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FlyingSoupDragon
26th July 2015, 14:45
One definition of Assistive Technology (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assistive_technology)

"Any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of a person with a disability."

Retaining our communications functions and a window on the world as our faculties diminish is challenging. Technology has helped enormously in the last couple of decades and there is promise of a lot more to come. Eye-Tracking (Optikey) (http://forum.mndassociation.org/showthread.php?6409-OptiKey-full-computer-control-(and-speech)-with-your-eyes) being a topical example. Within the Operating Systems design and readily available software there are many tools to improve the speed and quality of the user's interaction with their computer. Finding and understanding how to exploit them can be challenging for the new, or even the regular computer user.

The MNDA forum is seen as a valuable resource and meeting place for MND patients, where better to learn a little of such systems and evaluate real user's experiences? However, when a user comes to the forum looking for Assistive Technology information or advice, the answer he/she seeks are currently distributed across various sub-forums - they have no 'home' of their own..

MNDA Forum Members;

Q. Do you think there may be value for us all in the creation of a forum section named 'Assistive Technologies' with sub-forums beneath to facilitate discussions across the various solutions/innovations zoned into their respective operating systems?

http://content.screencast.com/users/Norman777/folders/Snagit/media/adea3d29-5828-4289-bab7-c57171a170bc/2015-07-26_13-09-09.png

Please comment below.

Terry
26th July 2015, 15:43
Hi Norman;

Quite impressed with the Idea but I think it has the wrong title as Technology could be wider than computer based devices. Perhaps another subsection should be included for other none voice or methods of controlling a computer like Robotics??

Just a thought, love Terry

FlyingSoupDragon
26th July 2015, 15:52
Hi Norman;

Quite impressed with the Idea but I think it has the wrong title as Technology could be wider than computer based devices. Perhaps another subsection should be included for other none voice or methods of controlling a computer like Robotics??

Just a thought, love Terry

Agreed Terry, just need another second level subforum and away we go!

Dude
26th July 2015, 17:13
Doh '

Ellie
26th July 2015, 17:34
Hi Norman,

Whatever about having a Technology area, I think perhaps you’re overcomplicating things with a plethora of sub-forum topics. People tend to start a thread in, what they perceive to be, the relevant section. For example, a query about assistive technology currently could be relevant in Life with MND or Equipment and Medication sections.
The vast majority of people want (I think) simple help and advice in plain English, rather than in techie speak. Even the language used in your post would make some feel intimidated and they’re the people who most need help. It has to be accessible to all.

Ellie.

FlyingSoupDragon
26th July 2015, 18:41
Hi Norman,

Whatever about having a Technology area, I think perhaps you’re overcomplicating things with a plethora of sub-forum topics. People tend to start a thread in, what they perceive to be, the relevant section. For example, a query about assistive technology currently could be relevant in Life with MND or Equipment and Medication sections.
The vast majority of people want (I think) simple help and advice in plain English, rather than in techie speak. Even the language used in your post would make some feel intimidated and they’re the people who most need help. It has to be accessible to all.

Ellie.

Hi Ellie,

Good points. I guess there is merit either way but most people understand the nature of their problem, loss of speech/movement etc. Computers and tablets are where most assistive technologies live these days and the screen has become the window on the world for those who have become isolated by disability.

When discussing anything to do with computers, the operating system being used (Windows, Mac etc) is the starting point. If you are using a Windows PC, conversations about Apple Macs won't be of interest to you. If you wanted to know something about text to speech you would go straight to the Windows sub forum where any thread would be relevant to you. Putting everything into one big soup bowl really would confuse everyone. The threads within sub forums would be directly related to solutions to MND challenges, not weird techie speak.

Language: sorry, I didn't want to talk down to anyone so I pitched straight in. Of course everything should be written in plain English, explanations well illustrated and linked to external explanations etc.

Forum design is a delicate art, too many sections and sub forums can detract from the objective of getting people talking. Balanced against that, failing to provide appropriate 'rooms' leads to muddle and lack of focus.

BUT, I fully appreciate I am the noobie here, this is a discussion point, I'd hate you to think I was trying to impose a view. Lol

Dude
26th July 2015, 19:07
Hi Norm, correct me if Im wrong, but one area you seem to be pointing to in your 'computerisation' of this type of forum is quickly accessing a specific item you need, be it equipment, medication and 'medical' advice etc. I like the 1 room approach where anyone, irrespective of technical ability , can call on compassionate people, like you, to answer their question but also give compassion and support. I pray no operating system will ever replace this. Take care. Dude I'll get me coat.

Steve
26th July 2015, 19:08
i agree with ellie, an assisted tech forum is sufficient. no need for sub forums

pete
26th July 2015, 19:58
Likewise I agree with both Ellie, and Steve, keep it simple and straightforward ,this will insure that everyone understands what's being discussed and the merits of the kit .

Steve
26th July 2015, 20:05
also, some people don't know which path to go down in terms of device, os etc. and the threads being in one place may help them decide.

there wouldn't be enough threads to justify sub boards anyway.

Dude
27th July 2015, 08:46
My feelings exactly Steve. lol

FlyingSoupDragon
27th July 2015, 09:37
OK, really pleased to hear that an area dedicated to AT is seen to have some merit. Having a spot to go to would be a big step forward.

Thanks for bringing your perspectives along folks.

I wonder if the Moderators could comment, possibly action this?

