Does anyone have any experience/suggestions for an ergonomic computer work station set up for a one handed typist?
Matias makes two keyboards designed for one handed typing. The Matias half-keyboard is literally the left side of the keyboard. The user holds down the space bar to toggle to use letters that are normally on the right side. My experience with this keyboard has been very good so far. This small kb allows the mouse to be closer reducing reach to the mouse. They also make the 508 keyboard which is a full size keyboard that can function like the half-keyboard. This is designed to allow one-handed use as well as two-handed use so multiple people can use the same keyboard. If you have more questions about my experience with them you can email me at [email protected]
Chris Sorrells OTR, CHT, CEAS
As an Occupational Therapist doing ergonomics for well employees, as well as working with patients being rehabilitated from stroke, amputations, etc. I have found many different one handed typing methods that work. The most basic (and cheapest) is to teach a one handed typing method on a traditional keyboard. There are programs available that one can download as well as manuals that will teach the one handed method of typing, which basically reassigns the keys to individual fingers. Check out Accessibility features such as Sticky Keys in the Accessibility icon in Windows to allow sequential keystroking vs. simultaneous-very helpful for one handed typing.
Other suggestions are to use a smaller keyboard so that the hand does not have to stretch as far to reach keys. Using the mouse or a trackball with the Windows onscreen keyboard (Start>All Programs>Accessories> Accessibility>Onscreen Keyboard) or downloadable onscreen keyboards with features like word prediction for rate enhancement, can also be easier for some folks who may want a break from the traditional keyboard. I have tried some of the one handed keyboards with my patients and have found that they are not any faster than learning a one handed method, and it does increase the cognitive load.
A very successful one handed method is the BAT keyboard by Infogrip. (Infogrip.com). This is a “chorded” keyboard, that was designed to be used by one handed typists. It does require learning a different method of typing, however it is not difficult. Apparently many architects and drafting specialties use it, as it frees up the other hand to use the mouse while drawing, etc.
For my serious one handed employees that need to do a lot of text input quickly, this is the one I try the most. It is also great for those with visual impairments as the hand does not have to leave the BAT keyboard while typing.
Finally, there is voice recognition, which is becoming probably the most common alternative to using the keyboard as it is affordable and has increased accuracy and speed over all other methods once the user has mastered using it. The actual skill of dictating hangs up many people, so it is always good to have an alternative or backup to this method.
As with any repetitive activity it is especially important to take frequent breaks and to rest/stretch the typing hand. If this is the person’s only usable hand, it is especially important to protect and conserve, support and minimize injury to that hand that will be “overused” and stressed if the person is not careful. Seen that a lot!
Hope this helps.
Kathleen Shanfield, OTR/L, MS
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