I have 2 clients with different issues that I’m having difficulty finding pointing devices for. Looking for suggestions:
1) Need a pointing device that can be held (like a mouse) but has buttons that are set further apart for clicking. Client has limited use/movement of fingers but can move the mouse with his palm.
Buttons on the standard mouse are so close together that he often clicks on the wrong one… Limited mobility/dexterity with fingers eliminates use of trackball.
I’m thinking of having him switch to voice activated software but cognitive issues making learning something new very challenging and daunting.
2) CAD drafter who CLICKS all day needs something that requires less force for clicking and might allow him to use different digits, (or even his palm?) To do continuous clicking required by the nature of his work. Any type of mic that could be attached to the system that would let him just say "click" but still use the mouse for pointing?
Thanks for any suggestions or ideas!Anne Shihadeh CSHM, CPDM
For the CAD drafter, have you considered a Foot Mouse? Another alternative is a software program such as RSIGuard that allows you to hover over an item and the mouse clicks automatically once you’ve hovered for the length of time you select. You have to get used to using it so it’s not clicking on things that you don’t want to click on but it’s a possible alternative.
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If you haven’t already, be sure to check out Infogrip (http://www.infogrip.com). They have tons of alternative mice. Surely there’s something there to try. It’s kind of like a Sears catalog for alternative mice and keyboards. Nice.
Here are also a couple of cheap solutions…
1) It sounds like your client can still click the mouse buttons. It’s been a while, but I used to open up mice in order to switch adapt them. Most are pretty straight forward to open (snap fit or tiny screws under stickers). From there you could deactivate the right click button…maybe by removing the tab under the actual button plate or disconnecting the micro switch that serves as the right click button. You could get a cheap mouse for under $20 or an old mouse someone has in a drawer somewhere and experiment.
I’m not enough of a Mac genius to know if you could plug in an Apple single button mouse and have it work on a PC. I would bet yes knowing Apple. So that may be a cheap alternative too.
Infogrip will also have some good solutions for you.
2) As far as a cheap solution for your CAD guy, you may look at using the built-in software Mouse Keys in the accessibility area of your Windows machine. If he’s not using the number pad exclusively this might be an option. Pressing the 5 button on the number pad (with Mouse Keys turned on) acts as a left mouse click. He could use the other hand to press the 5 if needed or maybe moving the right hand from mouse to keyboard isn’t such a bad thing to reduce those static postures.
If you are looking for dwell click software (where the mouse rests on an item for a short period of time in order to act as a click), check out Point-N-Click (http://www.polital.com/pnc/). It’s free software. I’ve use it and their free on-screen keyboard for years with clients. The best part is that it’s free with no strings (or pop ups) attached.
As before, Infogrip will have lots of solutions too.
Hope that helps.
GREAT IDEAS!!! Thanks so much for the creative solutions! I’ll post what worked in the end so others can share in the outcome.
I’ve never considered the foot mouse for any of my clients, always had visions of tarsal tunnel syndrome in the back of my mind, as if carpal tunnel wasn’t enough!
Anne Shihadeh CSHM, CPDM
sorry this has taken awhile to get online. I accidentally posted it in the wrong section! Better late than never!
To add to the great recomendations already, I would like to suggest a commercially available switch adapted mouse (from Infogrip for about $50.00) and a switch (range from $50.00 up, also on Infogrip). Commonly used switches are the Jellybean or Buddy switches, or for very light touch ther is the microlite. Switches can be mounted anywhere (with good old velcro), and used with any part of the body. The switch adapted mouse has a port for both the left and right click, but most of the time I find folks can get by with just adapting the left click. The switch adapted mouse is a regular mouse, and the switch can be used by the opposite hand, or any other access site for the "click". I also often recomend "Dragger" or other dwell programs to eliminate the need to click to select. Voice recognition is great for text input, but a little bulky and slow for mouse movements and making selections. Good luck and have fun with this. They are easy solutions that can solve lots of problems. Kathleen Shanfield, OTR/L
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