October 2006 - Assistive Technology Devices

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Family Resources: October 2006

One of the of the aims of the TRIS project is to raise awareness of rare trisomy conditions and the variety of situations and concerns families encounter. This page is intended to share resources that families can use in their daily lives.

We are now archiving previous months' Family Resources pages.

Assistive Technology Devices

With so many assistive technology devices available, it is difficult to know which one is right for your child. Between toggle switches, mouth sticks, light pointers, jelly bean switches, trackballs, touch screens, BIG mack switches, sip-and-puff systems, and wands, there is a great deal of information to go through. TRIS has compiled information on BIG mack, jellybean, and toggle switches to help make the search easier for you and your family.

The resources below provide information and links about BIG mack switches, jelly bean switches, and toggle switches. The links provide general information, prices, and availability. Many of the links we have listed also provide information on new products, along with information about loaning libraries.

BIG mack switches are used by many people because it is simple to operate and has digital technology which allows audio recording for up to 20 seconds. The BIG mack also offers a one shot timer to prevent sound repetition. Both of these attributes could be helpful tools in your child’s learning.

You should also browse the products at Ablenet.

Jellybean switches are easy to use and adapt to your child’s needs. Jellybean switches are available in many models, colors, and sizes. Jellybean switches are the updated version of the BIG mack or big red switch. It is more compact which means it will not take up as much space in front of your child as the BIG mack or big red switch did. Jellybean switches are activated wherever your child presses on the top surface, and are durable enough for years of use. Prices of jellybean switches can vary, we have included several links with varying prices.

New in 2005, the Jelly Beamer, a wireless jellybean switch. The Jelly Beamer’s wireless capabilities it can easily be passed between students, does not clutter the work area with wires and fosters turn-taking.

A toggle switch a type of electrical switch that use a mechanical lever, handle, or rocking mechanism for activation. Toggle switches are available in many different styles and sizes. Information on ordering and installing are located at :

  • Action Electronics
  • Standard Carling Technology
  • Honeywell

There are many mounting systems that can be used with many switches. For example, the Magic Arm, Slim Armstrong, and the Universal Switch Mounting System can be used. The Magic Arm has a base clamp that will securely attach to anything. It stays in place and can be attached to any keyboard. Slim Armstrong can be adjusted in place any length you need. It stretches from 4” to 20.5” and rotates 360 degrees so it can be used in any situation. The Universal Switch Mounting System can be used anywhere with any switch. The versatility of this mounting system makes it a helpful accessory for any child.

Find ordering and pricing information for all of these mounting systems at EnableMart.

While looking for information about switches, TRIS came across loan libraries where parents may try out assistive technology for a trial period to determine if the device meets their child’s needs. This trial use will also allow the user to gain experience before purchasing the device. We are including several links for loan libraries in the United States.

IPAT Technology Access Center

Oregon Technology Access Program

Easter Seals Disability Services

Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency

Western Kentucky Assistive Technology Center