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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

What a Cat Taught a Parky

Cat's Twitter page
Cat is my blind friend that I met through Twitter.  She uses a screen reader software designed for the blind to "read" what is on her screen. Twitter is her main connection to the outside and she "talks" to people around the world. She is curious, smart, sympathetic, and fun, plus she has a great sense of humor.  She willingly answers questions like "How do blind people ...?" as long as they don't get obscene.  And she likes to help people as well.  When she saw a post about how my fingers stutter when I type, she came up with some great suggestions for Parkinson's Disease people who have trouble typing. 

The first one is called Filter Keys and it is a keyboard setting that basically ignores bouncing (trembling) fingers. The second one is called Sticky Keys and it allows us to hit one key at a time. The third one is a dictation setting so your computer will type what you speak.  I never knew these settings existed, but apparently they teach blind people about them, and she told me!  

Here is how to find them if you use Windows XP or 7.

Filter keys in XP.  Control Panel, Accessibility Options, Accessibility Options again, mark the Use Filter Keys box, then click Settings, you have 2 options: Ignore repeated keystrokes or Ignore quick keystrokes and slow down the repeat rate.  The first one is better if your fingers tend to type the same letter more than once, you can set the length of time for extra strokes to be ignored and there is a test area to try it out before OK-ing the settings.  The second one would be better if your fingers tend to hit multiple keys at once and it also has various settings and a test area.  
Sticky keys is useful if you have trouble holding more than 1 key down at a time, like Shift and a letter (or Ctrl-Alt-Delete).  It lets you hit them in sequence one at a time.
You can also find settings to adjust the size of the type on screen and configure your mouse for left hand and single click instead of double click.

Windows 7, Control Panel, Ease of Access, Change how your keyboard works, Turn on Filter keys (or Sticky keys) and the settings follow.  Mouse adjustments in there, too.  And 7 has speech recognition, so you can set it up to type what you speak (built in dictation). 

Flipped up rug
Cat also suggested that you look around your home and think what you would change if you were expecting a blind visitor. What's laying around that she might trip over, stumble into or bump her head on.  All the things that can hurt her can also hurt a wobbly Parkie and falls can be devastating to all of us.
Cord to trip on

Everyone should have a Cat for a friend, I'm glad I do.  Find her on Twitter, she is @song_bird1987.
Other stories about Cat:
How to explain Parkinson's to a Cat
How do I describe a Fox to a Cat

Thank you for reading this story, I hope you enjoyed it. This is just one of a hundred stories in my book, Parkinson's Humor - Funny Stories about My Life with Parkinson's Disease. Please consider purchasing a copy from or your favorite online book seller. Thank you and have a Happy Parkie Day!


  1. we all need friends like Cat! indeed! :) great article! i have been "losing" throw rugs as they do seem to cause undesired trips. Looking for "handles" for the shower, already invested in a good slip-resistant shower mat. It is the little things in life - eh? :)

  2. Very haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaandy tips.


  3. Very useful tools to improve access to comm. The Michael J Fox Foundation

  4. That's really so sweet of her. I would be more than happy to follow her on twitter. ;)

  5. That is very helpful she is very smart thanku Bev for info Sherri

  6. I have a problem with right clicking with an index finger with a mind of it's own.

  7. Thank you for reminding me these are in my computer. I've been dealing with stuck down fingers for a while and changing the setup is going to help a lot. In the past I always thought it was annoying when windows would want to turn these options on for me, now they are essential. Bill