So what did Father Christmas bring you? Socks and underwear or toiletries? Or perhaps you've been very good in 2014 and he brought you a nice shiny laptop or tablet computer or an iPod? So you eagerly unwrapped it, plugged it in and then had the awful realisation that you're not quite sure what to do next... Well don't worry - here's our quick guide to the computer training and support that's out there for disabled people.
There's an assumption that as we're living in a 'switched on' age that everyone just instinctively knows what to do. Unfortunately it's not always that easy to work things out for yourself. Sometimes you just need just a bit of support. Thankfully there are lots of organisations that can help you become a bit more IT savvy.
If you are mobile and able to travel short distances you can attend either a Learn Direct centre or perhaps an Adult Education course. Not only is this a good way to learn but you can meet new people too.
Organisations like Age UK have silver surfers clubs where you can get computer training as well as tea and biscuits too and a warm welcome. Other community groups will also have specialist sessions so try asking amongst friends or family, or give your local council a call.
What about help at home?
AbilityNet IT Support at Home
Learning how to use a computer isn't just a case of attending a training course - sometimes you need someone to sit with you to make sure everything is working properly and help you feel more confident. It's no use having lots of lessons if your broadband isn't working, or if you have loads of viruses.
AbilityNet's IT Can Help volunteers can make sure everything's running smoothly, as well as helping you access online training via the Tinder Foundation's Learn My Way site. We have a network of really friendly Disclosure-checked volunteers across the UK who can visit you at home or help out remotely - and if there isn't a volunteer in your particular area we can usually find a volunteer from another organisation to come and help you get the best from your new technology.
Just use our website to request our help. Or call our free Helpline on 0800 269 545.
There are a few other sources of support and training too!
- Ucandoit can offer you 12 sessions of computer training for a nominal amount of money. They have coverage in many different areas of the UK.
- Alison.com is an online training resource which might be worth looking at if you have some basic web skills and just wanting to enhance them.
- Sometimes it's easier to do something by watching it and there are thousands of tutorial videos on YouTube. Just search using the question you want to know the answer to, such as 'How do I set up Facebook?'
How can we help?
AbilityNet provides a range of free services to help disabled people and older people.
Call our free Helpline. Our friendly, knowledgeable staff will discuss any kind of computer problem and do their best to come up with a solution. We’re open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm on 0800 269 545.
Arrange a home visit. We have a network of AbilityNet ITCanHelp volunteers who can help if you have technical issues with your computer systems. They can come to your home, or help you over the phone.
We have a range of factsheets which talk in detail about technology that might help you, which can be downloaded for free.
My Computer My Way. A free interactive guide to all the accessibility features built into current desktops, laptops, tables and smartphones.