Not so very long ago, I composed and responded to email, wrote entertaining blog entries, did my banking and a hundred other things, all by myself using voice recognition software and the ring finger of my left hand. When dictating, the occasional background noises provided by a barking Bichon and/or a communicative cockatiel necessitated an expostulatory "SCRATCH THAT!" to erase their unwanted contributions. As my speech worsened, it wasn't the animals offering up the gibberish, it was moi. "SCRATCH THAT!" punctuated an increasing number of dictation attempts, until even "SCRATCH THAT!" was transcribed as "congrats grads" or the like. Frustrated and impatient, I resorted to my single functioning digit to make corrections and type an occasional blurb. It didn't take very long for my shoulder and neck to point out the flaws in this arrangement: unable to support the weight of my man-hand,my shoulder dropped it (finger and all) --not the most effective method of typing. Helpful surrogates came to my aid, but availability was a factor. I wondered aloud (in virtual print) what I needed to do to regain some -- any -- type-ability.
Enter the ALS Association AND their loan closet. Until I am evaluated by the National Rehabilitation Hospital and can get an Eyegaze System, I am happily -- if slowly -- using a borrowed SmartNav System. A piece of reflective tape affixed to the bridge of my glasses turns my head into a giant mouse, positioning the cursor over letter after letter on the on-screen keyboard produces a word, then a sentence, then a paragraph or two...or more.
Like any hand operated mouse, this tape/glasses /head mouse requires regular recalibration, but to do so I have to swing my head side to side, up and down. I sort of look like Stevie Wonder. Sort of.
6 hours ago