Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Typing With One Hand, Part 1

When I entered the 10th grade, I registered for typing class.  I knew typing was typically done with 2 hands but the fact that I only had one did not occur to me.  I had become quite proficient in junior high using the hunt-and-peck method and loved typing so I knew I would love this class.  However, after 5 minutes in class the first day, the teacher informed me that there was no reason for me to sit through the class since he was pretty sure that I would not be able to type.  He said I should go to the principal’s office and wait there for my next class.  So…I got up and left.  I didn’t think much of it.  It actually made some kind of sense. 

At dinner that night, Dad asked how my first day of high school went.  I told him it was great but I could not take typing.  As if he did not hear me, he said, “What?!  What do you mean you can’t take typing?”  Before I could answer, he said decisively, “Yes, you… can… type.  There is a book.  They will order this book and they will teach you how to type.”   

In fact, there was a book called “Typing with the Left Hand.”  Turned over to the other side, it was entitled “Typing with the Right Hand.”  I often wondered how my dad knew that.  It took about 2 weeks for the book to arrive and I started my self-led typing class in the principal’s office.  The home row for either hand is f-g-h-j.  Many words are typed with just one finger, like my little finger (were, awards, cards, are, tree, saw, dear, cares, lip, etc.).  These same words are typed using only the pointer finger for those with just the right hand, etc.  Each day I memorized several more keys.  Single letters soon became pages of text and I did not have to look at the typewriter!  This was definitely much faster than my hunt-and-peck method. 

Two weeks later and when I reached the same speed (34 wpm) as my class, I rejoined them.  At the end of the 10th grade, my average speed was 110 words per minute on a manual typewriter. 

After college, my first job was a medical transcriptionist (MT), a person who types medical records from a dictated voice file.  I did this for 41 years for various hospitals, private doctors, large transcription companies and as my own business.  I loved this job because my disability (one hand and no legs) had absolutely no impact.  I was, for the first time, just “one of the gang.”  In fact, as transcription moved more and more to working out of the home, I could apply, be hired, and begin working without anyone even knowing I was disabled.  What a different world!

To Be Continued...

One-Handed Typing Websites, Tips and Hints Coming Soon - Typing with One Hand, Part 2