- A Battery adapter can transform any battery
operated (AC) toy or device for switch activation. (View our handout
on adapting a battery-operated toy/device.)
- An Environmental Control Unit (ECU) is an interface
for any electrical (DC) appliance with an on/off switch.
- A Switch Latch is connected between the switch
and the target device. One touch of the switch turns the device
on; the next turns it off.
- A Timer connects between the switch and the
target device. The device will run for a set amount of time (from
1 to 60 seconds) after the switch is activated.
- A Switch Latch-Timer offers both features:
timer and latch. It can be set to turn the tape player on for
5 seconds. The user must then re-activate the switch.
- A Series Adapter is an interface used between
a target device and two switches. Both switches must be activated
for the device to turn on.
- A Jack Adapter converts the size of the switch
jack to match the size on the toy or interface.
For optimal switch use, several things must be considered:
1. The child should be in a comfortable position.
Wherever the child is positioned, in a chair, at a table, or on
the floor, the child should be secure so that she can expend energy
on participation. She should not be putting effort into balancing
or maintaining a particular position. Watch for signs of fatigue.
2. Place the switch near the child's preferred, most reliable
access site. Reflexive or abnormal movement patterns should
not be considered appropriate sites. Switch placement should not
interfere with stable body positioning. Accidental "hits"
are natural consequences!
3. Place the device that the child is activating in close
proximity to the switch itself. The closer the switch is
to the reacting device, the more concrete the cause/effect relationship
Secure the switch in a stable position so that
it doesn't move out of place when activated. Special switch holders
are available or items such as suction cups, Dycem (a non-slip material)
or a combination of Show Loop fabric (loop Velcro) with hook Velcro
adhered to the switch, will stabilize the switch.
- Mounting systems can provide more sophisticated switch securement.
These can include a combination of clamps, mounts, mounting plates,
rods and flexible arms. Pieces are sold separately or as systems
- Hand/arm splints, wedges or customized supports can help a student
be more accurate.
- You can further customize switches to make them more appealing
or functional, by adding color stickers or textures.
5. As children should be repositioned frequently throughout the
day, consider more than one switch access site, mounting
system, and/or switch for different activities in different
positions. The stamina of the child, the environments and activity
requirements will help to identify the most successful solutions.