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  • Which Hand do you Drive With?

    Posted by ryan-berhar-2 on November 10, 2018 at 10:24 pm

    I’ve always driven my chair with my weaker left hand. Switching my joystick to the right side seemed like a no brainer, but when I tried it a few years ago, I realized I didn’t like it because I could no longer multitask. For example, I couldn’t use my phone while operating my chair. However, my left arm/hand is so weak now that I frequently need help placing my thumb back on the joystick. This problem would be eliminated by moving my joystick to the right side, so I think the pros of more independence probably outweigh the cons of not being able to multitask. Do you guys prefer driving with your weaker hand or your more dominant one?

    david-z replied 5 years, 3 months ago 5 Members · 12 Replies
  • 12 Replies
  • kevin-schaefer

    Member
    November 11, 2018 at 4:42 pm

    Interesting question. I’ve always used my right-hand to drive, but I get the frustrations of trying to multitask and operate your chair. Using my tray helps a lot with this. I can keep one hand propped on my tray and near my phone, and use the other to drive. Plus when I got my current chair, I had my tech people cut out a part of the tray and have the joystick placed in that spot. It helps, because it makes it much easier for me to get my right hand back and forth between my joystick and the tray. Hope that helps.

    • ryan-berhar-2

      Member
      November 12, 2018 at 9:54 pm

      I guess both of your arms and hands are pretty equal in terms of strength/weakness, right? I’m sure it doesn’t matter as much for some, but for me it’s more of a dilemma.

      • kevin-schaefer

        Member
        November 13, 2018 at 8:17 am

        They’re about the same, but I do use my right hand a lot more. But yeah, I recommend a tray or something for support. I feel like you’d exert less energy that way and be more mobile. Just a suggestion.

      • ryan-berhar-2

        Member
        November 13, 2018 at 4:29 pm

        Trays are not very useful for me beyond handwriting, because they sort of eliminate whatever leverage I have. For example, the way I use my phone is resting my phone on my leg, and resting my hand on my hip pad. This works extremely well for me, and is not possible with a tray. Hopefully that makes sense. Kind of hard to explain.

      • kevin-schaefer

        Member
        November 14, 2018 at 10:03 am

        Gotcha. Yeah I mean every SMA person is different, and you have to do what works best for you.

  • adnan-hafizovic

    Member
    November 13, 2018 at 10:58 am

    I m  a left handed but also use joystick with right weaker hand.Probably I use it with right hand because I had always got wheelchairs with joystick on right side.But I haven t any problems with that.

  • deann-r

    Member
    November 13, 2018 at 5:39 pm

    I’m right hand dominant, with my left much weaker. My joystick is on the right. I couldn’t imagine driving with my left, but I can see what you’re saying. If I have to carry something it can’t be very heavy. I say both arms together equal about half an average arm. Have you tried various joystick positions or different knob types that would be easier to get in position? I would think it would be awfully difficult to switch driving sides.

  • ryan-berhar-2

    Member
    November 14, 2018 at 10:26 pm

    DeAnn and Yvette, I use a mini joystick. I think it’s the most sensitive joystick available. That’s all my left hand is capable of at this point. One idea I had was to modify the platform my driving hand rests on. It’s just a little rectangular pad, but if I put some sort of border around it, it might keep my hand in position better.

    • deann-r

      Member
      November 15, 2018 at 9:58 am

      That might not be a bad idea to try.  As I’m a crafter I know they make a variety of foam tape.  It would be soft, but have a ledge to keep in position.  I’m thinking you could find it in the weather stripping department or ask at a hardware store. May be worth a shot.

      • ryan-berhar-2

        Member
        November 15, 2018 at 7:05 pm

        Yeah something like that

  • david-z

    Member
    November 20, 2018 at 9:33 pm
  • kevin-schaefer

    Member
    November 14, 2018 at 10:07 am

    That’s a good point about change. For me, I was hesitant to switch from the t-shaped joystick to the ball-shaped one when I got my current chair. However, I’m really glad I made that switch. The ball one is easier for me to control, and I have an easier time getting my right hand from the joystick to my phone.

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