Five Switches For Access Everyone Must Have in Their Toolkit

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You might be asking yourself, “What, exactly, are switches?”

Switches are an assistive technology used by individuals with different disabilities for many different reasons.

picture of Blue2 Switch that has two large sqare buttons, one yellow and one white

Blue2 Switch

Switches can act as communication devices, to teach cause and effect, and they can take the place of using a keyboard or a mouse. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

There are also different mechanisms for activating them – pushing, pressing, kicking, sip-puffing, blinking or squeezing.

Switches can vary is size, shape and color, too.

A switch can be operated by almost any body part that is able to produce consistent and voluntary movement. Switches can be linked up to a variety of devices, including Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) devices, switch-adapted toys, SMART Technology, computers and tablets, sensory room equipment and environmental control devices.

Some people use just one switch, and others might utilize a dozen or more different ones.

The following switches are recommended as being essentials for an educator’s toolkit by AbleNet Technologies:

picture of four circlular switches, red green, yellow and blue and the red is attached to a black cord

Jelly Bean Twist Switch

1. Blue2:  Bluetooth switch access for iOS, Android, and other computer-based switch accessible apps and software – to read more about the Blue2, click here.

2. Candy Corn:  Proximity sensor activation surface activates without having to touch the switch- to read more about the Candy Corn, click here.

3. Specs: Small target area- to read more about the Specs, click here.

4. Jelly Bean Twist:  Medium target area and clear snap cap for symbol overlays- to read more about the Jelly Bean Twist, click here.

5. Big Red:  Large target area and clear snap cap for symbol overlays- to read more about the Big Red, click here.

AbleNet also provides FREE Webinars for Educators, and they maintain a large library of recorded webinars from leading industry experts.

Upcoming Webinar:  Tuesday, July 14 – Switch Skills Development, Part 3: Developing Switch Skills for Driving a Power Wheelchair

This webinar will present strategies to develop switch skills needed to drive a power wheelchair. These skills include the ability to sustain contact with a switch and release quickly for stopping. Case studies will be included.

• Time: 11:00AM to 12:00PM CDT
• Presenter: Michelle Lange, OTR, ABDA, ATP/SMS
• Level: Intermediate

Do you know of another switch that should be included in this list?  Write us in the comment section below and tell us why.

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