There are LOTS of products available to help disabled writers!
Writing can be a therapeutic and engaging way to express oneself. However, for those of us living with a disability or chronic illness, there may be challenges in the writing process. This article aims to provide information and advice to help you express yourself on the page. There are a variety of tools to support you depending on your needs and this article highlights some that may be beneficial.
Muscle weakness/ wrist and joint pain/ Tremors/ Arthritis
If physically holding a pen to write on paper causes pain or is an obstacle, consider the following instead of a regular ballpoint pen:
– Pen Again (3 for $6.80)
– Writing Bird ($23.95)
– SenseAid Weighted pens for Tremors (2 for $17.97)
– Sammons Preston Universal Holder Strap ($12.55)
– Sammons Preston Easy Glider Writer ($32.00)
Some writers prefer to write on paper before transferring work to the computer, and using these specialist pens can be beneficial if you struggle with hand pain or tremors. Similarly, using a Desktop magnifying lens or switching to different colored paper can be less straining on your eyesight.
A writing slope (Inner Active Writing Slope available on Amazon.com for $25 is my favorite) can be beneficial as it allows you to adjust your page to the most comfortable position. Equally, a Foot Pressure step encourages you to sit in the best position for your comfort. I would recommend the Mind Reader Ergonomic Foot Pressure Relief ($20.73).
Those who use a wheelchair, or require a specially adapted chair, may find a ‘Hold It’ Floor Standing Book/Tablet Holder helpful as this can be used in conjunction with a wheelchair, or adapted chair, rather than having to invest in a specialist chair and desk combination.
A move to technology can be helpful and any work will eventually need to be typed and formatted. The following Assistive Technology can be beneficial:
– Dragon Naturally Speaking– a speech to text program. (Once you learn the verbal commands for punctuation, this can be hugely beneficial as you speak into your computer instead of typing).
– TTS Reader– reads text aloud in a naturally sounding voice.
– Kurzweil 3000 (free trial available) – converts text into speech. Available in 18 different languages, magnifies text, and has a great note taking feature.
– SpeechEasy is worn like a hearing aid to change auditory feedback.
And, Fluency Coach has been shown to support people living with a stutter and Parkinson’s Disease.
The main goal is to maximize your comfort while working so you can continue to express yourself, and enjoy the craft of storytelling. Hopefully some of these tools will help you on your way to sharing your story.
- Writing for Disabilities Magazines By John K. Borchardt
- Self-Publishing Worked for Me When a Disability Forced Me to Work from Home – by Gloria Troyer
- Able, the newspaper for, by and about the disabled
- Paying Mental Disability / Health Markets By Laura Yeager
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Thanks for this article. I am also a disabled writer and appreciate the tools you suggested. I will have to check some of them out.