Landline phone keyguard: Are there any products to help someone with tremors dial a phone without accidentally hitting the wrong numbers?

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Are there any products to help someone with tremors dial a phone without accidentally hitting the wrong numbers?

Question

I'm looking for a landline phone that has a keyguard. I have a client with tremors who is unable to dial correctly due to accidentally pressing the wrong buttons. I'm wondering if a keyguard on his phone would help him stay independent with phoning people.

Our answer

Keyguards can be very useful for people with tremors to prevent pressing other buttons accidentally. Keyguards are typically customized to fit keyboards, Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) devices, or specific apps on touch screen devices. Unfortunately, there appears to be a significant gap in the area of providing keyguards for landline phones. In fact, a study commission by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) in 2011 found that “people with less severe tremors may be able to benefit from… guarded/recessed hardware controls… except that these are not widely available.” 

As keyguards are typically very customized to the phone, and we were only able to identify a keyguard (at keyguardat.com) for a specific Teletypewriter (TTY) telephone. (at chs.ca) Since, we have been unable to identify a device or technology that appropriately addresses the challenge you are experiencing we have included a few other options.

To have a keyguard customized for your client’s landline phone, you may want to reach out to CanAssist and submit a technology request form. Please visit CanAssist’s website to learn more about how you can make a request.

There are a few other commercially available options to consider. For example, a big button landline phone can be useful in cases where the user has mild tremors. The FC-1507 Big Button Phone by Future-Call (at amazon.ca) is an amplified landline phone that features large clear buttons and a flashing ringer. It costs about $50 (Cdn) plus a shipping fee.

Another option is voice dialing, these products can be built into a landline phone or attached to the existing landline phone. The Totally Hands Free – Voice Activated Telephone by Assistive Technology Services is a landline phone system that allows for voice dialing and hands-free speakerphone. Once the phone is set up, you can dial and talk on the phone without touching the phone at all. This product costs about $300 (U.S.) plus shipping fees. Vocally Infinity by Activocal (available from specialneedscomputers.ca) is a voice-activated dialer attachment for landline phones. It can store up to 45 different phone numbers and dial new numbers using voice commands. This product cost about $375 (Cdn).

Finally, using wrist weights can sometimes be effective in dampening a tremor, possibly allowing the user to accurately dial a phone number. These Adjustable Ankle and Wrist Weights by Sportneer (available from amazon.ca) can hold between one to five pounds each and are made of a soft breathable neoprene. This product costs about $40 (Cdn).

If you still can’t find what you're looking for, please ask us a question.

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