Compact Keyboards for One Handed Typing

Half qwerty keyboard

A variety of keyboard options are available for one handed typists. Likewise,  there are a number of different philosophies about methods of input, whether to use a standard QWERTY,  alternative or specialty keyboard method . Some of the options of alternative or specialty, one handed keyboards include but are not limited to:

How do you chose the method of input or keyboard for one handed typing? Lily Walters, in my opinion, has a great website offering information and her philosophy about one handed typing methods and considerations. She presents 5 areas to consider when selecting a one handed keyboarding method¹:

  1. Ease of use
  2. Speed of learning
  3. Speed of typing after instruction and practice
  4. Usability at school/home/employment
  5. Will the user use the system in 5 years?

Of the 5 areas Lily Walters rates them by importance to be considered¹:

  1. Will the user use the system in 5 years, will the device be available on the market in 5 years?
  2. Usability at school/home/work – will the user be using a dedicated computer in the environments computer access is required? Will it be compatible with the operating system available?
  3. Speed of typing following instruction and practice – what rate can be accomplished with the method or keyboard chosen?
  4. Ease of use – not only input but will a keyboard need to be carried or available in all environments?
  5. Speed of learning – does the user have existing skill in use of a keyboarding method that can be enhanced with a keyboard or practice? What time and effort is the user willing to commit to learn a new method or device?

Her philosophy suggests there are typically three different choices of keyboards available for one handed typists which should considered with the 5 questions in mind:

  1. Standard QWERTY keyboard
  2. Dvorak keyboard
  3. Specialty one handed keyboard (Maltron, Half Qwerty, BAT, etc. )

Certainly there are special situations for each one handed user and the choice of method should be up to the user which input method or keyboard is selected. According to Lily Walters, use of a standard QWERTY keyboard with retraining using a one handed method is the most universal method of one handed typing allowing users access to any computer with QWERTY keyboard. I have to agree with her philosophy generally and find most clients when presented with the options choose a one handed method of typing using a QWERTY keyboard. Perhaps the fact that most of the clients I work with looking for solutions for one handed methods of keyboarding are 18 years or older and typically have experience with the QWERTY keyboard and prefer to use their familiarity of prior keyboarding skills and they transition to a one handed method. Along with determining their method of input also includes providing them with one handed keyboarding instruction and trialing QWERTY keyboard options that are available.

Using a QWERTY keyboard, what features might be considered in QWERTY keyboards?

  1. Use of a standard 101 key QWERTY keyboard typically found on most desk top or laptop computers.
  2. Use of a Half QWERTY keyboard such as the Matias keyboard using a mirrored method of typing with one hand. This keyboard can be used as a standard QWERTY keyboard or in a Half QWERTY mode.
  3. Use of a compact QWERTY keyboard, especially for individuals with smaller hands (children and females). Consider the hand span of the typists, can their thumb to pinkie finger span from shift “a” key to backspace? If not consider a compact , or mini keyboard, for learning or individual use. Trial is recommended as the feel and reach of each keyboard is different.

The following compact keyboards are recommended from experience with many one handed clients:

  • Logitech K380 Keyboard – This PC/Mac/iOS/Android wireless keyboard is about 10 1/2″ in width, smaller than a standard without the number pad, allowing an easer reach from “a” to backspace key with use. Working with many individuals with one handed typing, when learning to type reaching across to correct errors initially on a standard keyboard interferes with maintaining a new home row position. A smaller keyboard aids maintaining position.
  • Logitech K400r Keyboard – This PC/Mac/iOS/Android wireless keyboard is similar to the above K380 keyboard, but has a touch pad mouse to the right side. Good for the right one handed typist, but not convenient for a left one handed typist. Reach from “a” to backspace key is about 8.25″, reduced from 9″ on a standard 101 QWERTY keyboard.
  • Adesso Mini USB Keyboard – A PC wired keyboard, this keyboard has been around for a long time and continues to be a frequent choice for many one handed typists. With an embedded numeric keypad, this compact keyboard has a reach of 8.5″ from “a” to backspace key.

If learning one handed typing on a 9.7″ tablet as an Android or iPad with a keyboard, the above Logitech keyboards can be used, or tablet cases with keyboard provide a compact keyboard. Realize that some function keys are in different locations pending iOS/Android or PC systems.

My favorite wrist rest for compact keyboards is the Glorious Gaming TenKeyLess wrist rest, a firm, compact rest that fits nicely with the 10 1/2″ keyboards. This wrist rest comes in different widths and lengths pending the type of keyboard and support surface needed.

What One Handed Keyboarding Programs are available?

The following are a few of the one handed keyboarding programs available providing structured lessons:

Lily Walters One Hand Typing –  $49.  for CD.

Lily Walters One Hand Typing Manual – $29.

Five Fingered Typist – $85. CD and manual

Typing One handed typing-First month free, $9.00/month. Custom Solutions website.

