Oliver Highway worked within Market Operation at National Grid until taking early retirement in February of this year having had a successful career there for nearly 18 years. Three years ago he was diagnosed with a grade 4 brain tumour; following surgery and radiotherapy it was a year and a half before he had recovered enough to slowly return back to work with the support of his employer. As a consequence of the tumour, Oliver has some neuro diverse conditions, mainly around remembering what items/things/names are called and putting ‘pen to paper’. To start regular speech therapy improved his language a lot, but now Oliver was back at work he wanted to further improve his ability to transfer his thoughts into a format to share with others.
Following on from an Access to Work assessment, Hands Free Computing provided Oliver with Dragon NaturallySpeaking ProAccess speech recognition software, TextHelp Read&Write Gold (literacy aid), Inspiration (mind mapping software) a voice recorder and training on how to use the equipment.
Oliver found typing a real struggle but has overcome this by using Dragon NaturallySpeaking ProAccess, speech recognition software. Oliver can navigate around his computer and dictate by voice.
He says, “The continuation and free flowing of Dragon NaturallySpeaking helps me build sentences easier. Without Dragon, when writing, I stop if I can’t construct a sentence. The stop/start process can really affect my train of thought and consequently it can take two to three hours to type an email.”
Oliver’s working memory has been impaired so having to learn how to use new software has sometimes been challenging. His training was delivered by our trainer, Paula Pritchard.
He says, “She understood straight away what I was struggling with. She could understand my condition and recognise how best to support it. She adjusted the training to cater for my needs. Paula adapted the training each time we met and identified which functions within the software would help me the most. ProAccess allows me to dictate in Microsoft Outlook, Word etc. and I can just edit or delete what I don’t want by voice.”
In addition to training Oliver had 10 strategy coaching sessions with Sarah Nash. The sessions helped Oliver to create strategies to cope with his impaired working memory.
Oliver says, “Sarah would help me develop techniques to remember how to use the functions in my software, particularly the Inspiration mind mapping software, so I could use it more effectively”
Oliver still has the brain tumour and has regular chemotherapy which leads to often feeling fatigued. However, despite leaving paid employment, Oliver has started voluntary work for the Brain Tumour Charity:
He says “Going forward I am sure that the commitment from Paula and the overall support from Hands Free Computing and my previous employer will really help me enjoy and fully participate in this new challenge”
- Date 18th May 2015
- Tags Case Studies