Switches are a common solution for users with mobility disabilities who need to use computers or other electronic devices, but have difficulty with the physical interface based on its' design. To allow easier manipulation than a standard keyboard or joystick, a specially-designed switch may be composed of a single button, merely a few buttons, a sensory plate, or another of the adaptive switches available; it may also be touch-free, relying instead on motion sensors, brain activation, or a sip and puff mechanism. Aside from simplifying input devices, switches can also be used as communication tool.
Points to Ponder
Questions to consider when choosing a switch
Choosing the right switch requires consideration of the following:
- Will you be using your finger, hand, arm, head or breath to cotnrol the switch?
- Are there any visual, hearing, cognitive or developmental difficulties that may impact the ability to use the switch?
- What is its’ power source? Or is a separate power source required?
- Is it compatible with your computer's operating system?
- Is it compatible with the software you'll be using? If not, are there switch interface available that will ensure it is?
- Does it come with a mount?
- Consider the environment you will be using it (i.e., home, school, work etc.). Does it need to be lightweight and easy to pack/carry? Does it need to be wireless?
- Consider the set up requirements. Do you have support for the placement or adjustment of the switch if required?
Switches and their Manufacturers/Suppliers
SNOW does not endorse any of the following software/hardware. These links are provided for information purposes only.
Switch accessible software
Switch Accessible Toy Manufacturers
Free/Open Source Switch Accessible Software
Additional useful links