Doorway Online – Single Handed Typing – free online one handed typing tutorial.

In the past Five Fingered Typist was the typical one handed typing program recommendation. With free one handed typing options as Doorway Online, my recommendations now include Doorway Online lessons.

What do you recommend for one handed clients for instruction and input methods?


¹Walters, Lily. “How To Type With One Hand on a Normal Keyboard.” BEST How To Type With One Hand – About One Hand Typing, Keyboarding and Keyboards. About One Hand Typing, n.d. Web. 01 July 2017.                          

More for your OT eTool Kit!






Posted in Assistive Technology, Keyboard, Keyboarding, Typing | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Voice Dream Reader App on Sale

Voice Dream reader icon 12-2014

Through July 4th, Voice Dream Reader app for iOS ( 6.99) and Android (4.99) is 50% off. This is a great value for this multi-function app that reads aloud documents, articles and web sites and supports a wide variety of formats. Download books from, Gutenberg, Dropbox, iCloud, Google Drive and more!

Check out more details on Voice Dream Reader app on the Voice Dream website:

If you are in the market for an app with text to speech that manages textbooks, articles and other resources, I highly recommend Voice Dream Reader!

More for your OT or AT eTool Kit!


Posted in Adults with LD, Android, Apps for OT's, Apps for Special Needs, Assistive Technology, Dyslexia, iPad, iPhone, Learning Disability, Reading, Text to Speech, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Liftware Level, a Motorized Spoon

Reblogged from The Assistive Technology Daily

Liftware Level spoon pic

Liftware Level


Liftware Level By now, you must have seen or heard about this new steady spoon/ utensil that lets people with hand tremors eat without spilling and dropping their food. Liftware Level, a new motorized spoon, is designed for people who have limited hand and arm mobility because of Cerebral Palsy, Huntington’s Disease, spinal cord injuries,…

Liftware Level: A Utensil For for People With Motion-Related Disorders – Assistive Technology Blog — The Assistive Technology Daily

H/T to The Assistive Technology Daily for keeping us abreast of new assistive tech!


Posted in Accessibility, Activities of Daily Living, Rehabilitation, Self Care, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Owlet Smart Sock 2

The Assistive Technology Daily shares the Owlet Smart Sock 2, offering monitoring of vital signs for young children. Read on for more information about the new Owlet Smart Sock 2 features.

The Smart Sock 2 enhances everything that our 100,000 parents loved about our original Smart Sock. It uses proven technology (pulse oximetry) to track your infant’s heart rate and oxygen levels from the comfort of your home. The Smart Sock 2 has a range up to 100 ft and a new fabric sock design to…

via Owlet Smart Sock 2 | What is the Owlet Smart Sock 2? — The Assistive Technology Daily

H/T to Assistive Technology Daily for sharing their finds on AT innovations!


Posted in Apps for OT's, Apps for PT's, Assistive Technology, Medical, Occupational Therapy, Pediatrics, Wearable technology | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Tecla | Access technology hands-free — The Assistive Technology Daily

Reblogged from The Assistive Technology Daily, TECLA- E provides access to tablets, smartphones and smart home automation systems. Read on for more information about what TECLA can do…

WHO IS TECLA FOR? Tecla is for anyone who can’t easily use a smartphone, tablet or computer. This includes those with limited upper-body mobility resulting from spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, ALS, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, brain injuries, or stroke. HOW DOES TECLA WORK? Tecla allows an individual to interact with their iOS and Android […]


Reblogged from The Assistive Technology Daily

Posted in Accessibility, Activities of Daily Living, Assistive Technology, Environmental Control, Mobile Device Use, Mobility Impairment, Physical Disability Tool, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Typing on the iPad Pro 12.9 with SuperKeys App – Access for Individuals with Mobility Impairment 

The iPad Pro’s large 12.9″ now provides additional accessibility for individuals with motor and visual impairments previously a struggle for those who may have difficulty with multiple finger touch or using assistive touch features. A recent client, presenting speech, motor and visual impairment, was interested in communicating with family and friends using email and Facebook. With strong reading and writing skills, the need to view print and access keys of a computer or mobile device was the challenge.  Voice recognitiion was not found to be an option. Already familiar with the iPad for games, a larger, 12.9″ iPad appeared to be the best choice as a device with a small footprint, available apps for social communication and accessibility features. Available in 32 GB, 128 and 256 GB RAM, the iPad Pro 12.9″ 32 GB sells for approximately $685.00 (USD) at Amazon for the 32 GB Wi-Fi model. If you are looking for a bargain, refurbished iPad Pro 12.9″ 32 GB are available for approximately $599.00 (USD) again at Amazon. 

