An occupational therapist at the MS Employment Support Service is the lucky winner of our reader giveaway. Juliet Fifita won a premium version of the Dragon Naturally Speaking speech recognition software. Fifita told F2L part of her role at the MS Studdy Centre is to help people with MS maintain employment and “part of what we do is recommend technology that assists them to do their work.”
She said people have difficulty accessing their computer through the keyboard and mouse because of problems with hand function co-ordination and muscle weakness. There can be visual problems too, so seeing the screen can be difficult. “It can be an issue with hand function and vision or both.” Fatigue is another as while they can accesses a keyboard and a mouse they can tire quickly. “Where there is neurological muscular fatigue surviving an eight-hour working day can be exhausting and some clients use the Dragon in combination so it does have lots of good applications.”
She said winning a copy of the Dragon voice-activated software will enable her to take it out to trial, explain how it works and see if it is going to be a suitable technology for clients to use and meet their needs. “We already have clients already using the software but did not have a copy to take out and demonstrate.”
Fifita said one client has both significant hand function problems and very poor vision and is only managing his work because of the Dragon software. “Without it he would not be able to access his computer and maintain employment.” He also works with a screen reading and magnification program.
Fifita has been with MS Australia for nine years and joined the Employment Support Service when it was set up in NSW 12 months ago.