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Melita Magic

Suggestions for a friend with MS?

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I know people often say "this is for a friend" when it really is not - but this is for a friend, truly.

I don't know that she was ever into the internet too much - she was super busy with her husband, work, and two small children. Then her son was diagnosed with autism, and she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.

She is too dizzy to read but I have suggested, when I could, that she perhaps use the internet with one of those devices blind people use, which turns text into speech and speech into text.

If she ever does do that, then next I want to try to get her to join Second Life. (So far I think she thinks of it as a kids' game.)

Assuming that day occurs I want to have some suggestions ready for her. So does anyone have ideas of groups she could join, places to go, and things to use which would make Second Life fun and easy for someone with physical and vision impairments?

Thanks in advance for any help.

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I watched the documentary "Login 2 Life" a few months back, which was recommended here in the forums.

In it, the group Virtual Ability Inc (I think that was the name) featured prominently - a group dedicated to helping people with disabilities enjoy SL as a social medium. From what the documentary showed, they do a great many things to help those less fortunate get a good start in SL, and especially as a way of connecting with others.

I am sure they would be a wonderful way of being introduced into SL, especially on a positive note.

Virtual Ability Island is the name of their sim, if I remember correctly.

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For impaired vision, your friend may simply want to look into getting a BIG monitor.  I have a 27" lcd at home that is 1920x1080 and I can SL with no glasses or contacts, or just with my reading glasses.  Most HDTVs can make big monitors for a modern computer as well, and the price of 32" and even 37" TVs is getting quite affordable now.

For control, I'm not sure.  I think MS affects the fine motor control as well, which will making moving around in SL difficult.  This might be something to get a university student group to look into, if you have a nearby university with a medical department.

I'm truly sorry for your friend, and wish her the best.

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Mariah: The link to the video I watched (back in October I think) has unfortunately long since expired. It was hosted on a German TV website, and was only there for about a week.

However, a quick Google will find the documentary-maker's website. I am hesitant to post a direct link here, as at least one of the promotional videos trailers there has a glimpse of SL-related nudity (as does the documentary itself - but all in context of SL and the related subject matter - but I feel it prudent to at least forewarn of this).

Currently I am not sure if the full documentary is available to watch online, but it is definitely worth keeping an eye out for. You could try contacting the producers (I think they are contactable via the website) to see where / how you might access it.

The documentary itself was a hybrid of English and German languages, plus I think some Asian conversations as well. I am only a fluent English speaker, however I was able to follow the vast majority of the documentary and understand what was being talked about. SL was a large part of the content, though other online games and communities were featured as well. Still, it was definitely worth watching.

I hope you can track it down to watch - I am sure it will surface somewhere. :matte-motes-smile:

EDIT TO ADD: Try contacting the SL group Virtual Ability - they were featured in the documentary, so I would be almost certain they could point you in the right direction to find it.

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I second (and third and fourth) the suggestions to contact Virtual Ability. I've not been in SL long and though I don't need any assistive tech to be able to use SL, they've been a wonderfully supportive community.

There are tools available to help vision-impaired people use SL. Don't ask me how it works but they have a scripted "guide dog" that can help her get around. There are also speech-to-text tools that work with SL, if she has trouble typing.

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Hi Melita,

Thanks everyone for all the positive mentions of Virtual Ability.  The VAI board saw the thread and asked me to respond; we'd be happy to meet and include your friend, Melita, help get her integrated into SL, provide advice on technology and assistive devices to help her function and navigate successfully.  Please feel free to contact us when she comes, we'll be excited to meet her.  It's what we do!  We'll include her in our group functions, introduce her to our entertainment sim which is for our group only, and she'll make tons of new friends, who knows, she may be able to help someone else. 

Someone mentioned seeing Log Into Life, which was featured a couple months ago; that film featured our founder Gentle Heron, who also has MS; my favorite scene was RL Alice riding down the street in her wheelchair, with SL Gentle floating behind her, in a ballgown, dancing.........That scene really said it all, what one can do in SL.....

And, it's good to see you, Melita, long time no see.

 

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Yes! Great to see you Treasure. I've been thinking about you lately too. Glad to see you post.

If I can get her to join SL I will definitely point her toward VA then. Treasure could you send me some LM in world maybe? Or better yet maybe post SLurl or group join link here for other people who might be interested?

Does anyone know the name of this speech to text software, or the guide dog in SL? Also if anyone finds a link to the documentary maybe I can email that to her?

Thanks so much, everyone!! As you can tell I am concerned about her.

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Melita,

Virtual Ability is invitation only, our founder likes to meet folks, for one thing, and well, we have been griefed, for another, so VAI is not open join.  I totally trust you and would be happy to invite your friend when she arrives.  I'll go inworld right now and send you our info notecard, it has LM's, etc on it.  Dragon Naturally Speaking is a voice to text software.  You remember Elric Alatine from the old RA forums, he's an expert on that stuff,.  The guide dog Roderick mentioned is not Virtual Ability's.  It belongs to another group.  I'm not sure of it's status as far as being active, and really cannot speak to it because it's not ours.  Radegast is another software for visual issues, but you and she can find out more of what will work best for her, when she gets here based on her situation.  Going inworld now to drop you some stuff.  Oh, the SLurl is:

http://slurl.com/secondlife/Virtual%20Ability/127/124/23

Do drop in! 

 

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Thanks so much Treasure. And I totally understand about the invitation-only. I have a group like that also.

Got the note card and will peruse it next time I am logged in, thanks so much for all the info, and thanks for the replies thus far everyone. Please feel free to continue adding, since this topic doesn't come up often in SL and I am sure many can use the info.

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