So far, this month, we have covered assistive tech devices that help people who have limited or no physical control over hand and/or arm movement feed themselves independently. The objective of many assistive tech devices is to offer people with various physical or cognitive disabilities accessibility to performing everyday tasks. Indeed, the Winsford Feeder (which we featured the previous week) is controlled by a switch—a special switch—the Ultimate Switch. In other words, this control provides the accessibility to using another piece of assistive technology that provides accessibility.
Enabling Devices is the manufacturer of the Ultimate Switch, along with a wide assortment of other switches, including the Talkable line previously featured in this space. The Ultimate switch is mounted on a gooseneck. It requires only a light touch to activate; however, it is strong enough to withstand the heavy body movements of persons with profound physical or neurological challenges. The user can use a hand or arm, knee, or the head to actuate the switch. The Ultimate Switch is produced with 19-, 12-, and 6-inch goosenecks. Each one is secured to a wheelchair or table by a secure clamp. (Additional clamps are available, allowing one to simply separate the switch from one clamp and place it on another.) The Technology Lending Center has both the 6- and 12-inch versions available for New Jersey residents to try out free of charge.
And There’s More!
Also notable are two alternatives the Technology Lending Center has available: the Flex and Leaf switches, both from AbleNet. With the Flex switch, the user can activate another assistive tech device by bending the black rubber tip attached to a lever in any direction. The attached tubing can be bent to make positioning easier. The user activates the Leaf switch by lightly pressing the leaf, a large, three-inch diameter round foam pad, in a single direction. Each of these switches provide both tactile and auditory feedback.