sensitivities.  Voice recognition software may be a possibility. 
 
The bad news is that it could get pricey if you end up purchasing a few devices in order to find the right one. 
 

Rehab Software



There are a number of software programs aimed at helping in a person's rehab.  Some are aimed at helping with memory, others with speech, and some with concentration.  Some of these programs have trial offer periods so you can see how they work before you purchase.  Search the Web for programs aimed at treating the area that interests you.
 

Neurofeedback



Neurofeedback programs utilize specially created software programs to aid in rehab.  Some programs require the person come to the center.  There may be software available for purchase to use at home.
 

Environmental Controls



There are controls that can be purchased that will allow the person to control many of their environmental controls via the computer.  Lights, TV's, cameras and other items can be controlled via computer and even made available via the Internet.
 
 
 
There are just too many options to go into detail here.  The best way is to search the Web for the specifics you are interested in.  You may want to check to see if there are organizations in your area that will let you borrow some of the tools mentioned above to try before you buy.
 

 
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