Children With Autism Use Alternative Keyboard To Communicate With Their Families And Their World
ScienceDaily (Sep. 1, 2009) — Autism can build a wall of poor communication between those struggling with the condition and their families. While a personal computer can help bridge the divide, the distraction and complexity of a keyboard can be an insurmountable obstacle.
Using a unique keyboard with only two "keys" and a novel curriculum, teachers with Project Blue Skies are giving children with autism the ability to both communicate and to explore the online world.
At the heart of the project is a device called the OrbiTouch. Human-factors engineer Pete McAlindon of BlueOrb in Maitland, Fl., conceived of the concept behind the OrbiTouch more than a decade ago as a way to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome and provide computer access to people with limited or no use of their fingers.
Developed with the support of two National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Innovation Research awards (9661259 and 9801506), the concept of representing keyboard strokes with paired movements was critical to the design from the start....
and here's what it looks like: