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How do you do....it? Thread, Dealing with staff epilepsy in Technical; One of our teachers recently let me know that he has problems using his class computer for long periods due ...
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    AngryTechnician's Avatar
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    Dealing with staff epilepsy

    One of our teachers recently let me know that he has problems using his class computer for long periods due to epilepsy. From my brief chat with him the problem is a combination of screen brightness and general 'busyness' of the detail on the screen. We've already turned the monitor brightness down as far as possible, but it could do with being dimmer still.

    Unfortunately, neither of us have much experience dealing with this, so I'm after some advice. Does anyone have recommendations for hardware or software solutions that can reduce the seizure risk of a computer user who suffers from epilepsy?

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    Domino's Avatar
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    Is he still using a CRT?

    Photosensitive epilepsy is much less likely to be triggered by an LCD, and obviously the higher refresh rate the better. Although it doesn't sound like that's what he's struggling with - are their fluorescent tubes in that classroom? Might be those, but a lack of focus due to looking at the screen that's causing the issues?

    Although an anti-glare screen may help? Kensington Shield TFT Anti-Glare Screen Protector Filter Display screen filter 17"

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    AngryTechnician (13th June 2011)

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    Can't help specifically, but your SEN dept should have loads of reference material.

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    AngryTechnician (13th June 2011)

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    There seems to be some bits of useful info on this site: Epilepsy in the workplace | Epilepsy Action

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    AngryTechnician (13th June 2011)

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    teejay's Avatar
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    If the person has photosensitive epilepsy then a risk assessment should be carried out by some suitably qualified from HSE or your LA to avoid any issues. Only a very small percentage of epileptics are photosensitive and lighting, anti-glare screens, screen colours etc won't make any difference as it's the screen flicker which is the problem.

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    AngryTechnician (13th June 2011)

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    AngryTechnician's Avatar
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    Thanks for the responses so far. He is already using a LCD, though it is an older one and due to be replaced in the summer. The classroom does have fluorescent tubes, and I will ask him whether he seems to have more problems with the lights on or off. That said, lights off would make the screen appear brighter which he currently says is one of his chief concerns.

    As an independent school we only get limited help from the LA, especially when its staff-related rather than pupil, but I will chat to the Bursar about getting someone from occupational health. Part of the reason very little has been done so far is that although manglement are aware he has epilepsy, there's been no written diagnosis submitted to the school and I don't think they are aware yet that he has specific issues with computer use. Both of those will change very soon as he was already planning to notify the school formally, and I've encouraged him to do so ASAP.

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    I've not tried this, but you can get sheets of "Neutral Density" filter similar to stage lighting colours. Used in film & TV to reduce light levels without changing the colour. Looks a bit brown, and is available in a range of "stops". Might work, but equally it may be too reflective.

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    teejay's Avatar
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    If it's the brightness he's complaining about then that's not epilepsy related. I would suggest changing the white window background in programs to a light grey or light beige, that tends to help with glare related issues.

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    If the brightness of the screen is his issue and he's already using an LCD then between the Brightness and Contrast settings you should be able to make the screen so dark it almost appears it's turned off; how dark does he need it to go?.........

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    He could also have irlen which can cause a problem when reading with a white background. As teejay says change the colour scheme to an off white such as light blue/green/pink and see if it helps at all. Also fluorescent tubes wont help and removing/changing them could go some way to ease the strain.

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