Friday, February 5, 2010

One Man's Annoying/Aggravating/Interesting Access Picture of the Week

I saw this picture in an article about hiring people with disabilities, or more specifically, an article about the lack of hiring qualified people with disabilities. The article piqued my interest for two reasons 1) I'm a job searching attorney and 2) the discussion subject matter was at the heart of a lot of my employee accommodations work at a very large Minneapolis based corporation. It's an interesting read that I recommend if it's in your wheelhouse. (People With Disabilities: The Talent You're Missing) But a workable accessibility button on your keyboard? Now wouldn't that be fantastic. The only thing better would be an "Easy Access" button a la the Staples "Easy Button." In other words, a blue button with the international symbol of access that I can hit whenever I encounter any accessibility issues. Oh man, what I wouldn't give for that...


  1. Another great post Shawn!

    I’ve noticed some quadriplegics wear gloves. Are these for protection or do they provide rigidity for specific hand maneuvers?

    When completing these posts, do you use a voice software system or modified keyboard?


  2. Gloves: both reasons I'd say. You see paras wearing gloves much more often than quads because they offer hand protection to wheeling their chairs around. From what I've seen, quads that use manual chairs often wear gloves or something similar for both protection and to get some extra grip on their wheel rims. Quads that roll with power chairs probably don't wear gloves all that often because they don't need that extra hand protection to work the joystick.

    As for me, I use a power chair and wear fingerless biking/weight lifting gloves. It started back in rehab primarily as hand protection to wheeling my manual chair, but after I started using my power chair full time in college I kept wearing them because it became habit to put them on every morning, like an extension of my wardrobe. But the primary reason that I've kept wearing them to this day is because they give my hands, and fingers specifically, that extra stability they lack without them. Stability that makes it much easier for me to type, grab stuff, and do more fine motor things with my fingers. Otherwise, my fingers tend to be more flimsy and I feel like I have less control over them. All that being said, I have been trying to move away from using gloves bit by bit over the last few years. One reason is that the kind of gloves I've been using for years aren't made anymore, and I haven't found a new kind that I think will work. So I keep washing and fixing the ones I have. Second, I feel like they're kind of socially awkward. But it's been tough making the move to ditch them for reasons described above.

    Writing posts: With paralyzed fingers I don't type with both hands like most people obviously. I don't use a modified keyboard, no. I don't even know what one would look like. And I don't use voice typing software either. When I first started typing post-injury I used typing sticks, which were tongue depressor looking plastic sticks with rubber ends (pencils or anything can be used as well) that slipped into a slot on an inch-wide adaptive cuff that Velcro’s around your hand (I use it to brush my teeth too). You essentially karate chop type one key at a time. When instant messaging started getting popular it was too annoying to strap my typing sticks on, type a few IM words, take them off, go back to e.g. studying, put them back on, type a few more words, etc., etc. So I started short hand typing "hunt and peck" style with just my right thumb. And that's how I've continued to type the vast majority of stuff I have written since. I'll still occasionally strap on the typing sticks if I'm going to be writing for longer periods of time, want a little more speed hitting two keys at a time, and/or don't have book pages to flip (e.g. research writing projects). But every word of every blog post I've written on this site so far has been with just my right thumb. Even that being so, I've learned to type pretty fast, faster than some "normal" folks can type even. It's second nature. The biggest downside is that I need to watch the keyboard while I type and thus there are countless times where I've looked up and seen there are handfuls of typos, or that I've typed a few sentences in CAPS without realizing it and have to start over.

    The voice software thing I never really considered because it didn't ever suit my writing style. But I am now much more open to it than in the past because of the more lengthy blog post and book writing scenarios where my mind is thinking a few sentences ahead and my one finger writing techniques cannot catch up. That gets frustrating. So when I start back doing more writing with my book I think I'll be doing much more speak writing than ever before because it will save me a lot of time.

  3. Speechless. After learning that you type all these entries AND answers to comments with your right thumb, I have a whole new appreciation for your blog. Thank you for giving all my questions thorough responses.