Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Adapt Part 2 (How Do I Do That Now?)

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In the previous posting, I threw down the gauntlet and asked you folks to think of a way to do a two handed task one-handed. I’m still waiting for most of you, BUT I got a response and a question from Bob. He wrote -

“Thinking about it, it would be really hard to open a bottle or can with the use of only one hand... And I can't really think of a way to do it. I suppose you could use a deep cup holder type thing, to keep it steady.” A good question. Here’s my answer.

“To answer your comment, yes. Opening a jar is one of several things that can prove difficult. But not impossible. Here's how I go about it.Here in the States we have a product that is intended for lining flatware drawers. It is a very loosely woven fabric that is coated with latex. The resulting material is easy to cut and provides a non-slip surface for almost any jar or bottle. With a piece cut about 6 inches square, you place it between your knees, place the jar so that the material covers the bottom and up the sides, squeeze with your knees, and grasp the lid. From there it's simply a twist of the wrist and you're open. It works with almost any bottle or jar, even medication bottles that have child proof caps on. Now a can is a bit tricky. You have to depend on a mechanical device for the task. I use a device that is given to the military called the 'P-38'. It’s found in Surplus shops and Sporting Goods Retailers. A cup holder IS useful for this. Put the can into the cup holder, grab the 'P-38' can opener and work your way around the can. Works quite nicely so you had a good idea on that one.

I hope that you never have to do these things for yourself, but if you ever have the chance to help someone else with this idea, I hope you remember and share it. You never know! “

Now I know that doesn’t really have a lot to do with computers and computing, but it was a good question and deserved an answer here (since I asked).

So, after going through that, what are we looking at this time? Looking, that’s what. Vision impairment is NOT limited to stroke survivors, as I’m sure you all know. There are hundreds of reasons someone’s view of the world is dimmed or reduced. Even folks that have to wear glasses or contacts fall under this category, so how to handle the problem.

Lets take a look at general solutions. Number one factor in improving visibility is to make what you’re trying to read larger. How to do that? Easy, if you can afford it. Purchase a 21 inch monitor! That will make a really serious improvement the enhancing readability. Those of us with serious impairment HAVE to go in this direction.

I had to add an additional tool for improvement. I bought a special prescription pair of glassesfor use with a computer. No problem. I gave my Optometrist the problem and what I needed. After answering a couple of questions, I had a pair on order. They really make a difference. Can’t afford the 21 inch monitor? Ok. Use the one you have. Decrease the resolution of you video card to 800X640. Don’t go lower than that since a lot of programs that use graphics won’t work below that.

Don't forget about colors. Some color combinations are much easier on the eyes than others. You may need to experiment to find the ones that are most comfortable for you. Change your screen colors in Windows by right-clicking a blank area of the desktop, and choose Properties, click the appearance tab, then the Advanced tab.

Anything you can do to increase the size of print on your screen will help. Web Browsers (FireFox, IE, Netscape) have option settings to increase the point (or size) of the type. So, if you’re having difficulty reading your screen, boost the size of the type and see if that will improve things. Windows has access tools that are used to enlarge the type in a selected area of the screen.

After all, using a computer needs to be enjoyable because if it isn’t, you won’t want to use it for very long. And that isn’t being productive. It’s also no fun! Using a computer IS fun (or it should be). So, as always, HAVE FUN!