Making Typing Easier
Individuals with cerebral palsy may have the ability to type with only one hand, or with one or two fingers. Others may require a pointer and other adaptive hardware. These circumstances can make holding down two or more keys at one time difficult.
Built-In Help for Windows Users
StickyKeys, an accessibility feature in Windows, enables the user to activate a key to remain pressed without physically keeping a finger on that key. When a shortcut requires a key combination such as CTRL+S, for example, StickyKeys allows one key to be pressed at a time instead of pressing two keys simultaneously.
Another feature, FilterKeys, allows the user to adjust the time a key is held down before it will repeat. This feature is helpful since some keyboards are more sensitive than others. These accessibility features can be activated though the Accessibility Options in the Control Panel in older versions Windows, or the Ease of Access Center in Windows 7.
Word Prediction Software
A separate application, word prediction software, reduces the number of keystrokes an individual has to make. A word prediction program displays a list of words based on the letters that have already been typed. The typist saves keystrokes by selecting the correct word rather than typing the remaining letters.
If a typist wants to type the word ‘equipment,’ for example, he or she normally has to type nine characters. Using word prediction software, a typist may type ‘e-q-u-i-p-m-e-n-t,’ checking the word prediction list between each keystroke to see if the software has predicted the intended word. If the correct word appears after ‘e-q-u-i’ is typed, then the typist chooses that word and has only typed a total of five keystrokes (four letters and one selection key).
This program contains a fixed dictionary with a stored vocabulary that never changes. Words can also be added by the user, and custom dictionaries can be created. A word prediction program improves spelling and gives the user more confidence in typing. Most importantly, this software can greatly improve typing speed and reduce fatigue.