I am working with somone in an office setting who was born with no arms and types, writes, drives etc with her amazing feet. She is using a standard keyboard and mouse on a lower desk (25.5") with a chair at the maximium height. Her primary concern now and mine is the extreme plantar flexion (downward angle ) she must hold her feet in when typing. We are looking for a stable keyboard tray or easel or wide copy holder that would support the keyboard and mouse at an approximate 45 degree angle on the desktop. I have found some possible solutions but am looking for any ideas to improve her posture when typing. Thank you.
What an amazing individual and interesting case to work on. What comes to my mind is to use a workrite pinnacle arm platform in a 15 degree tilt. Then have a carpenter (through the employer General Services/Maintenece dept or an outside contracter) see if they can mount a mounting panel underneath her desk for the track to be mounted on. It may have to be shaped like a door stop. That way you can have it a 30 degree angle. You combine the angle of the two and you have your 45 degrees with some flexability in the ROM of the pinncle arm.
She also may benefit from having the chair cylinder exchanged for a taller cylinder that would enable her to sit higher. She may need a production stool to achieve a nice height.
I have used a Universal Switch mount with a large mounting plate for keyboards at a variety of sites. The clamp can attach just about anywhere, and you can lock it at any angle you want. It’s worth a try to see if this provides the flexibility and postitioning you want. You can find the universal switch mount at infogrip.com or ablenetinc.com. Be sure and get the large mounting plate. Depending on the size of the keyboard, you may need to modify the plate so that it provides a stable platform.
Just a word of caution. Many of my patients who have been feet typists have experienced overuse and pain syndromes over the years. One patient overused so much with typing that she could not walk for weeks. Since they use their feet for everything, it is important to prioritize and there are so many more altenatives to typing-voice recognition, mouth and chin controllers with onscreen keyboards, etc. Positioning, taking frequent breaks, stretching, etc. will be very important for this employee as it is for all. Good luck.
Kathleen Shanfield, OTR/L, MS, ATP
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