• When speaking is a problem, writing can sometimes be the obvious solution. Re-usables are often more convenient such as dry-wipe boards or “Magic Slates”. These handy devices make it unnecessary to carry a pencil and pad. Small electronic models are also available. Look for memory organisers with simple functions that will write out a word, phrase or sentence on the screen. These instruments are relatively legible, portable and inexpensive.
  • “Chinagraph” pencils can be used to write on most kinds of plastic surface, then be wiped clean with a damp, soapy cloth. Pieces of thick acetate Perspex or plexiglass can be used.
  • The Speak It! App runs on the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, costs £1.19 to buy and will speak any text you enter or receive. The App requires iPhone operating system version 3 or later and is available in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish.
  • For users of Microsoft Office there is a voice synthesiser built in to the 2003 and 2007 versions of Excel. Access the Excel help menu by pressing F1 and type in the word Speech; to see how to activate this function in your version. Anything you type into an Excel cell can then be spoken for you. Put Excel with a Netbook running XP and you have all the functionality of a Lightwriter for a tenth of the price. Speech recognition is not available in Microsoft Office 2007, for speech recognition functions install a previous version of MS Office if you are running XP, if you are using Windows Vista you can run Windows Speech Recognition.
  • Large felt tip pens are more easily handled than the average ball‑point model. Large‑diameter ball‑point pens are available at office supply stores, pound shops and so on.
  • Pieces cut from an ordinary foam sponge or even some rubber bands wrapped around a pencil/pen can make it easier to grip. Many small pen/pencil grips are available at office warehouse stores.