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Case Study: Ben

Supplementary Access Switch user, keyguard, on-screen keyboard and text prediction

A guard fitted to a standard keyboardBen is a 15 year old in Key Stage 3 in a mainstream school. He has cerebral palsy but it is relatively mild and he is producing good academic results. When it comes to using a computer he finds himself able to use the mouse but not able to press the left mouse button without sporadically moving the cursor on the screen. He also struggles to use the keyboard and isn't able to isolate any of the keys without inadvertently pressing its neighbours. Ben has had an assessment and although different mice were tried it was found that the most efficient solution was to use a standard mouse with an external Click Switch acting as a left mouse button. This was plugged into the computer using a Don Johnston Interface Box which was then set to treat the the switch as a left mouse click. Ben felt comfortable in holding the Click Switch in his left hand and he was able to squeeze it when he required a left click. We found that Ben could type at a reasonable pace using his right hand with a standard keyboard and a keyguard (pictured). If he had a lot of typing to complete then he would alternate between the keyboard and making use of the mouse and Penfriend XP's On Screen Keyboard to avoid getting too tired. Penfriend also provides prediction to reduce the number of keystrokes required to produce a sentence and consequently speed up his typing. This can be applied whether Ben is using the keyboard or the mouse to produce his written work.

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