Support and independence: help yourself with My Computer My Way

Here at AbilityNet our mission is to help to create a world in which digital services are equally accessible to all. An important part of achieving this mission is My Computer My Way, our online resource which provides easy to follow step by step instructions on how to turn on the inbuilt accessibility features on all mainstream computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones. The information is updated regularly by our experts when new features are released so that the support you need is always available. 

We developed My Computer My Way to break down digital barriers, opening up an accessible world of communication, human connection, and the potential to achieve your online goals.  

Sometimes extra support is needed, in which case AbilityNet has a friendly network of ITCanHelp volunteers who provide IT support in the home to older people and disabled people of any age. In these in-person sessions volunteers help to build the client’s confidence in not only using technology but accessing the My Computer My Way resource independently, so that they have a guide to more adaptations in the future. 

Read below to see what one of our volunteers has to say about My Computer My Way…

Meet Lizi, our AbilityNet Administration Manager and ITCanHelp VolunteerPhoto of Lizi

As our Administration Manager at AbilityNet Lizi has an in-depth understanding of our mission for accessibility and the type of support we provide. 

After being a volunteer for two years, Lizi describes the support she provides as varying between setting up printers, providing training for new software programmes or simply supporting a client in becoming a confident computer user. 

With regards to her own confidence with IT and the support she receives as a volunteer, Lizi says:
“the great things about the AbilityNet volunteers is everyone has a really vast knowledge between us that we share with each other”.

In addition to supporting others, AbilityNet volunteers support each other in their growing knowledge and passion for technology. My Computer My Way is a valued part of that process.

“I used My Computer My Way when I visited a lady with Parkinson’s. As a result of the condition she had developed a tremor and was struggling with typing on her computer.”

Did you know 1 in 37 people will be diagnosed with Parkinson’s in their lifetime? A few simple changes to a device can help people with Parkinson’s to stay in control of their technology and achieve their goals. 

My Computer My Way provides a whole section on changing keyboard settings to suit your needs, including how to turn on Filter Keys which stops the repeat keystrokes from occurring when a key is held down for a long time. Lizi activated this feature, which “meant that the client was able to type and the extra letters that were appearing on screen because of the tremor were no longer happening.”

On Thursday 11 April 2019 as part of World Parkinson’s Day this year we held a free webinar providing more insights into the ways technology can be adjusted for users with Parkinson’s.  You can visit the AbilityNet website to access the webinar recording and slide deck for more information

When is support at home needed?

Sometimes, if a client does not feel confident or able to use My Computer My Way, one of our ITCanHelp Volunteers can provide support in person, to work through the problem together. 

Lizi’s client “had been pointed towards My Computer My Way by our Advice and Information Officer over the phone” but “hadn’t understood all of the technology terms that were used on the site”. 

In this case, providing support at home was an invaluable part of making the online world accessible for the client. Lizi tells us: 

“After I had talked her through the steps and she had written her own extra notes she felt a lot more confident and able to use My Computer My Way to look for adaptations in the future.”

Empathy is just as important as expertise in an ITCanHelp volunteer.

We asked Lizi what she believes the biggest benefit of My Computer My Way to be…

“I think that the biggest benefit of My Computer My Way is that it is a reliable and accurate source of information for making changes to features already on your computer. It breaks down the steps and is available for all different operating systems, so it is a much more reliable source then just googling something on the internet. It also gives the user control and independence over adapting their device to make their life easier, with no extra cost”

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