Multiple Sclerosis and computers

Multiple Sclerosis is a lifelong condition which affects the central nervous system and the spinal cord. 

Symptoms can include fatigue, vision problems and sometimes people with the condition can have cognitive issues too. Famous people with the condition include Jack Osborne and Jim Sweeney (UK comedian.)

How many people have the condition in the UK?

According to the MS Trust there are over 100,000 people in the UK with Multiple Sclerosis.

How can using a computer benefit someone with MS?

Based on calls to our helpline here are three of the most common questions asked by people with the condition or their carers.

I’m having difficulties using the keyboard. What can I do?

If you have the condition and it causes tremors you might have lots of unwanted extra characters and there are many ways you can adapt your keyboard to make it easier for you to use.

Use our easy to follow instructions to turn on Filter Keys on so that even if you find it really hard to take your hand away from the keyboard you won't end up with lots of unwanted letters.

You may also want to look at one of the many adapted keyboards which are available?

If you decide that you want to try and mimise your use of the keyboard, and if your voice is good you could look at using Voice Recognition. It's built into all current Mac and Windows computers and is also found on ANdroid, iOS and Wondows phones and tablets. It needs is a little bit of patience to get used to but can be a very effective way of working without using the keyboard.

My eyesight isn't as good as it was. How can I make it easier for me to see the screen?

If you struggle to see the screen you can make the text easier to see, either by increasing the text size or changing the colours used on screenIf you have issues with not being able to see the different colours on your computer you can customise them to your own particular needs.                                           

I'm fairly confident about changing settings on my computer. How do I customise my mobile device?

Technology is certainly a lot more mobile these days and all phones and tablets have accessibility options built in. Use My Computer My Way to identify your system and work out how to set up your mobile device to suit your needs.

Need more help?

There are plenty of other options that may be relevant to you. If you need more help just call our Helpline on 0800 269 545.

Case Study

Chung emailed us because his sister has MS and she likes to keep in touch with her friends and family using social networking sites. We suggested how she could tweak her mobile device to maske it easier for her to sdtay in touch with her friends wherever she is. We even arranged for a volunteer to go out and support her.

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 talking 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.