When Ease of Access is anything but!

I was helping a client with Parkinson’s recently who had other help from staff and relatives at his care home. It’s interesting that people think that by switching on ALL the access options you are helping the client when in fact you are disabling them! 

Spent most of the time switching off options to just allow his speech to control the device. His hand function is lessened as the day goes on to the extent he can’t use a keyboard so some of the options such as magnification and onscreen keyboard don’t help. I also choose a lower resolution to make the screen clearer for the client. I switched off Magnifer(which had inverted the colour to make it doubly difficult to read) and also the on-screen keyboard as he uses his voice to type or a usb keyboard attached to the computer.

Interesting too that the one tool that would be useful didn’t appear on the desktop! Dragon sits in the tray until clicked on. This was another barrier. I had set it to run as a toolbar across the top to enable the client to say “wake up” and control the laptop totally with the one part of his body that works effectively.

Oh well. Onwards and upwards!

Using the Echo Dot as an Intercom

I discovered that if you have two echo dot devices you can set up an intercom system between rooms in your house. It is relatively straightforward to do. On the mobile Alexa App Go to settings and change the name of your device from its standard setting to one such as “Living Room” or “Office” or “Kitchen”. Now go to the speech bubble ( message) at the bottom of the screen. You can also click on “DropIn” you will see a list of devices or rooms to connect to. Tap on the one you want to use and voila after a delay of about 5-10 seconds you are talking to the person in that location.

Using the Echo Dot ( or Amazon Echo) it’s even simpler. Just say  your wake word ” Alexa, Drop in Living Room.” The device ring becomes green and in about 5-10 seconds you are connected. That simple!

You might hit a problem where the device says it can’t find the”contact” then all you have to do is go through the setup on the device again and it seems to reconnect ok.

To help with doing this here is a short video to explain it:_


Do Not Disturb feature on the iPhone – maybe not such a good idea!

I had been puzzled for ages why my iPhone was not allowing calls and sending them to voicemail immediately. I had checked all the usual settings, My voicemail settings, the Phone settings. I could not see what the issue was.

Then I remembered that due to an important meeting I was in I had activated the “Do Not Disturb” function on the Control Panel:-


Now this caused the problem. So beware accidentally switching this feature on because any incoming calls will go straight to voicemail. Due to this I am not sure its such a great feature to have so visible on the phone. Why not keep it in Settings and not on the control panel.

For more information about this feature go to:-


BATA Forum

The British Assistive Technology Association has launched a new feature – BATA Forum.  The Forum is a safe place to post questions, ideas, thoughts, discussion and problems to solve. It is there for free discussion and our members will respond with expert , specialist advice. The Forum is free to access with no complicated membership just a google account or even none other than an email.

All we ask is that people are polite and kind in their posts and comments. It is open 24 hrs , 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Why not take a look at :-


Speech input for Widgit Online in Chrome

Just tried this on my chromebook – really good! Here is my first try:-

Screenshot 2018-07-13 at 14.48.58

Now for the offical blurb:-

Widgit Online | Speech Input

Introducing Speech Input

You can now use your voice to add content to your Widgit Online documents!

All you need to use this feature is a microphone attached to your device and the Chrome web browser.

Log in and try it
Speech Input Option
1. Click speech input
Open a Widgit Online document and click on the Speech Input icon on the top toolbar.
2. Speak to add text
Now simply speak to add text to your document.
Symbolised Content
3. Your text will symbolise
Your text will automatically symbolise.