Reading and writing are difficult for patients with AT obviously because of neuromotor consequences on the control of the arms and eyes movements. Using a computer can partly solve this problem.
But the reality is not as simple as typing on a keyboard requires fine motor skills (even if it is less than for writing) and generally many round trips of sight between the keyboard and the screen. This causes inconvenience to patients' eyes and can quickly discourage them.
Fortunately, advances in computer technology and increased power and capabilities of computers make available a number of very useful functions and software. But one must always keep in mind that a computer is a tool: it has to adapt to the user, and not the opposite.
There are now very correct equipment, laptop or office ones and meeting the criteria developed in this chapter, for about 300-400€/$. It is important to begin initiating the child with AT early: On trouve aujourd'hui des matériels très corrects, portables ou de bureaux et répondant aux critères développés dans ce chapitre, pour environ 400 EUR. Il est important de commencer l'initiation très tôt chez l'enfant AT pour :
- Familiarize him with the tool and develop some automation such as the instinctive knowledge of the position of letters on the keyboard
- Take advantage of the time when the disease is still not too present to master the hardware and softwares
- Be prepared to use it as a learning tool in his life at home or at school as soon as his physical abilities affect his ability to learn
With these objectives and with an occupationnal therapist, the computer must be part of a customed school project.