ABOUT MY BLOG

The phrase “hand to mouth” means several things. I fit all of these things. The most common meaning is that you get by day-to-day. This is usually in a financial sense, as in living paycheck to paycheck, but can also be physical.

My real reason for using that expression for my blog, though, is literal. I am hemiplegic by birth. My favorite method of communication for a long time was to write, either by pen or keyboard. I didn’t know there was assistive technology for one-handedness or spasticity that could have provided a better fit — no doctor or teacher told me anything. And I didn’t know that just going about my daily activities for long enough would hurt me sooner or later. It happened sooner, changing my ability to write or communicate in the ways I had been used to. So, my title reflects my transition from spelling with my fingers to stringing whole words with my mouth, gradually accepting using my voice with Dragon NaturallySpeaking. (See Help from the world, or typing vs. speech for background.)

My main purpose for this blog is to review assistive technology products, and general musings on disability or accessibility will find their way in here by default.  Most things that I review here are things that I own, though occasionally they may be trial downloads or devices I borrowed from friends. I try not to mention things I have not used, but occasionally I’ll post an interesting article that mentions something out of my league. Assistive technology fascinates me, and I’m always amazed at what people come up with. I think it’s turning into a hobby. 🙂

If you want to suggest a tech-related item or otherwise contact me, email hand2mouthtech AT gmail DOT com.

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11 Responses to ABOUT MY BLOG

  1. Marko says:

    Hi my friend. “hand2mouth” is in my bookmarks. I must admit this is the first blog I ran into that speaks about interfacing to the computer for people with disabilities. I myself had to learn how to live and do my job after acquiring various disabilities due to connecting tissue disorder couple of years ago. I have to give you credit for having courage to invest your valuable will and physical power into the blog about this because there are no interests for that amongst healthy people. I know how painful “simple” typing can be, but I guess you use speech recognition like me.

  2. hand2mouth says:

    Hi, and thank you. I’m glad it does some good. I do mostly use my voice, but occasionally I miss the alphabet, so on a really good day I’ll try to cheat and use something else, to varying success. Your point about contact info is well-taken; one thing I neglected to do was set up an email specifically for the blog. No brainer, eh? But I’ll put up a contact link momentarily. Thanks for the reminder!

  3. MichaellaS says:

    tks for the effort you put in here I appreciate it!

  4. Donnieboy says:

    Just wanted to drop you a line to say, I enjoy reading your site. I thought about starting a blog myself but don’t have the time.
    Oh well maybe one day…. 🙂

  5. Wil says:

    Just discovered your site, and as someone who uses voice dictation extensively, this looks like a treasure trove of information. I look forward to going through it.

  6. hand2mouth says:

    Thanks! Your blog is very interesting as well.

  7. Anita Lee says:

    I work with students with significant orthopedic impairments and teachers with limited budgets. While I’m familiar with Click-N-Type, I find that scanning mode is somewhat clunky and off target for the letters. I’m hoping that someone (you?) might be able to suggest how to adjust this through the CNT designer program.

  8. hand2mouth says:

    Yeah, I think the Click N Type requires better reflexes than most. If too many of the letters I want are grouped in the first block or just in the same block, I can’t click fast enough to keep up.

    I rearrange the letters all the time, but I have a default design regardless. For a simple alphanumeric board: 2 rows of 13 letters at the top. Spacebar underneath, stretched all the way across. Most common punctuation keys underneath. Enter key next to punctuation, stretched from there to end of the row. That way Enter always comes after the period, for new paragraphs and so on. Backspace underneath, stretched all the way across. Shift underneath, stretched all the way across. Numbers under Shift. Sometimes I stretch the size a little, so that letters in the next block are partially targeted and might be reached faster that way.

    With the letters: I don’t know anything scientific about frequency of use, but what I tried to do was to split common letter combinations between the blocks. I do that because I don’t have the reflexes to keep trapping the target in the same block and like to minimize the wait for passing the block again. So if I have a common letter like T or S in the first scanning block, I might have H in the second. E might fall in the third, as would a few of the other vowels. This way I’m not tensing up trying to click a million times in a row. It’s hard to explain; if you like, I can send you one of my layouts to show you what I mean.

    Also, what kind of switch interface are your students using? Is there a separate switch for double click, or are they using single switches? If there were a double click switch, that could at least let them target the first row of a block right away.

  9. elisabeth says:

    I had a hearing assistance question recently and was wondering if you might know of any sources you can share. They’re interested in personal FM systems, particularly the Oticon “Amigo” or “Arc” neckloop, but I’m sure that there are others out there that I don’t know of. They’re looking for recommendations, and particularly use in a classroom setting. Thanks!

  10. hand2mouth says:

    I’m sorry — this answer’s probably moot now, but I’m posting it here in case you or somebody else might find it useful. I don’t know a lot about listening devices, but Williams seems to be a major brand. They have a list of FM systems used for education. There are a couple of neckloop styles at Assisted Audio. Lightspeed also mentions use in the classroom. Hearing Aid Forums has reviews of different listening devices, including FM.

  11. Hi! I just found your blog and I’m excited about it. I just started my own blog about 2 1/2 weeks ago about the experience of being a graduate student who uses dictation software. I have a couple friends who use dictation software but none of them are dependent on it and so I started the blog in an effort to meet other people who use it on a regular basis and also so that I could think through how dictating influences the writing process. I sustained some muscle and nerve injuries in both hands/arms during my PhD program and in an effort to avoid surgery, I’m trying to write my dissertation hands-free using Dragon NaturallySpeaking. I just read your entry about getting the scroll commands to move more slowly and it was really helpful.

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