Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Morse Code Has A Role In Physical Therapy

Morse Code Helps Man Live With Physical Disability
 by: Gerald Wheeler Ed.D., W6TJP

In 1979, eleven year old Steve Harper, unable to speak due to the physical disability, cerebral palsy, had never heard of Morse code and was struggling to communicate with a head stick, symbol board and typewriter. Using these methods made communication arduous since someone had to be right there with Steve when he tried to get his messages understood. He slowly signaled by pointing to various symbols and letters. First he had to gain the undivided attention of an adult and then feebly attempt to have them understand his erratic gestures. Even using the typewriter was awkward and painful. People often ignored what he wrote making him constantly discouraged. His frustration with being unable to enjoy normal activities for children of his age was aggravated by his inability to interact with others effectively. He felt very little independence as speech eluded him, so that he had trouble getting anyone's attention.

That same year the University of Washington received a grant to research the use of Morse code as an assistive technology for the disabled. Steve's speech therapist enabled him to be a subject of the research grant at the University of Washington where he was taught the Morse code. Steve was chosen as one of four children to participate in this research. Although Steven and his parents neither liked learning code and initially resisted it, within only two weeks he had mastered the forty-four Morse code characters. He says his life became much easier after he began using the Morse code communicator because he got his messages out twice as fast as before and he gained independence so he could function all by himself.

Ever since then he has used Morse code as his assistive technology. He has a lot more independence due to Morse code being adaptable to the computer. Anyone using the technology can write and then speak by using a speech synthesizer. Morse code has made Steve's life and the lives of other disabled people easier.

More recently, Steve Harper serves as a volunteer mentor for the disabled at the University of Washington. Telling his story he says that he could neither walk nor talk due to an oxygen deficiency that occurred at birth. He says, I use a Morse code communicator, which is mounted on the front of my wheelchair. I have two switches on each side of my head where I tap out the Morse code. The right side switch is dots, left side is dashes, and I drive my wheelchair using my head, too. I have this thing called "KE:NX," a special adapter that allows me to use my Morse code with a MAC computer so I can really communicate with you.

A brave young man who has overcome major physical obstacles, he is now a computer technology guru and believes that much of his accomplishment is a result of his experience with the Morse code.
About The Author
Gerald R. Wheeler, (Jerry) Ed.D. W6TJP, Author, Educator, Morse Code instructor, Inventor of Code Quick, to help you master morse code the quick and easy way. With the new Code Quick you can learn the most used universal code language around. Morse Code Quick guarantees your success. The author invites you to visit his website.
Click Here
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The Importance Of Morse Code In Medicine

Morse Code Assists in Medical Conditions
 by: Gerald Wheeler Ed.D., W6TJP

A 79-year-old English woman was injured in a fall and suffered severe brain damage. She was unable to move or speak but she could still understand her surroundings. Her knowledge of Morse code helped her to communicate with those around her. Her son Alan sat at her bedside for 16 weeks while she recovered and thought about ways to communicate with her. He remembered that she had learned Morse code as a child from her father. Alan says, Of course, she hadn't used it for 60 years so obviously she was rusty, but remembered it and it all grew from there.

Alan Jones made a communication device out of a margarine tub and shower curtain ring. Mrs. Jones can understand what people are saying but must use the Morse code to respond. The first thing she said using the code was How is Fred? in reference to her pet tortoise. Her son Alan is now working on a way to have her Morse code tapping appear on a computer screen for faster communication. It was good that Mrs. Jones's father taught her Morse code. You never know when it will be needed.

A friend of the author suffered from ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, so named for a famous New York Yankees first baseman. 2,130 consecutive games played from 1925 through 1938 earned him the nickname of the Iron Horse. During his career Lou set over 20 records including four home runs in one game! With a lifetime batting average of 340, when he was stopped by a mysterious illness, a disease of the motor neurons, muscle-controlling nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement. His body literally wasted away. Following Lou's death, ALS was given the name of Lou Gehrig's Disease.

The author's friend suffered a similar fate, and after diagnosis was informed that he might survive, with proper care, up to five years. His condition rapidly deteriorated and he soon began to lose his ability to speak. Bedridden, he scratched notes and family members learned to read his grunts, but his mind continued to function normally, making him increasingly frustrated. After we shared the Morse code program with him being known as Code Quick, he learned it rapidly and began to communicate by blinking Morse code with his eyes. No longer unable to communicate, he appeared to be much more contented during his final days of life.

It has been reported that people who are both blind and deaf have been taught to communicate with Morse code through the use of a skin buzzer. Imagine how this simple technology might have helped Helen Keller as she struggled to understand and communicate without hearing or sight during her early years.

Morse code has had numerous uses over time, but the most compassionate is its application with the sick and disabled. With limited sensory ability, the patient's capacity to maintain communication with loved ones and family continues to offer hope and encouragement during degenerative illnesses. People at Handi-ham exist to provide free information and services for people suffering disabling conditions.

Gerald R. Wheeler, (Jerry) Ed.D. W6TJP, Author, Educator, Morse Code instructor, Inventor of Code Quick, to help you master morse code the quick and easy way. With the new Code Quick, you can learn the most used universal code language around. Morse Code Quick guarantees your success.The author invites you to visit: . For info click here
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