Functionally the client was able to use his left pointer finger with deliberate movement but required a large target and controls to his left side. Screen contents required enlargement on a slant surface for his visual needs. Although he was deliberate in the use of his left hand/finger, speed and coordination was reduced. The client had a lap tray for his wheelchair but which offers limited space. The 12.9″ iPad Pro in a Targus Versavu case providing a easeled or slant surface with the Home button positioned to his left preferred hand for ease of operation.  

Trial of the use of different input methods found SuperKeys keyboard app (iOS; 14.99) provided direct access to support his motor and visual needs. SuperKeys app, a third party keyboard developed by Crick, is an iOS QWERTY keyboard with 5 main cluster key areas. Once tapped a cluster key area is tapped it provides enlarged keys of the cluster (see below images). This provides a larger key allowing easy access for individuals with motor control challenges. Applying this iOS third party keyboard and turning off repeat rate provided the client the ability to access the tablets keyboard and type. SuperKeys keyboard app provides the following features:

 Word prediction is also provided within SuperKeys app to reduce keystrokes. Another rate enhancement feature of SuperKeys app allows phrases to be added as shortcuts. Phrases as “how are you doing?”, “hope to hear from you soon”, “see you soon” was added as quick social messages that could be added with just a few keystrokes. 

Although typing was slow, it was possible for the client to create messages and view contents of the iPad, social media (Facebook) and email menus, text, app icons and tools with Zoom set to the highest setting possible on the iPad 12.9″. Using the iPad Pro 12.9″ , the adaptive keyboard app SuperKeys and accessibility options allowed the client the ability to communicate with family and friends. 

My recent purchase of an iPad Pro 12.9″ (refurbished) for under $600.00 has been positive, exploring how it can help individuals with mobility and vision impairment. As for this particular client, the iPad Pro 12.9″ provided a great solution as a written communication tool. And of course there is a new iPad Pro 12.9 that has a faster processor, better camera and all the new features of OS 11. For now I will be happy with my refurbished iPad Pro 12.9″ and explore its use with other clients serviced. 

What has been your experience with the iPad Pro 12.9″ or with adaptive keyboards?

More for your OT eTool Kit!


Posted in Accessories, Apps for Special Needs, Assistive Technology, iOS, iPad, Keyboard, Mobility Impairment, Occupational Therapy, Third Party Keyboards, Uncategorized, Visual Impairment | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

iPad Pro 1 & 2 Cases for 12.9″

While the newest iPad Pro 2 has just become available on the market this June (2017), only recent experience with the 12.9″ tablet has required searching for accessories and application of its features for individuals with a multiple disabilities. The 12.9″ tablet offers improved access for individuals with motor as well as visual impairments. 

A search for available cases (without a keyboard) for the iPad Pro 12.9″ tablet found some of the same favorite cases available. For one client however, availability of a stand with orientation of the home button to his left preferred (one handed) hand was necessary. My search for iPad Pro 12.9″ cases found these among my favorite picks:

Otterbox Defender Case for 12.9″: This case has been an old favorite offering durability and a cover with a stand. With the cover offering a stand, this case can be oriented vertical or horizontal with the home button positioned to the right or the left side. Otterbox provides a year warranty and has been around a long time with good reviews and ratings. Cost on approximately $78.00 (USD).

Griffin Survivor Case for iPad Pro 12.9″: The Griffin Survivor case has been another heavy duty, favorite tablet case. With a durable case and stand, this case is completely enclosed to protect from dirt, sand and rain. Cost on approximately $67.00 (USD).

Cooper Dynamo Case for iPad Pro 12.9″: This is a familiar, heavy duty case featuring a protective screen and case with a handle that serves as a stand for slant positioning. Cost on approximately $27.00 (USD).

Gumdrop Case for iPad Pro 12.9″: Another familiar durable heavy duty case with protective screen. The Gumdrop Case offers a stand with Home Button access to one side only. A good option if access to Home Button is not a concern. Cost on approximately $ 60.00 (USD).

Targus Classic Versavu 360 Rotating Case for iPad Pro 12.9: Not a heavy duty case, the Versavu case however has been a long time favorite offering a low profile with a protective back and Smart Cover to place the device in sleep mode when closed. The back cover provides 360 rotation allowing the device positioning in vertical and horizontal views with positioning of the Home Button to the left or right side for individuals needing access to either side. The cover also serves as a stand offering slant positioning. Cost on approximately $ 33.00 (USD).

Although any of the above cases would be a choice depending client needs, the Targus Classic Versavu 360 case was my pick for my recent client needing a stand and offering the Home Button to is left side for ease of access given his left preferred hand. The stand provided good visual access when combined with specific accessibility options applied. 

What has been your experience with the iPad 12.9″ ? Do you have any favorite cases for the iPad Pro 12.9?

More for your OT eToolkit!


Posted in Accessibility, Accessories, Assistive Technology, iPad, iPod/iPad Accessory, Mobile Device Use, Mobility Impairment, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment