Tag: apps for people with disabilities

Tremor and smart phones

In this blog, I would like to discuss briefly three main issues.typing on a smartphone

  1. Define tremor, types of tremor, and diseases that may cause it.
  2. What is the importance of smartphones in the lives of people with tremor?
  3. How software helps people overcome shaky hands.

The smart phone has become an important tool for people. They help us talk to our families and have fun. The following are some ways smart phones can improve the health and lives of people with disabilities.

Tremor is an uncontrolled movement of the body. Some people call it “shaky hands”. Here are two types.

  1. Resting Tremor (RT) is part of Parkinson’s Disease (PD). In 2004, there were about 5 million people with PD in the world. There will be 40 million in 2020. There tends to be less Resting Tremor when the body is moving. Resting Tremor is worse when the body is at rest.
  2. Essential tremor (ET) is another uncontrolled movement of the hands. ET is the most common tremor. The World Health Organization says 4% of people are affected by ET. Essential Tremor is worse when the body is moving, and better when the body is at rest.

Other causes of tremor:

  • brain tumors;
  • side effects of some medicines;
  • caffeine; and
  • stress

Smart phones have become a tool to transmit and store data from people with tremor. They are also used to learn about tremor and to see how good a treatment is.

Below are some free apps with brief explanations:

  1. Lift Pulse App is available for Android and IOS. It can identify your tremor and measure its degree. You can set your baseline readings (on a normal day) and compare them with results from other days. You can find this app at:
    1. Lift Pulse App download link / Android version
    2. Lift Pulse App download link / IOS Version.
  2. Parkinson’s Central App is available for Android and IOS. It is a great free app for people with Parkinson’s Disease. It answers general questions to improve the lives of people with shaky hands. It gives information on health insurance and local resources near you. You can find this app at:
    1. Parkinson’s Central App download link / Android Version
    2. Parkinson’s Central App download link / IOS Version.
  3. Essential Tremor App is available for Android and IOS. It is a great free app for people with Essential Tremor. It gives you general information about symptoms and treatments. It lets you know about ET events near you. You can find this app at:
    1. Essential Tremor App download link / Android Version
    2. Essential Tremor App download link / IOS version.

Touch screens on smart phones could be a challenge for people with tremor.

Below are some helpful solutions.

Change the sensitivity of the touchscreen. Find Accessibility Options in Settings. Now you can adjust such options as:

  • Assistive Touch
  • Touch Accommodations
  • Switch Control
  • Keyboard Size
  • Shake to Undo

Review the options and play around with them to find what is best for your needs.

There are other free apps that would be useful as well. Also, many users with tremor prefer to use voice to text to overcome the challenges of tremor.

I encourage you to enjoy your smart phone, and not to let tremor hold you back.


Health, Choice, and Responsibility: Self Advocates Take Control of Their Lives

Guest Blogger, Pam GreenThis week I am pleased to introduce our guest blogger, Pam Green, Shared Living Placement Coordinator and Self Advocacy Advisor for Horace Mann Educational Associates (H.M.E.A).

During my college experience, I first majored in Communication Disorders and then switched to Sports Management. Curiously enough, the first 15 years out of college I managed a Health Club then owned my own fitness studio. In 1994, I started working for H.M.E.A., a wonderful company that supports individuals with developmental disabilities.

It is here where I first learned about self-advocacy and the importance of opportunity for all.

Self Advocates choose to learn

Leaders Educate Advocacy Delegate Empower Respect Support (L.E.A.D.E.R.S.) GroupTwo years ago, with the support of H.M.E.A. I was offered the role of co-advisor for a local chapter of Mass Advocates Standing Strong, (M.A.S.S.). It soon became apparent that this group was eager to learn, explore, and take control of their lives.

While researching topics and trainings for this group, I came across the curriculum for My Health, My Choice and My Responsibility, developed by the Westchester Institute for Human Development in collaboration with the Self-Advocacy Association of New York State. Topics include developing a health plan, self-advocating at the doctor’s office, physical activity, nutrition, safety and cleanliness in the home, hygiene, and emotional health. The program is designed to be used directly by users with special needs to learn about healthy living.

Bingo! Finally, 33 years since college, I found a way to make BOTH of my majors relevant in this one training!

App offers self directed learning

What’s really wonderful about this training is Able Link’s cognitively accessible self-directed learning App for iPads. With monies received from a grant, we were able to purchase two iPads for the self-advocates to use during our sessions. We also incorporated the opportunity for each self-advocate to co-train with an advisor, adding to their learning experience.

Each session has been a wonderful collaboration of personal experience and sharing among the self-advocates. They listen to each other. The teach each other. They want to learn more.

If we truly want to support individuals with developmental disabilities, we must continue to offer individuals the opportunity to learn.

“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other”
John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Adult Education: A Valuable Resource for People with Disabilities

When I think of the old saying by George Bernard Shaw, “Youth is wasted on the young”, I think I would have to add, “Education is also wasted on the young”. Having returned to college at the age of 53, I truly believe that education as an adult was far more exciting, fulfilling and definitely appreciated than when I was young.

And I don’t think I am alone in feeling this way.

Adult education is valued by all

Adult education, whether it be a bridge class or a masters level course, offers an opportunity to expand our thoughts and explore new subjects. We have all seen the brochures that come in the mail and are often left wondering if it is time to take up piano lessons or join a yoga class. The intent may be social, or you may simply want to improve your life in some way.

As an advisor for a self advocacy group, I have learned that adults with disabilities are interested in further education for the same reasons. For some it is social, yet for many, trainings are a way to improve their lives in a number of areas. From leadership training offered in a Self Advocacy Leadership Series to community employment offered through Explore, Prepare, Act, adults with disabilities are increasing their independence across the state.

Healthier choices

This month, we will learn more about a training that covers a topic near and dear to us all; choosing a healthier lifestyle. This doesn’t just include eating right and exercise but just as important, we will hear more about taking charge of your health in general. With the use of curriculum from an IPAD app, “My Health, My Choice, My Responsibility”, a self advocacy group from HMEA completed a comprehensive training that could be duplicated anywhere in the state.

Their advisor, Pam Green, will share her experience with the training, while a self advocate, Nora McShane, will discuss her experience as a trainer.

Join us this month to learn more about this unique training and how to take responsibility for your own heath.