Motor neurone disease (MND) often begins with weakness of the muscles of the hands, feet or voice. Recreation can become extremely important to people with limited activity. Where possible, activities enjoyed before the disease should be kept up or modified so that they can still be enjoyed.
Rest and recreation are also important for carers of people with MND. Carers should seek support from other people and make sure they take regular breaks from their caring role.
Reading with MND
To make it easier for the person with MND to enjoy reading:
- Use an adjustable table or bookstand and a non-slip mat to stop books from slipping.
- Use a stationer’s rubber thimble or a short wooden rod to turn pages more easily, or use a stylus for e-book readers and tablets.
- Have steel paper clips attached to each page and use a small magnet attached to the end of a short stick to make page turning even easier.
- Use an electric page-turner. These can be operated by a variety of switches, but bear in mind that they are bulky and tend to be temperamental. Not all models take newspapers.
- E-book readers, also called e-book devices, are portable electronic devices that are designed primarily for the purpose of reading digital books and periodicals.
- Some portable multimedia players and smartphones include a text viewer and can be used as an e-book reader.
Talking books for people with MND
Audio books are available from local libraries or from Vision Australia. Vision Australia library members can borrow a wide range of titles in a variety of formats, including audiotapes and CDs. These are free for loan with postal delivery across Australia. A catalogue is available.
Painting for people with MND
People who cannot paint with their hands may be able to paint by holding the brush or pen in their mouth. Ask your dentist about a special mouthpiece. Watercolour pens and pencils are cleaner to use than conventional brushes and paints.
Writing for people with MND
To make writing easier:
- Build the pen or pencil up with elastic bands, pimple rubber or foam, special pen grips or high-density foam tubing.
- Use a pad of paper rather than loose sheets.
- Use a non-slip mat to prevent the paper slipping.
- Use a felt-tip pen.
- Try using markers as they are easy to hold and make bold strokes.
Computers for people with MND
Computers need minimal finger pressure and a rest can be used to support the arms. They can also be used as communication aids by people whose speech is affected. Computer games and social media platforms can be a way to connect to other people.
Get advice before buying a computer and choose one that can be adapted to meet your changing needs. You can also seek advice from the Independent Living Centre.
Sewing and craftwork for people with MND
To help with sewing and crafts:
- Use long dressmaking pins with large heads.
- Anchor your pincushion with a suction cup.
- Use needle threaders for both hand and machine needles.
- Try electric or lightweight scissors.
- Clamp embroidery frames to a table.
- Seek help or advice from an occupational therapist or the Independent Living Centre.
Cards and board games for people with MND
You can still enjoy cards and board games if you:
- Use a cardholder.
- Use an automatic card shuffler.
- Use large cards.
- Play games for which large size pieces are available (chess, draughts, scrabble, dominoes).
- Play computer chess and draughts – you can even play alone.
Sport for people with MND
Many people with MND participated in sport before the onset of their illness. Although further active participation may be limited, you can keep up your interest and commitment by maintaining links with local clubs and enjoying companionship and support.
Parks for people with MND
Many parks have wheelchair access. Some parks even provide all-terrain wheelchairs and accessible and modified cabins for visitors who require them. Contact Parks Victoria for further information.
Where to get help
- Your doctor
- Motor Neurone Disease Association of Victoria Tel. 1800 806 632
- Independent Living Centres Tel. (03) 9362 6111 or 1300 885 886
- Parks Victoria Tel. 131 963
Things to remember
- Recreation can become extremely important to people with limited activity.
- Activities should be continued after onset of the illness, where possible, and modified if necessary.
- Even if participation in sport or leisure activities is limited, it is good to remain involved in clubs and organisations to keep up interest and companionship.
This page has been produced in consultation with and approved by:
Motor Neurone Disease Association of Victoria
Page content currently being reviewed.
Content on this website is provided for education and information purposes only. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your doctor or other registered health professional. Content has been prepared for Victorian residents and wider Australian audiences, and was accurate at the time of publication. Readers should note that, over time, currency and completeness of the information may change. All users are urged to always seek advice from a registered health care professional for diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.