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Switches and Switch Software

Switches offer an alternative method to provide input into a computer when it is not possible to use a more direct access method, such as a standard keyboard or mouse. Switches come in various sizes, shapes, colors, methods of activation, and placement options. An interface device and software program are usually required to connect the switch to the computer and interpret the operation of the switch. Some software programs have been developed specifically for use with a switch and can employ on-screen scanning. With on-screen scanning, the computer highlights the options available to the user depending upon what action he or she wants the computer to take. The highlights are done either by sound, visual cue or both. When a visual or auditory prompt indicates a specific keyboard or mouse function, the user activates the switch and the desired function occurs. Other programs have built-in options to allow switch use. Many standard software programs can be accessed through a switch with the use of additional software and devices.