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Feb. 2002 About One Hand Typing and Keyboarding Monthly e-Newsletter

About One Hand Typing and Keyboarding Monthly Newsletter -


In This Issue:


1) A Message From Jim Abbott, one handed pro-baseball player

2) How To's On Touch Typing - keyboard covers

3) E-mail List Discussion Groups

4) Tips




1) You all know me because of what I do About One Hand Typing and Keyboarding.


In my real life, I do just about everything you can think of with professional speakers and seminar leaders. Jim Abbott just finished up a speech for us. I asked him if I could give a copy to you. Here it is. I hope one of you will forward this onto the i-can list too.



Celebrate The Blessings


By Jim Abbott, one-handed famed professional baseball pitcher


Not too long ago a little girl in my neighborhood was born without a hand. She was born just after my own second daughter Ella was born. Her parents were obviously shaken up. About a week later, I saw them at a neighborhood function and they came over to me and asked what my thoughts were, if I had any advice, for them and for their daughter. My advice? This is their daughter's life and they were asking my advice? Talk about humbling. What do you say? I had nothing very smart to say.


I told myself I wouldn't let that happen again. That it was important that I could share what I have learned.


I've learned that there are millions of people out there ignoring disabilities and accomplishing incredible feats. I learned that you can learn to do things differently, but do them just as well. I've learned that it's not the disability that defines you, it's how you deal with the challenges the disability presents you with. I've learned that we have an obligation to the abilities we do have, not the disability.


I was born without my right hand. I have never felt slighted. As a kid I was pretty coordinated and growing up I loved sports. I learned to play baseball like most kids, playing catch with my Dad in the front yard. The only difference was that we had to come up with a method to throw and catch with the same hand. What we came up with, is basically what I continued to do my whole life. I used to practice by pretending to be my favorite pitchers. I'd throw a ball against a brick wall on the side of our house, switching the glove off and on, moving closer to the wall- forcing myself to get that glove on faster and faster. I imagined myself becoming a successful athlete.


Growing up, sports were my way of gaining acceptance. I guess somewhere deep inside I was thinking if I was good enough on the field then maybe kids wouldn't think of me as being so different. Honestly I hid behind sports. I wanted the attention that comes from being successful, but I was very reluctant to draw any attention to my disability You know it's funny, there was an article in the L.A. Times recently about a high school pitcher who has been doing very well--- despite missing one hand. He mentioned my name as an example but went on to say he didn't want to be like me, he wanted to be like Randy Johnson. At first my feelings were hurt, but then I understood. That's exactly the same way I felt growing up. I didn't want to be defined by a disability. Focus on my pitching and not my hand.


I loved throwing a baseball. It is so important to find something in life you feel crazy about. Because you are so passionate you naturally practice, the hard work that it takes to do something well will come easily.


You know how it worked out. I got to play baseball at the University of Michigan, 2 United States teams The 1987 Pan American team and the 1988 United States Olympic team. Even though I played in the major leagues for almost 10 years the Olympics are still one of my favorite memories.


You know in my career I once won 18 games in a year, I also lost 18 games in one year. I was fortunate enough to go straight from the Olympic team to the major leagues. Never spending a day in the minors. I was also sent down to the minor leagues after 8 years in the big leagues. In 1996 I went 2-18 with a 7 run era . I couldn't get anyone out. I was in the first year of a long term contract with a team near my home it was supposed to be easy. That following year I was fired. Drove back to California, crying all the way. I spent that summer up in Michigan hurting and wondering if my career was over. Somewhere deep inside I wasn't sure. So I called the Chicago White Sox for a try out.


They gave me a chance to pitch again. I would watch the major leagues on t.v. with the rest of those kids and it felt like a million miles away. That had been my life. I was away from my family who I know thought I was crazy. Then I got the call I was going to Chicago back to the show. That was the good news, bad news your facing the Yankees Sat. night. They were about 100 and 15 at the time. I went on to win that game against the Yankees that night. In fact I went 5-0 the rest of that Sept.


I would like to tell those parents back in my neighborhood how wonderful my own parents were, and are. They encouraged me to participate, but didn't dwell on every move I made. I don't ever remember a concession to the fact that I had one hand. Maybe even a little more was expected. I will always be thankful that they never allowed my hand to be used as an excuse.


I would like to tell that little girl Go out and find what it is that you love. It may not be the most obvious choice or the most logical but never let that stop you. Baseball was hardly the most the most logical choice for someone with one hand, but I loved it, so that's what I pursued. No matter where the road takes you don't give up until you know in your heart you done everything you possibly could to make your dreams come true. You owe nothing to disability, ignore it. When you fail, get back up and try again. Leave no room for an excuse. Don't listen to what you can't do. 99% of the time I never think of missing a hand. I have never been envious of someone with two hands. Listen to that voice deep within you, it knows, when you've done your best.


Somehow when things are said and done there will be some accountability imagine someone coming up to you at the end of your life and saying "you've been given these talents what did you do with them." There is a certain potential we owe it to ourselves to live up to. Work hard, don't look back, celebrate the blessings in your life.


- Jim Abbott


(c) 2002, do not duplicate in any manner without written permission.

Lilly Walters, Lilly.Walters@verizon.net, 909-398-1228





2) Touch typing tips!


To be a speed typist, you need to be able to type, without looking. To force yourself, or your student to not look at the keys, you find a way to cover them up. Here are several suggestions.


Keyboard Cover:

sometimes called "keyboard skins". Normally these are used to protect the keyboard from sticky fingers. They look like a molded keyboard, which allows you to press down the keys. You can perhaps spray them black, or use a black marker pen Cost, approx. $10 each.


Cardboard box cover:

take a card box, which fits over the keyboards. Cut the sides so it stands about 8 - 12 inches above the keyboard. Cut out the side where the hands need to enter.


Paper or Cloth Cover:

take a large piece of heavy paper. Try taping it to the top

of the keyboard, or to the desk (especially if you use a drop down rack. You want it to flap over the hands. Alternative, a pillowcase could be used. Just have the student reach into it. Some people haved used tea towels. One suggested boxer shorts! Slip the shorts from the

front 0 the spacebar side - up to the top of keyboard. The elastic waist is up at the top, where you see the function keys. Kids slip their hands through the two leg holes. This

guarantees that they cannot bend down and look at the keys.





3. Would you like to join in a disussion group? We have three e-mail discussion groups, I hope you will join one.


ONE: is for those professionals who deal with helping their clients with limb differences use a computer.

If you are a professional OT, Rehab professional, or teacher, and you would like to participate in the first group. e-mail: computer_solutions-subscribe@yahoogroups.com


TWO: Parents - a place for parents of kids with limb differences. Discussion is open. We just want to share ideas for solutions to challenges we face.

If you are a parent of child with a limb difference:

e-mail: kids_can-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

THREE: Disabled arms/hands: If you have a limb difference:

email onehanded-subscribe@yahoogroups.com





4. From the ican ezine ...


6. Web site of the week


Ability Online



Ability Online is a computer friendship network where young people with disabilities or chronic illnesses can connect to each other as well as other friends, family members, caregivers and supporters. "It doesn't matter what you have, what you look like or what your disability is. It only matters if you can be a good friend," one member said.



Countdown to 2002 Salt Lake Paralympics

How to buy tickets, venue accessibility features, the events and more in the iCan! guide to the 2002 Salt Lake Paralympics






For the past issues for One Hand Typing and Keyboading e-news,

click here, http://www.aboutonehandtyping.com/enews.html


Lilly Walters




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