Disability aids, equipment and technology
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Touchscreen computer for our son


  • bi63robi63ro Member Posts: 5
    Our son, aged 28 years, has a severe learning disability. We would like to get him a touchscreen computer. he does not need a really robust one that Inclusive Technology do as he is quite gentle with things. We have the following questions:

    1. Is touchscreen technology likely to develop further? If so would we be better buying him a touchscreen monitor and a computer seperatley? However, the all-in-one machines are cheaper so would buy one of those if you think it's worth it.
    2. How can you tell which is the best touchscreen? Some we tried in PC World seemed to respond too slowly, so, if you were drawing your finger was further ahead than the line appearing on the screen!
    3. Do you have to have a really high spec computer to get the best touchscreen performance? What spec would you recommend?

    Look forward to hearing from you.
  • Chris2Chris2 Member Posts: 35 Listener
    Hi Bi63ro
    Firstly, can I apologise for the late response.

    Touch screen technology is always improving, more so now than ever it seems with the development of tablet devices.

    With any standalone touch screen you will be able to install drivers and a utility programme on the PC running it that should enable you to calibrate the screen.
    With an integrated device there will also be a facility to calibrate the touch screen.
    The calibration should sort out any issues such as the one you mentioned in PC World.

    I think that it's fair to say that you get what you pay for as with most screen technologies. There are budget options available but you may find that they are not as sensitive or accurate as a better quality screen. I think you are doing the right thing by allowing your son to "try before you buy" - I have had students that have very little fine motor control who have used their whole fist to activate the screen on a device that others who have greater control and accuracy have had problems with.
    You will find that with any touch screen, that without realising it you are making slight adjustments to compensate for in-accuracy. I find this with my Ipad or Iphone for instance, it doesn't always respond so I make a slight adjustment to my finger positioning on the screen and it is fine.

    You are correct in suggesting that the PC itself could have a bearing on the performance of the touch screen, however this should only really be the same scenario as if you clicked with your mouse and had to wait for a response. You certainly don't need a really high spec to make use of a good touch screen. (There are many scenarios that could affect the performance such as a slow running device but generally you will be fine with a new PC/tablet/laptop)

    Could I ask what software your son would be running and what he hopes to achieve with the computer? I may then be able to give you more specific advice.

    Once again, apologies for the late response to your question

  • bi63robi63ro Member Posts: 5

    Thanks for your reply. I've been having another think and I now feel the Inclusive Slate may be better for David as it is portable, but not so small that it will easily get lost! As for what software he will use - I'm not really sure! I thought My Zone from Inc. Tech. might be a good start. Then we will just have to buy software from places like Inc. Tech. who will allow you to return it if it's not suitable. He loves photos, videos and music - I think the Inc. Slate would be suitable for those. He also likes to Skype Grandma and Granda. Do you think it would be possible to put his visual schedules on it?

  • Chris2Chris2 Member Posts: 35 Listener
    Hi bi63ro

    I have used the Inclusive Slate with many students and it is a brilliant device. However, The touchscreen isn't in the same league as the IPad's. It tends to freeze every now and again and the screen rotation causes problems at times. Coupled with My Zone software, the Inclusive Slate will do everything you mentioned and with a little ingenuity you could put together visual schedules with it. The Inclusive Slate is basically a Windows 7 PC and works exactly like your PC - because of this you also have to wrestle with all the same issues as a regular PC, such as slowing speeds and viruses etc. A positive is that any software you find for Windows, you can install (I have an external CD drive I plug in if I can't download it from the Internet). Without wishing to make things too complicated for you, I would take a serious look at the IPad, they are within the same sort of price bracket as the Slate and you can pick up an IPad 1 now pretty cheap if you hunt around. There are many Apps available for the things you describe plus hundreds of easily downloadable Apps that your son may enjoy and be able to access. Take a look at the Info Packs section of this website for an idea of specialist Apps available and for a better Idea of how the IPad can be used by those with specialist requirements. To sum up, for what you are describing I would personally go with an IPad but the Slate is also a good piece of Kit. I hope this helps!
  • bi63robi63ro Member Posts: 5
    Hi Chris,

    Have been thinking about this. It is David's support workers who want him to have a tablet size computer. However, my daughter, husband and myself think a tablet will be too small a screen for him. Also, he gets "obsessed" with things he can carry around. So I have gone back to my original idea to get him a full size touchscreen. If he gets on well with this then maybe we could get him a tablet sometime in the future when hopefully they will be a bit cheaper!

    It is just so difficult buying something like this. It is a pity there is nowhere we could borrow one from so David could have a really good trial before we decided to buy!

    Thanks for your help.
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