For individuals who use switches with computers, Voice Output Communication Aids and/or Environmental Control systems the speed of access can be frustratingly slow. It is therefore important we consider all the influencing factors to ensure we achieve effective switch access.
If you need help with spoken communication because of a disability, this website can give you an idea of what's on offer, with details of nearly every communication aid available in the UK - and it's all searchable!
When most of us use a computer we use the standard interface – a keyboard and mouse. However, what do you do if you can't use these? A number of 'alternative access' systems exist, for example alternative keyboards, trackerballs, touchscreens, headpointers etc. But for some people these devices are also an unuseable, and this is where switches step in.
The 2005 edition of the freely-downloadable 53-page guide to introduce software developers to the issues regarding accessible software. Provides an general overview of the access problems posed by various disabilities, and gives guideline advice about how to deal with them.
For the switch user, accessing the essentially mouse-driven Windows environment appears to be a formidable task. SAW (Special Access to Windows) - is software that enables Windows to be controlled by one or two switches,a joystick, a trackerball or a headpointer. SAW has many additions and features to make creating interfaces easy for those who use alternative inputs.
Communication aids of any flavour come under the umbrella term of AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication). You might also hear of talking communication aids being referred to as Speech Output Devices or sometimes as VOCAs (Voice Output Communication Aids).