Over the last few years, computer technology has become more responsive to the needs of the physically challenged. For the visually-impaired, one form of breakthrough technology has been speech recognition, in which voice patterns are used to communicate data to the computer, instead of laboriously typing on the keyboard. There are two types of speech recognition: continuous and discreet. Continuous software allows for a conversational pace of speaking. Discreet speech software allows pauses between each word, so this software is intended for those who need to speak more slowly and deliberately. Also, there are several keyboards on the market for the partially blind. Generally, these are keyboard overlays featuring Braille or large, raised print. For computer users with limited arm and wrist mobility, touch pads can be helpful replacements for the computer's mouse. Touch pads are pointing devices activated by finger touch alone, and they eliminate the need for continual arm and wrist movement. A trackball, which is basically a mouse turned upside down, might also prove beneficial to those with similar impairments. Hand- or mouth-controlled joysticks, as well touch screens which enable users to access information with the touch of a finger, might also be feasible alternatives for the severely disabled. For more information, contact a computer professional.
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