Introduction - One Hand Typing and One Handed Keyboards
An overview of all of the one hand typing options, one hand keyboards and alternative keyboard layouts like One Hand Dvorak. Including how to analyze which is best for each person.
There are many ways to type with one hand. I type with one hand. I lost most of my left hand when I was 10 years old in an accident. By High School I was able do from 40 - 80 wpm, depending on the amount of diet soda and sleep I 'd had! . I was usually the fastest typist in my class - competing on the same NORMAL keyboard with my two handed peers (no adaptive equipment).See video clip of how I type
Today I have eight books in the marketplace, several best sellers. I typed every word of those manuscripts myself and. I feel very strongly that typing on the same keyboard all of my two handed peers use has been a very good thing for my self-esteem, my employability, and thinking skills in general.
Why? When considering which alternative is best, you must answer these questions first:
- Which system will allow the user be able to type the fastest once they are accomplished?
- How long will it take them to learn?
- Will the manufacturer of the alternative be around in 10 years?
- Will the user stay with the alternative?
Or will the prefer to 'fit in' with their peers who either do not use a keyboard, or hunt and peck slowly on the normal keyboard?
- Is the "good" hand strong? Can it take the burden normally shared by two hands?
- Will the reason the hand/arm is disabled go away with time? Perhaps an injury that will heal?
- Does this person work on their own - perhaps they are retired or an entrepreneur? Will they need to use other people's computers, or will others need to use their computer?
- Was the user a speed touch typist before the disability?
Let's explore each of those issues for the One Handed Typist:
Never mind Lilly, I trust you, I don't have time to read all of this, I just want to know what I need to buy for my 12 or under child who needs to type with one hand.
HOW FAST WILL THE USER BE ABLE TO TYPE ONCE THEY ARE ACCOMPLISHED?
Speed of the accomplished one handed typists seems to be about the same on all of the systems available. In theory, those using One Handed Dvorak should be faster. But research shows that is just not the case. Besides, there are just not enough people who went on with One Handed Dvorak to confirm that theory.
I, for instance, use the normal keyboard, I do 40 to 80 wpm (depending on the amount of sleep and coffee I have in my system!).
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE A ONE HANDED TYPIST TO LEARN THE ONE HANDED SYSTEM?
Learning time will be fastest for those who never were speed touch typists if they use the normal keyboard and One Hand Qwerty. Most people have at least played with a normal keyboard, and have a vague idea where the keys are.
Learning time will be faster for those who WERE speed touch typist with two hands before their disability if they use Half Qwerty.
As to how long it actually is going to take, well how long did it take you to learn to read? How long did it take the person in the desk next to you?
How long it takes to learn one hand typing has NOTHING to do with using one hand one two. It will depend on the user. Some memorize where the keys are -- without looking -- in a few hours. For others, it takes a few months.
WILL THE MANUFACTURER OF THE ALTERNATIVE BE AROUND IN 10 YEARS?
Of course we can only guess at the answer to this. But if we look at the life span of the average small computer manufacturer, then we have cause to worry. What will your user do if they are trained on an alternative keyboard, which eventually breaks down, and the company is gone? Well, they will go back to the normal Qwerty keyboard and start over learning what I suggest you try in the first place.
One thing is fairly certain, when the starship Enterprise really does launch, there is going to be a normal QWERTY keyboard on board.
WILL THE USER STAY WITH THE ALTERNATIVE? OR WILL THE PREFER TO 'FIT IN' WITH THEIR PEERS WHO EITHER DO NOT USE A KEYBOARD, OR HUNT AND PECK SLOWLY ON THE NORMAL KEYBOARD?
I do a survey every few years, the last was to over 9000 people: OT's, teachers, amputees, and many others with disabilities. I asked them, "Of any of the people you know, who were taught to use an alternatives to a normal keyboard, how many are now actually using that alternative in the workplace?"
It seems to me that 99% of those trained on one of these alternatives leave them in the closet, and instead hunt and peck on a NORMAL keyboard. Why? Because the majority of two handed people in most workplaces, in schools, and at play, are just hunt and pecking anyway. Our one-handed can get the same speed as his two handed friends. Why should he use an adaptive device and forever be put in the position of being "different"?
Since our one handed user is going to use a normal keyboard, regardless of what he was taught in rehab, why not spend that precious time learning to have competitive touch typing skills? Then, our one handed friend can be the fastest, most competent person, regardless on the number of hands he has!
IS THE "GOOD" HAND STRONG? CAN IT TAKE THE BURDEN NORMALLY SHARED BY TWO HANDS?
If one hand has good usage, then, although harder on the hands, the standard ONE HAND QWERTY is perhaps the best choice for two reasons.
One: value in the job market.
The reality is, the easier it is to bring someone into the workplace, the more appealing they are as an employee.
Two: Self value.
Selecting an alternative keyboard makes a user feel apart from their peer group. Being adept at the tool the others use at work and at play, the standard keyboard, gives their self esteem and self value a tremendous boost.
WILL THE REASON THE HAND/ARM IS DISABLED GO AWAY WITH TIME? PERHAPS AN INJURY THAT WILL HEAL?
Only learn any one hand method if you are sure there will never have enough coordination with the affected hand to type in the standard two handed method.
DOES THIS PERSON WORK ON THEIR OWN - PERHAPS THEY ARE RETIRED OR AN ENTREPRENEUR? WILL THEY NEED TO USE OTHER PEOPLE'S COMPUTERS, OR WILL OTHERS NEED TO USE THEIR COMPUTER?
If possible, avoid alternatives if our user plans to share a computer at work or at play. If not, and if the idea of a "different" keyboard intrigues them, then an adaptive device might be just the thing to add the element of fun to their training and encourage them to carry on until they become adept.
WAS THE USER A SPEED TOUCH TYPIST BEFORE THE DISABILITY?
If you can catch a former two handed speed touch typist within six months of the disability, use the HALF QWERTY SYSTEM.
If they were NOT a speed touch typist before the disability, then always suggest they use the keyboard as is! This is One Hand QWERTY: the one hand centering on FGHJ learns to touch type.
For all of those 25 years of age and under, and for those who were not speed touch typists with two hands within the past six months:
Use One Hand Qwerty - uses a normal keyboard with the normal layout
Those who were speed touch typed with two hands within the past six months:
Use Half Qwerty - cuts the keyboard in half, and uses an alternative layout for the missing keys.
Those who will regain full use of the disabled hand.
Suggest they study 10 key skills until the disabled hand heals. Do not bother to teach them a one hand typing method.
Always try to help the one handed person use the tools commonly found at work and at play. Give them the ability to breeze into the workplace or school with confidence. Once there, they will have the typing skills to say to their two handed co-workers, "Oh here, let me show you how ... "