Many new types of keyboards are available today
to accommodate someone with limited mobility, decreased tactile
sensory in the hands, and visual or cognitive disabilities.
Expanded Keyboards for Apple II+, IIGS, Macintosh
were designed for use by persons with severe motor disabilities,
such as cerebral palsy. The expanded waterproof keyboards are 1-inch
thick, weigh six-eight pounds, and have 1.5-inch square keys that
give tactile and auditory feedback when pressed. No other connections,
plug-in cards, special software, or power supplies are required
and key guards are available ($850.00-$875.00). Also available:
expanded keyboards for IBM PC and Compatibles ($750.00).
See the EKEG Electronics Co. Ltd. Web site: www.ekegelectronics.com
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. Visit http://www.magicwandkeyboard.com
to learn more. 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 ($695). An ergonomic two-handed keyboard is also available.
See Applied Learning Corp.: http://www.blvd.com/appliedlearning.
Large print keyboards for users with low
vision have easy touch keystrokes with membrane technology. The
keyboards are IBM/Windows compatible and include Windows keys and
a one-year warranty ($129.95) by Key Connection, Inc. Visit: www.customkeys.com.
HandsOFF! is an on-screen keyboard available
through Zygo Industries, Inc. designed for people with motoric disabilities.
It is an emulator for Microsoft Windows that works with switches.
It works with several on-screen keyboards, including the full range
of mouse controls. The keyboards can use text or graphics and key
selection can perform actions, macro functions, and speech output,
both synthesized and digitally recorded. A full range of switch
parameters is supported ($425.00). Visit: www.zygo-usa.com
Since music is such an important outlet
to children with special needs, the Super Switch Ensemble
was made for that purpose. Super Switch Ensemble is a music program
for Macintosh computers that allows students to use standard adaptive
computer equipment, such as switches or alternative keyboards, as
musical instruments. Children can create their own activities or
select from the 100 plus songs provided on the CD-ROM. No musical
experience is required ($175). Contact: Switch In Time at: www.switchintime.com.