Speech recognition systems, also
called voice recognition programs, allow people to give commands and
enter data using their voices rather than a mouse or keyboard. Voice
recognition systems use a microphone attached to the computer which
can be used to create text documents such as letters or e-mail messages,
browse the Internet and navigate among applications and menus by voice.
Speech recognition systems are also used by people with language and
learning disabilities who have difficulty typing or reading text.
On-screen keyboard programs provide an image of a
standard or modified keyboard on the computer screen. The user selects
the keys with a mouse, touch screen, trackball, joystick, switch or
electronic pointing device. On-screen keyboards often have a scanning
option. When a desired key is high-lighted, an individual with a mobility
impairment is able to select it by using a switch positioned near a
body part that is under his or her voluntary control.
filters include typing aids such as word prediction utilities
and add-on spelling checkers. These products reduce the required number
of keystrokes. Keyboard filters enable users to quickly access the letters
they need and to avoid inadvertently selecting keys they don't want.
Keyboard filters—especially word prediction and spelling checkers—are
also used by people with language and learning impairments.
Touch screens are devices placed on the computer monitor
(or built into it) that allow direct selection or activation of the
computer by touching the screen. These devices can benefit some individuals
with mobility impairments because they present a more accessible target.
It is often easier for individuals to select an option directly rather
than through a mouse movement or keyboard, because that movement might
require greater fine motor skills than simply touching the screen to
make a selection. Other people with mobility impairments might make
their selections with assistive technology such as mouth sticks. Touch
screens are also used by people with language and learning impairments
who find it an easier, more direct and intuitive process than making
a selection using a mouse or keyboard.
Alternative input devices allow individuals to control
their computers through means other than a standard keyboard or pointing
device. Examples include:
- Alternative keyboards—those with larger- or smaller-than-standard
keys or keyboards, alternative key configurations and keyboards for
use with one hand.
- Electronic pointing devices—used to control the cursor on the
screen using ultrasound, an infrared beam, eye movements, nerve signals
or brain waves.
- Sip-and-puff systems—activated by the user's breath.
- Wands and sticks—used to strike keys on the keyboard (usually
worn on the head, held in the mouth or strapped to the chin).
- Joysticks—manipulated by hand, feet, chin, etc. and used to
control the cursor on screen.
- Trackballs—movable balls on top of a base that can be used to
move the cursor on screen.