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Defining Motor Difficulties

Motor impairments can range widely. They may include age related arthritis, long term disabling conditions or short term injuries. They can be highly specific or part of a complex disability (like cerebral palsy). They can require specific assistive technologies (such as switch operated devices) or mere tweaking of existing hardware systems - for example someone with poor coordination might benefit from reducing the sensitivity of the mouse or keyboard.

Resources in electronic format can offer many benefits to learners with motor impairment. These include:

  • Participation - learners who might not be capable of physically accessing a classroom can still participate, accessing resources and discussing them via bulletin boards or wikis.
  • Portability - resources need not be physically carried around. Instead of a bag of books the learner goes online to access a resource from a PC. Hundreds of resources can be carried around on a usb flash drive rather than heavy files needing to be carried everywhere.
  • Manipulability - using inbuilt hardware and software tools (e.g. mouse scroll wheel; auto-scroll in PDFs) or specific assistive technologies (e.g. switch devices, voice recognition etc) the learner can navigate and manipulate documents in ways that might be difficult or impossible with a physical resource such as a book.

Further information and guidance