Numerous technologies were developed specifically to assist individuals with disabilities and later adopted for use by broader markets including long playing records, multitrack tape recorders, cassette tape recorders, the ballpoint pen, and remote controls for televisions ( Edwards 1995). Other technologies - such as standard personal computers - were originally developed for the general public, and adapted for use by individuals with disabilities later. Still other technologies that may be powerful tools for individuals with disabilities have never been adapted to the needs, abilities, and limitations of these potential users.
Speech recognition can be a powerful tool for individuals with disabilities that limit their ability to use their hands and arms - as long as they retain their ability to speak. For example, individuals with spinal cord injuries, severe repetitive stress injuries, upper extremity amputations, arthrogryposis, arthritis, and muscular dystrophy could all benefit from effective speech recognition systems. Unfortunately, traditional interaction dialogs with speech recognition systems fail to consider the difficulties these users encounter.
In this paper we focus on the use of speech recognition systems by individuals with a specific set of spinal cord injuries as is outlined in the following section. We discuss points in the interaction process where these individuals experience difficulty using traditional off-the-shelf speech recognition systems. Our goal is to highlight these shortcomings, propose some potential solutions, and motivate____________________