"So, what are Battery Interrupters anyway?", you ask. Well, they are a little disk with a plug on the end. Slip these little guys between your battery and the compartment contacts to stop, or "interrupt", the power. This allows you to plug a switch into the other end to "un-interrupt" the power and make the toy or device go.So, dig around in your closets and find all those battery operated toys and devices and start making your own switch adapted toys and devices. As long as they don't have remotes, complex electronics, or use squeeze activation, you should be able to adapt them. Battery Interrupters are made for devices with batteries sizes AA/AAA or C/D. Pick an interrupter made for the size batteries in the device. Slip the disk between the battery and the contact and insert them simultaneously. When removing the interrupter, remove the batteries and allow the interrupter to come out along with them. Some battery compartments are very tight, thus not allowing for enough space to insert a battery interrupter. In this instance, do not force the interrupter into the battery compartment; as you will most likely break or fray the wires. Using a triangle shaped file, make a notch in the battery compartment cover (if the plastic is soft you may be able to clip a notch using wire nippers). This lets the compartment cover go back on while allowing the wire of the battery interrupter to fit through.
Now, make sure the device is switched ON and plug in your favorite switch
Press your switch and the device comes on. Let go and it turns off. If you are adapting devices for someone who is just learning to use a switch (learning "cause-effect") this is the perfect setup. If the user is more advanced, they may not want to hold the switch down the entire time. Plug in a Switch Latch and Timer (SLAT) such as AbleNet's Mini Beamer or Dual Switch Latch Timer between the battery interrupter and the switch. Now you can set it to Latch so that when the switch is pressed and released the device stays on until the switch is pressed again. Or, set it to Timer so that after the switch is pressed and released the device stays on for a predetermined amount of time before it goes off. Now the user doesn't have to hold the switch down the entire time the device is on.
These devices are available through a variety of vendors, including Adaptive Tech Solutions (www.AdaptiveTechSolutions.com)