Technology Solutions for Dexterity Challenges
Do you have trouble typing? How about difficulty using a standard mouse?
Dexterity-related MS symptoms may be addressed with the accessible technologies listed below.
Free Adjustments to your Computer
Most operating systems are already equipped with several features that can make typing easier or sometimes not necessary at all. These features are included in your operating system at no additional cost.
- Microsoft offers tutorials that provide step by step instructions for making your mouse and keyboard easier to use:
- Windows 7: Mouse, Keyboard
- Windows Vista: Mouse, Keyboard
- Windows XP: Mouse, Keyboard
- Mac OS X v10.5 Leopard provides built-in and assistive technologies that can help you navigate your computer even if you have difficulties using the keyboard, mouse, and trackpad.
Alternative Input Devices
Alternative input devices allow individuals to control their computers through means other than a standard keyboard or mouse.
- Large key/large print keyboards are perfect for those who have a hard time seeing the existing commands on their keyboards. With a bigger and bolder typeface, and sometimes larger keys, the keys are easier to see and use.
- BigKeys LX has 1-inch-square keys on a standard sized keyboard. BigKeys LX is for adults who want a full-featured keyboard -- but who need large keys in order to locate and operate the keys. BigKeys LX includes all special characters found on a standard keyboard, with the exception of the numeric keypad, Scroll Lock, and Pause/Break.
- ZoomText Large-Print Keyboard is designed for anyone who struggles to see the lettering on their keyboard, the new ZoomText keyboard makes typing faster and easier than ever before. Each key and button label is easy to see, even in low light, thanks to its 36-point text and choice of high-contrast color schemes: "Black on Yellow" or "White on Black".
- On Screen Keyboards allow you to type using a mouse or alternative input device by selecting keys as they appear on your computer screen.
- ScreenDoors 2000 acts just like the real keyboard typing directly into any application. Instead of pushing keys on a real keyboard, simply point and click on a picture of a keyboard on your computer screen. A list of predicted words actually guesses what you are typing to help speed entry.
- One-handed keyboards allow for typing with only one hand—left or right. One-handed keyboards have special shapes and letter layouts to simplify typing.
- USB Mini Keyboard is a small size alternative keyboard that plugs directly into a computer - no special interface is required. This keyboard allows you to control both keyboard and mouse functions. This product is designed with the most frequently used letters placed toward the center of the keyboard. This may help to expedite text entry and minimize fatigue.
- Trackballs and joysticks are substitute pointing devices that require less motion on the user's part and better positioning with respect to the keyboard.
- The BIGtrack has a 3 inch trackball which makes it the largest trackball available. The large ball requires less fine motor control than a standard trackball and it is ruggedly built. It has a left and a right mouse click button located behind the trackball to avoid unwanted mouse clicks.
- Ergonomic mice are designed to maximize productivity while reducing operator fatigue and discomfort.
- Touch pads are touch-sensitive devices that resemble the displays often found on notebook computers. By moving a finger or other object along a touch pad, the user can move the pointer a corresponding distance on the display screen. Many users find touch pads to be less of a strain on the wrist, hand, and arm because there is less movement and resistance than that needed with a traditional mouse.
- Alternate input devices operated by head or eye movements give full mouse control to people who cannot use conventional pointing devices such as a mouse or standard keyboard.
- TrackerPro is a computer input device that takes the place of a mouse for people with little or no hand movement. TrackerPro tracks a small dot that you can place on your forehead, glasses or the rim of a hat. It is dedicated assistive technology designed exclusively for people with limited use of their hands.
- MyTobii is a portable eye-controlled communication device. The device can be mounted for use at a desk, on a wheelchair, in bed or anywhere suitable for the user. The eye tracker doesn't need the user to “do” or “wear” anything. Simply sit in front of it, follow a dot during a 10-second calibration and you are on your way! With flexible mounting, easy customization and different hardware options, every situation is catered to.
Voice Recognition Software
Voice recognition software allows people to give commands and enter data using their voice rather than a mouse or keyboard.
- NaturallySpeaking allows users to create documents, reports and emails three times faster than most people type — with up to 99% accuracy – simply by using their voice. The software also allows you to surf the Web by voice or dictate and edit in Microsoft Word and Excel, Corel WordPerfect, and most other Windows-based applications. Voice commands enable you to quickly insert blocks of texts or images — such as your name, title, and signature.
- IBM ViaVoice allows users to dictate, edit, correct, and format text in the powerful IBM ViaVoice speech-enabled word processor, SpeakPad. Text dictated into SpeakPad can be exported to other text-based Windows applications through use of a single voice command, or through the Windows Copy and Paste features. Users can also dictate directly into Microsoft Word 2002, Word 2000, and Word 97 to easily create letters, reports, and other documents.
- Windows Speech Recognition in Windows Vista empowers users to interact with their computers by voice and is a free feature built into the operating system. It was designed for people who want to significantly limit their use of the mouse and keyboard while maintaining or increasing their overall productivity. You can dictate documents and emails in mainstream applications, use voice commands to start and switch between applications, control the operating system, and even fill out forms on the Web.