Re: Learning Jaws and the Keyboard

Charles Krugman

Hi Richard,
As someone who is blind from birth I think that it is more important that your daughter be encouraged to memorize the keyboard and gain proficiency as a touch typist. I am of the age where I learned to do many things in the sighted world without much accommodation and I believe that we can enable by going too far with unnecessary accommodations. While a prototype of a keyboard might be useful for training purposes it is more important that your daughter be proficient enough to type on any keyboard including those that do not have any Braille markings or other type of identifiers. You are doing her a greater favor to encourage to adapt to the sighted world especially when the accommodations you speak of are probably not necessary as you have indicated that she is a proficient touch typist.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Richard Holloway" <rholloway@...>
To: "The Jaws for Windows support list." <jfw@...>
Sent: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 6:11 PM
Subject: Re: Learning Jaws and the Keyboard

To offer a slightly different perspective, I'm typically sighted and I touch type most of the time, but sometimes I have one hand occupied or am trying to do things in a way that I cannot use two hands properly on the keyboard.

Also, some commands with modifier keys, especially multiple modifiers I just cannot manage to type without looking.

My daughter is a super Braille typist and quite good on a qwerty keyboard, but it still seems to me that it would be handy if my daughter were able to "glance" at the keyboard when she wanted to as well.

All the TVI's I know, and numerous blind friends and associates, as well as numerous other parents of blind children seem to think I'm an idiot over this point. My thought is, make a Braille-key-capped keyboard I can get and let my daughter see if it is of any use. If it isn't, I stick in in the pile of other gear that was less useful than I hoped.

There are, in fact, a few actual keyboards like that which have been made, but I have only seen them listed on-line and they were PS-2 style, never USB, and around $200 or $300. There were photos, they clearly existed at some point, but I never managed to confirm any were still available for sale.

I figure one of these days a "proper" Braille USB model will appear somewhere. The Braille stickers ARE still available, but I understand (and believe) the will make a sticky, oozing mess over time. I think one would to as well with dymo labels or stick-on sheets from a Perkins Brailler.

They make many other special sets of actual key caps color coded for sighted users for programs like Photoshop or various Video Editing programs such as Final Cut Pro. It would be simple and reasonably inexpensive to custom mold keys with Braille in quantity.

Sorry of this is too far off topic, but it could directly impact the ability of some users (like my daughter) to utilize JAWS. Also correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems like it would be easy to ignore when touch typing, and the two standard keys which are usually marked could still have a unique feel if properly designed, such that one would not need to run fingers across to read those two letters over and over, yet if out of position, a quick swipe over a key, even "hunt and peck" style could let a Braille typist hit one needed key with reduced effort.

I like having this option as a sighted typist. Why should by daughter not have that option as well?

Sent from my iPad

On Jun 25, 2012, at 6:17 PM, Stephanie Switzer <emmanrusty@...> wrote:

I learned touch typing by using Talking typer. From what I can
remember they introduce you to a few keys at a time until you've
learned the entire keyboard. Braille on a computer keyboard isn't
really necessary because the F and J keys have a line or a dot
(depending on how old the computer is) on them. When I took
Keyboarding in school the teacher made us learn touch typing. (I took
it with sighted kids because I was main streamed.) I tried the braille
overlays when I was about your daughter's age and they kept slipping
off the keyboard (Do those still exist?) Finally one of my Vision
impaired teachers (V. I.s) got me talking typer. Anyway I started
writing this to point out that most sighted people don't look at the
keyboard while they type, so why should we? :) I'm only saying the
"sighted people" part because I remember that my keyboarding teacher
said it over and over. :) I admire you for allowing your daughter the
chance to use a quarity keyboard. I didn't get to use one until
resently. Though that was more the school's fault then my parrents.
lol. :)
Good luck with everthing! :)

On 6/22/12, Kimsan Song <kimsansong@...> wrote:
Oh? My? Gosh? Dave Carlson you crack me up!

-----Original Message-----
From: jfw-bounces@... [mailto:jfw-bounces@...]
On Behalf Of Farfar Going 60
Sent: Wednesday, June 20, 2012 10:11 AM
To: The Jaws for Windows support list.
Subject: Re: Learning Jaws and the Keyboard

Late? Not at all. It's still 2012. You have up to a year, month, and a day
to respond. OF course the originator may have moved on to other topics --
lists, or countries.

Dave Carlson
Tastefully composed and launched near the Pacific Ocean using a Dell
Latitude E6520, JAWS 13.0.718, and Windows 7 Professional 32-bit

----- Original Message -----
From: <ckrugman@...>
To: "The Jaws for Windows support list." <jfw@...>
Sent: Wednesday, June 20, 2012 07:01
Subject: Re: Learning Jaws and the Keyboard

Hi Richard,
This is a late response. I first started to learn to type on an old manual
typewriter when I was about your daughter's age fifty years ago. At
my classroom had a Braille book with a prototype of a keyboard showing
keys with Braille labels that was part of the Braille book. I memorized the
keyboard and my average typing speed on a typewriter is about 60-70 WPM. If
your daughter is going to be proficient she needs to learn proper fingering
and memorization. This is the same method that professional sighted
stenographers and typists have used for years. Of course, at that time
use of Braille was encouraged for totally blind children it was also
expected that blind children learned how to adapt and used standard
possible. hope this helps.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Richard Holloway" <rholloway@...>
To: "The Jaws for Windows support list." <jfw@...>
Sent: Tuesday, March 06, 2012 11:02 AM
Subject: Learning Jaws and the Keyboard

I am a typically sighted parent of a blind child (age 9). I interact with
many other parents of blind children and could use some advice for my
and to share with other parents.

My daughter was effectively born blind having lost all usable vision by a
few months of age. She learned braille from the start and learned to type
on a perkins brailler first, then started to learn qwerty. She much
prefers to use a braille keyboard on her computer and notetaker (Apex) as
well, keeping a qwerety keyboard plugged in on her computer for
use for certain keys and functions.

My question is this: What is the best way for a blind typist to learn to
use a qwerty keyboard; to do this most efficiently? Is it using JAWS
feedback with the repeating of characters verbally as typed? What about
the braille key caps, or at least braille stickers for keys? (I have
yet found a USB braille key capped keyboard, only an old PS-2 style unit)
I get that touch typing and just pressing down on braille key caps would
be of little use braille-wise, but is is like for sighted typists, in
it helps get reoriented when your fingers move or you get distracted,
etc., and just to learn qwerty in the beginning? It would be easy enough
to remove the braille and go with a standard keyboard later on--
conventional keyboards are cheap.

What we end up with as parents is an argument between (mostly
typically-sighted) parents that braille caps are a great idea vs. how bad
of an idea they are to use. I'm not trying to sit in either camp-- I'm
wondering which seems to help (and curious about any suggestions of the
best ways to learn qwerty typing without vision).

I don't want to clog up the list too much with this, though it is
JAWS-related, obviously. Please do feel free to reply directly if you
prefer. Your response may be valuable to quite a few parents of younger,
keyboard-learning braille computer users, so thanks for any experience
may be able to share.

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