About Switch Access
Switch access, mounting solutions and technology that assists is explained here along with some terms that you need to know about.
Access methods are the ways in which individuals control technology that will assist them. Access to technology needs to be established for each person and for each device and for all the different positions they might use throughout their day. Access methods are very specific if the person has very limited mobility or complex difficulties. Access methods can be direct such as pointing on a touch screen or indirect using customised or specialist switches, joysticks, mice or keyboards. Switches can vary from a single switch controlled by a blink to cursor movement using an eye gaze system.
Mounting Solutions are the ways in which switches are mounted to wheelchairs and other equipment the person with a disability might use such as a standing frame, bed, desk, table. This requires careful risk assessment to ensure switches are set up in a way that is easy to access and safe to use. Every persons needs are different and requires individual assessment.
Terms you need to know about
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Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC)
includes various methods of communication to support people who's speech may not be their main way to get their message across. This might include gesture, sign, symbols, communication aids.
Assistive Technology (AT)
An umbrella term for any device or system that allows individuals to perform tasks they would otherwise be unable to do or increases the ease and safety with which tasks can be performed (WHO)
are devices in the home that assist an individual to operate equipment in the home such as call bell, sockets (lights, fan, radio), telephone, television, windows, curtains, doors. To access environmental controls an established access method and switch skills are necessary.
is an approach that aims to preserve and restore body shape and muscle tone for individuals with movement disorders such as cerebral palsy. Experience working with the equipment that supports this approach such as specialist seating systems, standing aids and profiling beds are essential for a switch access assessment to ensure switches and technology are fitted safely.
Motor Planning and Patterns
allows us to know, remember and perform a motor task such as reaching to press a switch or touch a button on a touch screen. By keeping switches and technology in consistent places individuals can build up muscle memory to perform more accurately, more frequently and faster. This also applies to the layout of paper based and electronic communication aids, keyboards and computer access.