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5. Physically Disabled

There are a wide range of physical disabilities that can impair a user's mobility, and many of these impairments need to be addressed on an individual basis. This section addresses impairments that apply to users who have difficulty using a mouse, pointing device, or keyboard.

5.1. Keyboard Navigation

There are features that are built into the Linux operating system that allow for additional keyboard configuration. In some of the X Windows desktops these settings can be changed from the control center. An application has also been developed for X Windows called AccessX and it provides a graphical user interface for configuring all the AccessX keyboard settings. These settings are:

  • StickyKeys enable the user to lock modifier keys (for example, control and shift) allowing single finger operations in place of multiple key combinations.

  • MouseKeys provide alternative keyboard sequences for cursor movement and mouse button operations.

  • SlowKeys requires the user to hold the key down for a specified period of time before the keystroke is accepted. This prevents keystrokes that are pressed by accident from being sent.

  • ToggleKeys sound an audio alert that warns the user that a keystroke created a locking state for keys, such as Caps Lock, and Num Lock.

  • RepeatKeys allow a user with limited coordination additional time to release keys before multiple key sequences are sent to the application.

  • BounceKeys or Delay Keys have a delay between keystrokes. This function can help prevent the system from accepting unintentional keystrokes.

5.2. Assistive Technologies for the Physically Disabled

The following is a list of assistive technologies for the physically disabled:

5.2.1. On-Screen Keyboard

On-screen keyboards enable a user to select keys using a pointing device, such as a mouse, trackball, or touch pad. This application can be used in place of a standard keyboard.

  • GTkeyboard is a on-screen, graphical keyboard and can be downloaded at:

  • GNOME Onscreen Keyboard (GOK)is a on-screen, graphical keyboard that enables users to control their computer without having to rely on a standard keyboard or mouse. MOre information is available at

5.2.2. Speech Recognition

Speech recognition utilities are used by people with mobility impairments, so they can operate the computer using voice control.

5.3. Additional Resources

The following is a list of additional Web sites that may be of interest to users with mobility impairments: