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HANDI - HAMS: Where abilities and disabilities become possibilities

The Handi-Ham System:
People with disabilities will find the world of Amateur Radio easy to enter, and for individuals restricted to the confines of a bed and four walls, Amateur Radio can be a vehicle for communication, fraternity and fellowship with other human beings in the outside world. A valuable therapeutic tool, Amateur Radio continues to hold a profound appeal for individuals with physical handicaps. It is a means of people-to-people contact on a basis of absolute equality - two minds communicating and relating on a level of mutual and equal empathy.

A special-interest organization is set up for radio amateurs with disabilities. Called the Courage HANDI-HAM system, this group is an international service organization of over 2000 handicapped and ablebodied radio amateurs working together to bring ham radio to individuals with physical handicaps. There are HANDI-HAM members in every province, state, and in 20 other countries ready to help. They can provide text books (or cassette recordings thereof), code practice tapes, a key and a code practice oscillator. There are local HANDI-HAMs to assist you with studies at home. Once you receive your license, the Courage HANDI-HAM system may lend you basic ham radio equipment to get you started on the air.



Some Comments about CW:
VE3BVL - I am 87 and very hard of hearing. I can hear CW better than phone so I work CW most of the time. As you know there are a lot of CW operators who really enjoy the code.

VE5EB - If I had a hearing impairment I would like to keep CW. Some of these people can hear dits and dahs better than the human voice. I don't think we should leave these people out.



New uses for the old code - Morse2000

Morse proves to be a boon in helping the disabled to communicate - -

Morse 2000 Worldwide Outreach is giving Morse code a new lease on life to help rehabilitate and educate people with special needs and disabilities. The first Morse 2000 World Conference was set for late October in Minnesota.

Because it can be sent using a binary-opposition movement pattern, Morse code can be generated with left-right, push-pull, and puff-sip control.

The code, used in communication for the past 150 years, and being phased out in many spheres, has proven to be among the best of several adaptive computer-access methods and augmentative or alternative communication techniques for many people with special needs.

We now have over 2000 participants in 27 countries, says Debra King, N9GLG, the director of Morse 2000 Worldwide Outreach. King manages the Office of Continuing Education in Human Sciences and Services at the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire, and enthusiastically promotes the use of Morse code in rehabilitation and education.

Through her encouragement, various Morse code programs are being used or tested to allow people such as those with spinal cord injuries to converse.

She provides information for occupational therapists or speech pathologists and promotes the advantages of using Morse code to help their patients. The information that she provides can save the therapist-patient team years of research attempting to find the best methods and selecting reliable equipment.

Results have generated heart-warming success stories, especially at learning centers and childrern's hospitals around the world, as reported in MORSEls, the Morse 2000 newsletter.

One researcher told of the case of a woman with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) who had lost her ability to speak but was able to communicate using Morse code, at first by blinking her eyes and later by using an optical switch activated by jaw movement that was wired to a PC. The same researcher told of a stroke patient who employed his very limited movement to send Morse code messages to his wife. Another report tells of a stroke victim who is able to talk in Morse code by activating a chin switch.

Speech pathologist Thomas King, WF9I, Debra King's husband and the editor of MORSEls, called Morse code one tool of many in providing adaptive access for those unable to communicate through conventional means. He told of a young man who had been severely injured and rendered a quadriplegic after being hit by a car as a youngster. He retained facial movement and can speak (although he's on a ventilator), but he can use Morse via a puff-and-sip switch to write 20 wpm or so.