Bilando
28th July 2015, 10:33
Having just found this thread it is a great suggestion providing the heading or title is kept simple. Why ? I have spent many months fighting the NHS regarding its new AAC or "alternative & augmentative communication " service. Some regions of NHS England understand what the directors of NHS England want to achieve from the new contracts or service, which is to provide hardware and software that allows " text to speech" and full internet access. Furthermore the directors understand that AT (Assistive technology) is a part of the new AAC service so that someone who cannot use a touch screen can use switches, head mouse, eye gaze etc. The new service should also include training and support for service users. Sadly some regions are months or years behind in delivering the new, all inclusive service.

So your suggestion re a new section covering "Communication" or "Communicating despite MND" or a better title is an idea I fully support. Just don't over complicate it. Ian

FlyingSoupDragon
28th July 2015, 16:30
Thanks for the reply Ian, an interesting perspective. Ultimately it's up to the Site Admin/Webmaster to name any new section. What we are hopefully doing here is providing them with an idea of a preferred direction.

A significant role for such a corner of the forum would be keeping everyone up to speed with the services available and how best to access them. Sometimes simply knowing the most fruitful route to pass requests through can save weeks or months.

Graham
29th July 2015, 12:00
Hi Claire, Jay,

One of our members has provided feedback to our site and politely asked for a response to an excellent suggestion.

Please provide the MNDA's reply.

Kind regards

Graham

FlyingSoupDragon
29th July 2015, 13:19
Thanks for the support Graham, we'll see if they are reading the forum.

I have emailed the MNDA (nothing back yet - 'weeks ago) and a moderator. I did receive an reply from the latter. The chap was probably busy so referred me to HO...

With the NHS under enormous pressure, self help has to be a viable option, but the layman needs solid advice and assistance to be confident they are installing the right solution. This technology is very new and not yet off the developers desk and into stores.
With software like Optikey (https://github.com/JuliusSweetland/OptiKey/wiki) (free, courtesy of Julius Sweetland), a laptop and a relatively inexpensive eye-tracker, anyone who can make it to this forum will soon be able to set up a highly capable text-to-speech tool. With the same equipment using your computer using nothing but your eyes is now possible. Add an ability to operate a button on a mouse or other switch and the world remains at your fingertips. How good is that?

Therein lies the value of the MNDA forum, where innovators with heart meet end-users in need.

For info:
396
https://github.com/JuliusSweetland/OptiKey/wiki

BBC - Eye tracking in 2015? (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-31654177
 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-31654177http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-31654177)

How does Steven Hawking talk? (http://singularityhub.com/2010/05/03/how-does-stephen-hawking-talk-video/)

397
http://www.click2speak.net

Melanie_MND
31st July 2015, 14:47
Hi everyone,

Thank you for you comments - we've been having discussing options, and one suggestion is to separate the Equipment and Medication area into three separate areas; Equipment, Medication and Technology.

This would provide an area for discussion purely on technology, and more specialised threads can be created within this area e.g different devices.

I can see there is some debate whether to filter between different devices/platforms or keep one main discussion - this structure should provide the best balance, but ultimately it is your decision and as always we will do our best to accommodate.

Best wishes,

Melanie

FlyingSoupDragon
31st July 2015, 14:52
Thanks Melanie,

Great to see.

Terry
31st July 2015, 17:56
Sounds very logical Melanie.

Dude
31st July 2015, 19:04
Sounds good to me Mel, lets run with that. Dude.

FlyingSoupDragon
31st July 2015, 19:32
Sounds very logical Melanie.

It is indeed: plenty for the Mods to do parsing out threads into their new homes. :rolleyes:

Graham
1st August 2015, 13:09
Hi Melanie,

Thank you for your reply.

Equipment and Technology goes together better than Equipment and Medication. I would suggest that Medication should be relocated.

Many of the threads in Tips and Experiences are relocatable into other forums, so Tips and Experiences could be redefined as Medication and Multi-Disciplinary.

Kind regards

Graham

FlyingSoupDragon
1st August 2015, 19:12
- we've been having discussing options, and one suggestion is to separate the Equipment and Medication area into three separate areas; Equipment, Medication and Technology.

This would provide an area for discussion purely on technology, ....
Best wishes,

Melanie

I like this division, it provides the focus we talked of earlier.

Graham
1st August 2015, 22:31
Hi Norman,

Yes that is okay for me too.

We need easy reference for physio, SALT, diet, and these topics sit well with Medication. A lot of the threads in Tips and Experiences relate to these issues.

FlyingSoupDragon
3rd August 2015, 12:31
Ok Moderators/Forum Admin - Go For It!

Let's see the new structure.


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FlyingSoupDragon
10th August 2015, 12:36
Guys,

I've been chatting to Melanie via PM, the changes to forum structure are now in the pipeline.

Dude
10th August 2015, 13:14
Souper Norm.

FlyingSoupDragon
20th August 2015, 11:57
Guys,

I've been chatting to Melanie via PM, the changes to forum structure are now in the pipeline.

Zzzzzzz.

Dude
20th August 2015, 12:02
Souper Norm ZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

FlyingSoupDragon
21st August 2015, 09:31
LOL, Cheers Dude! This is no reflection on Melanie, she has been very responsive and helpful.

Activism/moaning has never been my thing, we all have better things to do with our time.

That said, it takes minutes not hours using the Admin Panel to make the changes that have been agreed.

I do hope the organisation does good work elsewhere.

FlyingSoupDragon
25th August 2015, 00:56
Well done Jay!

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