Surviving a stroke and learning to type again...

Emma is 26 and had a stroke in 2014Our focus this month is how computers can be adapted to help people who have survived a Stroke and so we met up with Emma, who is 26, lives in Hertfordshire and works for the Scout Association in the International team. In May 2014, a few days after an evening of fun on the climbing wall with the Cub pack she leads, Emma collapsed in the car park at work. Fortunately a trained first aider recognized that her symptoms may be that of a stroke and so Emma got the help she needed incredibly quickly, which helped save her life.

How has stroke affected you?

My Stroke was a left side ischemic stroke and initially, I lost my speech and all movement down my right hand side. I was able (with the help of hospital and rehab staff) to regain my speech, (though I still forget words or stumble over my words) learn to walk again and use my right hand. Now, exactly 12 months on, I still have weakness in my right hand, I find it difficult to write, type and text. This is due to finding it challenging to isolate the fingers on my right hand.

What tasks do you find difficult now on the computer and how has it affected your ability to use the computer?

My speech pattern has changed and this makes it difficult to use voice recognition software. The main challenge I have on a daily basis is the speed I type (it's much slower and one handed!) and I can't double click on the mouse with my right hand, so I end up using two hands!

Do you find your computer makes day to day living easier for you?

Yes. I'd be lost without my smart phone and iPad!

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. You may find our factsheets about voice recognition and keyboard alternatives useful.
  • My Computer My Way. A free interactive guide to all the accessibility features built into current desktops, laptops, tables and smartphones.