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Delaware Assistive Technology Initiative

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Vol. 10, No. 3 Summer/Fall 2002

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Assistive Devices for My Memory

by Anne Dunlap

I am a survivor of a severe brain injury. Now I have problems with my short-term memory and writing. But, I am still able to use a computer. I use a Timex Data-Link watch regularly. I was introduced to this system by Anju Vaidya, a cognitive therapist, at duPont Hospital for Children.

I purchased it at an office supply store, but the easiest way to find it today may be at a jeweler or on the Web. Mine cost less than $100. I have used it about two years-my model (150S) has been discontinued. Currently available models seem to be "Ironman" styles, or the more expensive "pager" watches. Casio offers a similar watch called the "PC-Unite."

The alarm works by sending a beeping signal while running the printed message across the face of the watch. I would recommend this to anyone with a memory problem, or otherwise! It's a good and convenient way to get reminders-it's strapped on your arm, so you don't have to worry about misplacing it.

Timex calendar software comes with the watch. My older watch is also compatible with Microsoft Outlook 97, using a "export Wizard" we downloaded from a Microsoft website, and I am about to attempt to use it with Outlook 2000. You update the watch by holding the face of the watch up to the monitor screen. A flashing signal comes across the computer screen and transfers the information to the watch. You can have everyday reminders put in the watch (like times for meds), as well as appointment reminders (like doctor's appointments). You can set the alarm to go off early, if you want. The watch also stores phone numbers.

I use this system because it's on the computer in my room, which I use for e-mail and school work, and I am also able to print out a daily sheet for my planner which is identical to the times/appointments that I have transferred to my watch.

This alarm/watch system is good for me because I'm able to be independent during the day with all kinds of things because of these reminders. During the day I use a digital voice recorder, which I keep in my purse, for things I want to type in my calendar or memory log later. I use the RCA Model RP5007, which offers me several advantages. It has 9 "file folders," and I use folders 1-7 for the days of the week. For example, folder 1 is for "voice reminders for Sunday," and I have put a key on the back of the recorder for quick reference. This recorder is also thin, so it fits easily into a pocket or a small purse. Its keys are easy to use with either hand, which is important for people with hemiplegia. And, the recorder has a "lock" button which prevents it from turning on accidentally.

If you have any questions, contact my father, Jim Dunlap, at home at (302) 239-6096.

This article first appeared in Volume 1, Issue 1 of What's Happening, the Brain Injury Association of Delaware's newsletter, and is reprinted with permission from the author and the Brain Injury Association of DE.

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