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Re: Keyboard Recommendations for Parkinson's


From: Joe Chidzik
Date: Nov 13, 2013 1:47AM

> Hello,
> My HS Wrestling Coach, also an English Professor, was asking me to look into
> keyboards that may help him out. He's getting to the point where his movement is
> causing him to have to correct words frequently, and since he spends a lot of his
> time editing documents and giving feedback, it's causing him some grief.
> I'd appreciate any feedback that you folks have, this is an area of technology that
> I'm a complete novice with so I'm not sure what developments are out there that
> would assist him. My initial searches didn't really find any resources that spoke to
> this problem specifically. My thoughts are larger keys and keys that may be a little
> more grippy, but that's just a guess.
> Please let me know any options you'd recommend. I'd love to hear what people
> who have experience have to say about this.

Ideally, I would recommend your coach looks into getting an assessment, where specific recommendations can be made. However I'm not familiar with how you would go about this if not UK based; I'm sure there are organisation USworldwide based that could be of help though, and hopefully someone else can chip in here.

Just some thoughts from my experience below, which may be helpful:

If your coach is using Windows, then looking at some of the inbuilt keyboard accessibility options might be beneficial. Using filter keys, for example, you can adjust the duration of how long a key needs to be pressed down for it to register as a press. This can prevent accidental key presses. On Windows 78, just press Windows key + U to open the accessibility options wizard, and then select keyboard.

They might also benefit from a keyguardkeyboard combination; a keyguard is a device that site over the keyboard with holes above each key. This can allow someone to rest their hands on the keyboard without pressing keys, and can also help prevent accidental key presses by guiding their finger to the correct key. You can see what a keyguard looks like here: http://www.spectronicsinoz.com/product/ultra-compact-keyboard-and-keyguard

On the software side of things, making use of the autocorrectautocomplete in Word, andor using a third party spelling checkerword prediction package (Word prediction similar to the feature on most mobiles), can reduce the number of key presses required to type out documents, or help with editing. I just had a quick search and found the following article on free word prediction for Windows http://lifehacker.com/5780099/aitype-brings-smartphone+like-word-prediction-quick-word-translation-to-windows but I'm sure others are available.

Further, depending on where you are in the world, you might be able to try out some alternative products in an assessment. I work for a charity, AbilityNet, in the UK who can advise on where you can try these types of devices out in the UK, and I'm sure there are similar organisations in your country. You could try some assistive technology suppliers to see if they do any sale or return on specialist keyboards, to allow your coach to try one out for a short period, but would recommend looking through some of the free, software based solutions first.


Kind regards