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Access Utility

An access utility is a software program that modifies a standard keyboard to simplify operation of the keyboard, replace the mouse, substitute visual cues for sound signals, or add sound cues to keystrokes. Example: In the case of a young person with a mobility impairment, an access utility is important because it can alter the way keys on the keyboard respond to touch. For example, Jimmy, a young boy with muscular dystrophy, has difficulty pressing the keys quickly; he lingers a bit longer on each key than necessary, or inadvertently presses multiple keys in-stead of the intended key. Altering the relay time on these keys can enable Jimmy to process information more effectively when using his keyboard. Many basic modifications can be made through software that already exists on your computer. Altering font size, color contrast, and adding or modifying audio alerts can all be done without purchasing additional software. “Sticky keys” are another very useful modification tool that can be made using pre-existing software. Sticky keys allow the individual to type one key at a time, sequentially, and experience the same results as holding down multiple keys simultaneously. For example, instead of holding down CTRL-ALT-DELETE at the same time, the individual can select each key, one at a time.