College life can be challenging for any student, but those with hemiparesis face unique obstacles when it comes to mobility and academic success. Hemiparesis is a condition that affects the strength and movement on one side of the body due to damage to the brain or nervous system. This can make simple tasks such as walking, writing, or typing difficult. However, with the help of assistive technology, college students with hemiparesis can overcome these challenges and succeed academically.
Here are some of the latest assistive technologies and tools that can help college students with hemiparesis:
Mobility Aids: Mobility aids such as canes, crutches, and walkers can help students with hemiparesis to move around campus safely. For those who have difficulty using traditional mobility aids, there are also specialized devices such as quad canes and forearm crutches that provide additional support.
Adaptive Writing Tools: Writing can be a challenge for students with hemiparesis, but there are several adaptive writing tools available to assist them. These tools include weighted pens or pencils to provide more control, pencil grips to improve grip and reduce pressure, and even electronic writing aids such as digital pens.
Speech-to-Text Software: For students who struggle with typing due to hemiparesis, speech-to-text software can be an invaluable tool. With this software, students can speak their thoughts and have them converted into written text, making it easier to take notes, write papers, and communicate with professors and classmates. Additionally, text-to-speech software can read documents and textbooks aloud, making it easier for students with hemiparesis to keep up with their coursework.
Use a Notetaker: When I went through college with hemiparesis after a tbi, I was fortunate to work with Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) and have a note taker for my classes( It was just another student who was in the same program I was in and OVR paid the student some. OVR can help connect students with disabilities to resources such as note-takers, assistive technology, and other accommodations. I’ll provide a list at the end of the article for other such organizations as different states have different groups, along with social media assistance.
Assistive technology can also be used to improve access to technology in the classroom. For example, adjustable desks and chairs can be used to ensure that students with hemiparesis are able to comfortably use computers and other equipment.
Adaptive Keyboards: Traditional keyboards can be difficult to use for students with hemiparesis, but there are several adaptive keyboards available that can be customized to fit their needs. Specialized keyboards and mouse devices can be used to accommodate for limited hand mobility. These keyboards feature larger keys, customizable layouts, and even built-in shortcuts to make typing easier.
Assistive Apps: There are several apps available that can help students with hemiparesis to stay organized, manage their time, and study more effectively. Some popular apps include Evernote for note-taking, Trello for task management, and Quizlet for studying.
Finally, assistive technology can also be used to improve communication and socialization for students with hemiparesis. Video conferencing software and social media platforms can be used to connect with classmates and participate in group projects remotely.
In addition to these assistive technologies, it’s also important for college students with hemiparesis to take advantage of other resources available to them such as disability services offices, tutoring centers, and support groups. These resources can provide additional support and guidance to help students overcome challenges and succeed in college.
College can be a challenging time for students with hemiparesis, but with the help of assistive technology and other resources, they can overcome mobility challenges and succeed academically. By utilizing these tools and resources, students can focus on their studies and achieve their goals.
Here is the list promised of Resources:
Different states in the United States may have different organizations or agencies that provide support services for individuals with disabilities in college.
Here are a few options you can consider:
Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR): This is a federal-state program that provides a range of services to individuals with disabilities, including educational support. OVR can help connect students with disabilities to resources such as note-takers, assistive technology, and other accommodations.
Disability Services Office at Colleges/Universities: Most colleges and universities have a dedicated office or department that provides support services for students with disabilities. These offices can help arrange for note-takers, assistive technology, and other accommodations based on individual needs. Contact the disability services office at the specific college or university you are interested in attending to learn about the support they offer.
Disability Rights Organizations: There may be local or statewide disability rights organizations that can provide guidance and resources for individuals with disabilities seeking support in education. These organizations can help connect you with appropriate agencies or services in your area.
Independent Living Centers: Independent Living Centers (ILCs) are non-profit organizations that provide various services to individuals with disabilities, including education-related support. They may have resources or referrals for note-taking services or other accommodations.
State-specific Agencies or Organizations: Some states have agencies or organizations specifically dedicated to providing support services for individuals with disabilities. Examples include the Department of Rehabilitation or the Commission for the Blind. These agencies may be able to provide information or assistance in finding a note-taker.
When advising younger people with disabilities, it’s important to encourage them to reach out to these organizations and agencies to explore the available support options. Each individual’s needs may vary, so it’s best to seek personalized guidance from these resources to find the most appropriate support for their specific situation.
Facebook and Twitter Resources:
There are also online groups and communities on platforms like Facebook and Twitter that focus on providing support and resources for individuals with disabilities, including those pursuing education. These groups can be valuable sources of information, advice, and connections to other individuals who have similar experiences. Here are a few examples:
Disability Student Support Groups: Many colleges and universities have online communities or groups specifically for students with disabilities. These groups can provide a platform for students to connect, share experiences, and offer support to one another.
Disability Advocacy Organizations: Numerous disability advocacy organizations have a presence on social media platforms, where they share information, resources, and updates related to education and disability rights. Following these organizations can provide access to valuable information and connections within the disability community.
Assistive Technology Communities: There are online communities dedicated to assistive technology users. These groups often discuss various tools and technologies that can support individuals with disabilities in their educational pursuits. They can be a great resource for learning about speech recognition software, note-taking apps, and other assistive technologies.
Online Forums and Discussion Boards: There are several online forums and discussion boards where individuals with disabilities share information, experiences, and resources. Websites like AbleThrive, AbilityNet, and Disability-Related Support Groups on Reddit are some examples where you can find discussions related to education and disability support.
When engaging with online communities, it’s important to ensure that the groups or individuals you interact with are reputable and professional. Look for groups that have a focus on education and disability rights, with active and engaged members who provide helpful and respectful information. Always be cautious when sharing personal information and verify the credibility of any advice or resources shared within these communities.
Author’s BioRead more from the Author Leon Edward at his website and blog TBILiving.com or book co written with Dr Anum Khan, “Concussion, Traumatic Brain Injury, Mild TBI Ultimate Rehabilitation Guide, Click Here
About the book’s co-authors Leon Edward and Dr. Anum Khan
For Leon Edward, the past 35 years since the tbi left one lingering desire: the need to give something back, a way to provide something meaningful for the families and loved ones of patients who now, or in the future, will face the same painful disruption of their lives and the same long journey he had to undertake such a long time ago.“I want to be clear in the introduction that I am not a health professional as my co author Dr. Khan , but rather an engineer that has had a tbi” – Leon Edward
This book was written by one deeply caring brother for his brothers and sisters suffering the same or even a worse fate after surviving traumatic brain injuries – and with deep admiration and appreciation for their families and caretakers who will help to guide them.
For Leon it has become an ingrained part of his existence to help others enjoy life after suffering serious injuries, even if it only means that he can help others who are disabled or living alone with words of hope, encouragement of inspiration.
Dr. Anum Khan enjoys crafting health content that genuinely helps the readers in a practical and insightful way. She believes that a healthy life is everyone’s true right, and it must be taught in an easy and effective manner using the most authentic information and relatable voice.
Their book comes with the same intent: To help sufferers, families and professionals learn more about TBI with a holistic approach, and to equip them with all the knowledge they will need on this journey.
Click Here for a paperback or ebook or to read free with kindle unlimited