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Re: Need alternate input devise info

From: Bruce Bailey <bbailey@clark.net>
Date: Thu, 11 Nov 1999 12:54:26 -0500
Message-ID: <382B02CD.BF11F366@clark.net>
To: "Neff, Robert" <Robert.Neff@usmint.treas.gov>
CC: "'w3c-wai-ig@w3.org'" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>, "'Paskoski, Joseph'" <jpaskoski@gpo.gov>
Robert (et al.),

Sorry I don't have anything "authoritative" to point you towards, but the
consensus in the rehabilitation technology community is:
1)    It's not just the mouse.  At the VERY LEAST You need a "whole body"
ergonomic approach, including keyboard, desk, chair, splints, and positioning
aids (wrist rest, foot stool, monitor arm, etc.).  All this gets expensive
fast (especially the desk and chair).  Since these are all mainstream, it is
hard to get third-parties to pay for this stuff.
2)    There currently does NOT exist any conclusive research that PROVES that
any of the above helps (or is even preventative), although there is PLENTY of
annedoctal evidence to this effect.
3)    The opinion of the medical community is that the only thing that REALLY
helps is use the computer less.  (Thank you SO much.  Who needs to work
4)    There are some exotic ($) keyboards and such that minimize movement.
Some clinicians argue that if carpal tunnel is going to be a problem for a
person, these devices merely delay symptom onset, or even make it worse (since
now the user is making even more, even smaller movement)!
5)    The only piece of assistive technology that is compatible with the
medical model is to switch to voice recognition.  Learning to use voice
recognition REALLY efficiently takes a few months, so this initially cuts into
one's productivity, and you may need help from a guru to really get things
humming along (to set up voice macros and the like).  With practice, operation
can be VERY fast, however.  No one has (yet) come up with a voice recognition
model that works well with free hand drawing.  Technical CAD drawing CAN be
done by voice only (but I would not want to).  Forget about artistic painting
or illustrating.

If the person is not independently wealthy, feels that their job is in
jeopardy, and has a good tolerance for government beurocracy (the first thing
they will be probably be told is that they are not eligible for services,
which is NOT true), this person should get hooked up with the vocational
rehabilitation services agency in their state.  You can find a VR directory at

Assuming that the person caught your act locally, they should move to Maryland
(if they don't live here already).  MD DORS does a REALLY good job with
assistive technology.  Check out the following URL (which does not do RTS
justice, but they actually have all the business they need):

If the person is a federal government employee, they should see what kind of
services they can wrestle from the "General Services Administration (GSA)
Center for IT Accommodation" (CITA) at URL:

I also found this out "Federal Programs for Information Technology
Accessibility" which specifically mentions the GPO at URL:

What I was REALLY looking for was more information about a program called CCAT
(Center for Computer Assistive Technology) run out of the National Security
Agency.  Apparently, this program is a big secret (pun intended).  Last I
heard though, they GAVE AWAY FREE UPON REQUEST *any* piece of equipment that
could be called "assistive technology" that an end-user specifically
requested.  The catch was (1) you had to know of this program's existence(!),
and (2) you had to be a Department of Defense (DoD) employee.  Apparently,
they keep a lid on this program, less every DoD employee claimed to have
eyestrain that could be relieved with a 21"  monitor!  The program is unique
in that they do NOT have any rehabilitation technology clinicians who act as
"gate keepers".  The best I could do to find this group on the web was at
(next to last paragraph) URL:

Any DoD employees on this list in the market for a large panel flat screen
display, LazyBoy-style office chair, and a new desk?  Please let me know how
it goes!

Bruce Bailey

Neff, Robert wrote:

> Can anyone help here?
>                 -----Original Message-----
>                 Mr. Neff,
>                 I have enjoyed your presentations at GPO and DC Webmasters
> about
>                 Internet/disability issues.  My colleague is exploring
> alternate PC input
>                 devise information, as she has a carpal-tunnel-like problem
> in her wrist and
>                 hand, mainly from using a mouse.  I've tried a number of
> sites that have
>                 bits and pieces of information, but do you know of any
> DEFINITIVE sites that
>                 discuss, in some depth,  EFFECTIVE alternatives - i.e.
> perhaps trackballs,
>                 touch pads, pedals, voice recognition, etc.  I gave my
> colleague a Logitech
>                 track ball to try, but she is leaning towards
> trying/ordering a touch pad
>                 that she heard about.
>                 Thanks in advance for your help.
Received on Thursday, 11 November 1999 12:54:49 UTC

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