Diary of a frustrated head switch user

A man in a chair with head-switches either side of his head.
David Fernandes

September 2015

I use 2 head switches to control my iPad. But it doesn’t do what I want. One switch helps me move between programmes. But it doesn’t do what I want. Another switch helps me select a programme. Annoying! Annoying!

I really want to go on the web. I really want to send emails. I really want to listen to music. I really want to watch videos on YouTube. Recently I had an assessment in London. I had to go to the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability. I was loaned a different communication device. I need to practice. Watch this space!

October 2015

What do I want to use YouTube for? I like to replay episodes of comedy shows. My all time favourite show is Mr Bean. He makes me laugh. I like to listen to music. My all time favourite music is from Doris Day. She makes me smile. I am hoping my new device will make it easier for me to find what I want.

I am now using the Tellus communicator. I like the joke page! Best joke is “what is a crocodiles favourite game? Snap.” I now have 1 head switch and 1 cheek switch. I’m finding it hard. What my switches do has also been changed. I’m finding it hard. I feel I’m making progress.

March 2016

I am now using another device because of problems. It is called a Grid Pad from Smartbox. It ticks the box because I can send emails but I need help with the words. It doesn’t tick the box because it takes me a long time. Tiring! But I want to do it as I like sending emails.

May 2016

I am still using the Grid Pad. I love receiving emails and I write my own but it takes some time to use the word bank on my keyboard. I have to scan through all the choices. I am practicing finding a Website but it takes a long time. I was able to look up about a local museum before we go. Some things are still frustrating but other things are better.

July 2016

I am still using the Grid Pad. It’s great to send emails and I love receiving them but sometimes I select the wrong thing and loose it. Annoying! Today I logged on the Internet and looked up cinema times of the new BFG film. Brilliant. I want the Grid Pad to speak the Internet options but it doesn’t at the moment. Annoying I need help. So I can now do things I couldn’t do at the start but the longer I use it I find different problems.

August 2016

I am now a slightly less frustrated head switch user but it is ongoing!

A man in a chair with head-switches, a tablet screen in front of him.
David using the Grid Pad device

David attends Sense College in Cambridge and wrote this blog through a series of emails to the Sense Technology team over the past year. As he highlighted, his equipment no longer met his needs and attempts to use head switches with his iPad proved frustrating. Following referral to an NHS service, they provided a long-term loan of the new hardware and software that he now uses.

Author: David Fernandes


9 thoughts on “Diary of a frustrated head switch user”

  1. David, what a pleasure to finally see your blog up and running! Well done as I know how hard you have worked on this.

  2. Hi David, wow!what an achievement,it’s so good to be reading your blog! I look forward to reading more and hope that the frustrations continue to reduce. See you at College soon and very well done with all your hard work and determination on this.

  3. David, it’s great to see your hard work being published. We know how frustrating your search for the right technology has been, and it’s amazing to see your progress and how quick you have become at operating your device.

  4. Well done David! Keep up the good work, great to see such an improvement and all your hard work paying off! 🙂

  5. Hi David,

    It’s dad here, checking out your blog. Fantastic stuff and great that you can share your successes and also your frustrations. Hopefully some of the boffins at Microsoft and Smartbox will read your blog and be motivated to improve email and Internet access for auditory switch users like you. In the meantime keep up the good work you are doing on your blog. I look forward to reading more of your stuff.



  6. You’re inspiring David, keep going!

    I hope you find a system that works and makes it easy for you to do whatever you need on the internet.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts!!

  7. David,

    First of all, thank you for sharing your frustrations.

    If I may, I would like to suggest you try the Smyle Mouse for clicking with your smile. No dwell clicking or head switching required. It should run on your GridPad.

    You can sign up for a free 14 day trial at https://smylemouse.com. Please let me know how it works.


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