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How to use an iPhone with failing hands

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    How to use an iPhone with failing hands

    Hello all. My husband has gotten to the point where it is as good as impossible for him to use his phone. Previously he would spend hours on it, learning languages, reading Twitter, checking sports results, keeping in touch with friends and family far and wide. I feel so sad for him that yet another joy has been taken from him. He hasn’t even mentioned it but I’d like to find a way for him to be able to use it.

    Does anyone have any advice on the accessibility options that are built in? Or switches or eye gaze? I asked the OT and she replied with 2 links which were useless.

    He does use Siri but spends more time arguing with it than getting anywhere! It seems effective for making calls and not much else.

    We don’t have the funds to purchase any majorly high tech equipment ourselves.

    Thanks

    #2
    Hi Bexxy, I’m sorry about your husband’s loss of using his phone. In my area The North West Adaptive Technologies work with patients to get them whatever technological and other gadget help that they would be able to use. Their service is free and some items they loan out. They loaned me, amongst other things, a headset with infrared gadget attached and software on my iPhone to enable hands free use. They are all lovely people. Is there nothing like this in your area? Failing that you could ring the MNDA helpline. Love Lynne x
    Last edited by Lynne K; 12 June 2020, 08:56.
    ALS diagnosed November 2017, limb onset. For the 4 yrs previously I was losing my ballance.
    I'm staying positive and taking each day as it comes.

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      #3
      Hi Bexxy,
      I had exactly the same problem. Here’s some ideas you can try:
      1) activate voice control on the iPhone. You can either do this through the accessibility settings or you can simply ask Siri “hey Siri activate voice control“. This will put the phone into a mode that your husband can command it to do things without having to say Hey Siri each time. You can also choose different overlays for anything tappable on the screen, I use numbers but your husband can choose whatever is best for him. It will take some practice and background noise can be a problem but after a while it becomes very easy to use. There are plenty of online tutorials to help with using this feature further.
      2) I had a problem with not being able to hold the phone so I switched to using an iPad which is on a small stand in front of me. This makes everything easier to read at a distance and you can also link your phone to it to take calls and send messages.
      3) I now also use a mouth control mouse connected to my iPad. I use this in conjunction with voice control and speech input. Again after practice everything becomes quite easy to use. The mouse is very expensive but it was supplied through the NHS electronic assistive technologies team. You may want to enquire if you have this facility local to you as they are excellent.
      I hope this helps as your husband’s frustrations are identical to the ones I had.
      Good luck,
      James

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        #4
        Hi Bexxy. There is absolutely no need for you to buy any equipment ". In addition to what has already been said, your local Speech Therapy team (part of NHS) will assess, advise ant provide equipment on loan. The MNDA might also fund or provide on loan what your husband needs. Hopefully you will soon be getting the help you need"

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          #5
          Thank you Lynne, James and Miranda. I will see if the SLT can offer anything when we next speak. She is currently organising voice banking equipment. In the mean time, voice control has been a massive success already! Thank you so much for the recommendation. It’s an absolute revelation. A million times better than Siri. Thank you all.

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            #6
            I wish I had these issues, I just got the 2nd gen fire stick that has voice control! My voice is so bad now I hardly understand what I'm saying myself ��x

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              #7
              Yes I realise for a lot of people voice control is even less use than a hand control. For now my husband is able to use it but is voice is failing too and it doesn’t understand him all of the time. Also it is very tiring for him to do a lot of talking. So the solution isn’t perfect but it will do for now, as is so often the case. The number of solutions we have found and are no longer useful just in a matter of a few months is phenomenal. It’s hard to find your feet and adjust when the situation is constantly shifting.

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                #8
                You hit the nail on the head Bexxy - trying to keep one step ahead of progression is often easier said than done! And when we do get equipment or adapted aids ahead of time, it can be a wee bit demoralising to see it 'waiting' for us... (I used to hide stuff under blankets/throws like a 4yo )

                The timing of future proofing is definitely a fine line to tread.

                Hope the SLT sorts him out with appropriate hardware and/or software. Maybe he can watch some videos of accessibilty options available on the iPhone (and iPad) over the next few days to get an idea of what's available.

                Take care.

                Love Ellie.
                ​Diagnosed 03/2007. Sporadic Definite ALS/MND Spinal (hand) Onset.
                Eye gaze user - No working limbs - No speech - Feeding tube - Overnight NIV.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Yeah it feels like it’s something new every day Ellie. I just feel like there’s no support as well. We haven’t even heard from social work yet, been waiting months. We are also in a first floor maisonette and council are not even doing the bear minimum in adaptations. No ramps, no stair lift (thank goodness mnda sorted this), no bathroom adaptations- had to get a shower put in ourselves but it’s already impossible for him to step in to. People who haven’t had this experience have no clue. Everyone says to me, don’t you think it’s time to get some help? I don’t know where they think this help is meant to come from because there’s none on offer! Anyway, moan over. Tomorrow is a new day.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Bexxy, why not give the MND Helpline a call and see what help your husband should be getting? 0808 802 6262 Mon - Fri 9am - 5pm and 7pm - 10.30pm

                    Here are a few Info Sheets which you may find useful:

                    https://www.mndassociation.org/app/u...ies-grants.pdf

                    https://www.mndassociation.org/app/u...ocial-care.pdf

                    https://www.mndassociation.org/app/u...healthcare.pdf

                    (And you're well entitled to a moan!!)

                    Love Ellie.
                    ​Diagnosed 03/2007. Sporadic Definite ALS/MND Spinal (hand) Onset.
                    Eye gaze user - No working limbs - No speech - Feeding tube - Overnight NIV.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Thank you Ellie. I will do that.

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                        #12
                        My partner barely even uses his phone anymore....so I guess he has got into a habit of not using it? I'll help him reply to a text or make video calls, so the phone is more so 'in case of emergency'.

                        Now that the football is back, he's certainly not interested in the phone anyways hahaha boys boys boys.

                        Tess x

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