Motor Disabilities

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Motor Disabilities

Motor disabilities range from impaired dexterity to total paralysis.

People with motor disabilities will deal with issues such as:

  • no ability to move
  • difficulty moving
  • difficulty moving with fine control
  • lack of strength to move or grip objects
  • limited range of reach and motion

Some examples of motor disabilities are: 

  • arthritis
  • cerebral palsy
  • paralysis
  • muscular dystrophy
  • Parkinson’s
  • broken arm

Some people with motor disabilities have difficulty using a standard keyboard or mouse. For example, some people with Parkinson’s lack fine motor control and therefore have difficulty selecting controls with the mouse.

Others may have difficulty pressing multiple keys at the same time, such as the Ctrl+Alt+Delete combination in Windows.

Assistive Technology for People with Motor Disabilities

Assistive technology is any item, piece of equipment, software program, or product system that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of persons with disabilities. To get around barriers presented by motor disabilities, users with mobility and dexterity impairments often rely on alternative input devices.

Alternative input devices allow people with motor disabilities to interact with a computer without using a standard mouse or keyboard.

Some examples of Alternative Input devices that can be helpful to those with motor disabilities are:

  • One Handed KeyboardOne handed keyboards are specifically designed for individuals who use a single right or single left hand to type. These keyboards are ideal for individuals with limited dexterity.


  • Speech Recognition: Speech recognition software is often used by people with limited to no mobility, but who can speak clearly. It allows a user to dictate to the computer, to control applications.


  • On-screen keyboard: On-screen keyboards allows a user with a pointing device – such as a mouse, head-stick, or eye gaze to point to and activate specific keys on an interface laid out like a keyboard.
    On-screen keyboards also provide switch access to people who may not be able to move a pointing device, but who could push a button with their head, use their tongue, or sip or puff through a tube.