Some people are unable to access a communication system through direct access (e.g., touching a device or using a joystick or mouse) due to severe motor impairments. Indirect Selection allows the person to use switches to operate a communication device. The person must wait while the device steps through various choices. When the user sees and/or hears the desired selection, he/she then activates a switch to indicate his/her selection. There are a variety of types of scanning including automatic scanning, step-scanning, and 2 switch scanning. There are also a variety of switches available meant to suit the needs of the person with complex communication needs. A switch can be placed in whatever location the person has most control over (e.g., head, hand, foot, knee, mouth, etc.). Determining the type of switch and placement of the switch is very important in providing the person with complex communication needs with an efficient way to access a communication device A switch assessment should be conducted as part of the AAC assessment if indirect selection is determined to be the best access method.
For more information about alternative access methods following are links to various switch manufacturing websites: