Instant Text in the Press

'One-Size-Fits-All' Word Process Option

by Miriam Struck, MA, OTR/L, ATP

Advance for Occupational Therapists, January 1997

Q. I am looking for a word processing program that can be used with a diverse group of students with disabilities. Some are learning disabled, but I also have student with hemiplegia and one with limited hand use. I have a limited budget and I hope I only have to purchase one program.

You could be in luck, I recently discovered a program that may meet your needs.

Instant Text, from Textware Solutions (781-272-3200) is a word processing software that uses word abbreviation to cut down on the amount of keystrokes for fast text entry. It was designed for the workplace where workers need to enter information quickly and accurately such as order information or inventory.

Using word abbreviation can assist persons with disabilities with written language as well. Instead of typing out whole words or phrases, the user can type a sequence of initials and the program will enter it in the text. For example, rom will appear as range of motion. Abbreviations in this program do not need to be memorized. The program just requires that the initials used be given in the appropriate order.

In cases where the same initials are used for different words or phrases, markers (using back slash, forward slash, semi colon etc.) can be used to distinguish them from one another.

Up to eight glossaries for particular subjects being written about

The program has up to eight glossaries that can be used for particular subjects being written about. The glossaries can also be customized. The Importer feature also allows the possibility of importing abbreviation lists, while keeping the old ones.

Instant Text can be customized to be used as a stand alone text entry program or with a wordprocessing program. Instant Text also can be used on a pen computer in combination with the FITALY One-Finger Keyboard program that is included in the package. FITALY provides an on-screen keyboard designed for one finger or pen data entry.

The keyboard layout is designed for limited range of motion. Mouse movement and click can also be used for data entry. The keyboard can interact with 32 bit applications such as Word 7 and WordPerfect 7. The manufacturer recently informed me that some users are now using the product with graphic tablets.

This program is appropriate for students in the middle and high-school levels and for adults with good cognitive skills in reading, memory, motivation, interest, and attention. Trainers will need to allow adequate time for the user to customize abbreviations and to gain familiarity with it. This is a program that can grow with the user.

Instant Text is IBM and Windows compatible.




About the author:
Miriam Struck has worked with assistive technology since 1988, in both school and home settings. She has presented at national and international conferences and conducted workshops on assistive technology. She is an Assistant Professor at Towson University and also provides consultation and training in AT.

Copyright © 1997 Myriam Struck
Reproduced with permission of Myriam Struck