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Many types of keyboards are available today to accommodate someone with limited mobility, decreased sensation in the hands, and visual or cognitive disabilities.
Enlarged keyboards were designed for use by persons with severe motor disabilities, such as cerebral palsy. There have been product changes over the years. The Intellikeys keyboard had a strong presence in schools. This keyboard has a smooth programmable membrane surface. It uses interchangeable overlays which serve the purpose of simplifying the number of keys or size of the area that must be touched, or placing the keys in alphabetical order for young children unfamiliar with the traditional qwerty layout. Intellikeys could also be used for mouse movement or totally customized with words to pair with special software. The production of Intellikeys ceased. However, there is new interest in providing the driver source code to users to make the keyboard functional again. If interested, keep tabs here.
Other larger keyboards like Big Keys provide large keys in either standard layout, ABC order or colored for improved visibility. Maltron in the UK makes a large keyboard complete with a metal keyguard to withstand heavy use.
Some traditional keyboards are available with large, bold letter identification (36 point) or high contrast colors such as black letters on yellow backgrounds. KEYS-U-SEE has a keyboard 18.5" X 7.5" with large print letters, black letters on yellow, standard grey or white letters on black. The VisionBoard2 is similar to KEYS-U-SEE. Stickers or overlays can be purchased also to place on keyboard keys and improve the visibility of the keys for those with low vision. Braille labels can also be obtained.
Smaller, more compact keyboards (about 20% smaller) can be obtained. Many of these are wireless like this one from Logitech, and use a wireless reciever that you plug into your computer's USB port and requiring no special software. The Super-Mii keyboard is 8.5" X 5.91" and has a touchpad. You can find a large selection of smaller keyboards here.
The Magic Wand Keyboard from In Touch Systems is a miniature keyboard and mouse that allows people with little or no arm movement to access any computer. Both the keyboard and built-in mouse use zero-force electronic keys that work with the touch of a wand, either a mouth stick or a hand-held wand. No strength is required, only contact.
Maltron Single-Hand Keyboards enable those who have use of only one hand to access computers. The ergonomic design and special letter layout reduces hand and finger movement and users are able to use single-hand keyboards more quickly and efficiently than conventional keyboards. Left- and right- hand models are available. An ergonomic two-handed keyboard is also available.
Maltron also makes a curved keyboard designed for use with a mouth or head stick. Not only does this have a unique curved design but the most frequently used letters are placed centrally to minimize the amount of movement necessary when typing.
Keyguards are used to help an individual target an area on the keyboard or now on the screen of a tablet. See Logan Tech for Beyond Adaptive keyguards or Lasered Pics Assistive Technologies for keyboards, laptops or iPads or Fentek Industries for traditional sized keyboards, Big Keys and more.
Note: Infinitec does not endorse or recommend the above-mentioned products and has no liability for the results of their use. Infinitec has received no consideration of any type for featuring this product on this Web site. The information offered herein is a summary; it is not comprehensive and should be carefully evaluated by consumers with the assistance of qualified professionals. The intention of Infinitec is to offer consumers a brief overview of various assistive technology devices and their applications.