Substitute for a computer mouse?, Part 2

Dennis Faas's picture

Recall --

Last week I posted an article in which Infopackets Reader Ron H. asked for alternative solutions to using a PC mouse. Ron wrote:

" I recently had a stroke which has left me paralyzed on the right side of my body. As a result, I am now unable to use the computer mouse with any degree of accuracy. I was wondering if you or any of your Readers could recommend a product that I can use to help me navigate my computer in place of the mouse. I am currently typing this email to you with the aid of Dragon NaturallySpeaking, which inputs words on the screen using my voice. Any assistance you or your Readers can provide would be greatly appreciated. "

In my response, I suggested Ron use a Trackball device or PC keyboard with a touchpad. I also asked Infopackets Readers for alternative solutions. Infopackets Reader Richard C. writes:

" As an Occupational Therapist for the last 27 years, I have have seen a lot of changes and advancements in both my field and the field of computers. Ron's case is not that uncommon, yet, I have found not much has been developed for the disabled, especially the neurologically impaired. The voice recognition that Ron uses is probably the best of the bunch as long as ones speech is not affected. My question to Ron is, how has this stroke affected [his] ability in vision, coordination (the unaffected side), sensory loss, etc? It may be a matter of training the non affected side to use the mouse (assuming its the non-dominate hand). "

Reader John Doe writes:

" There is an experimental technology that uses movements of the nose as input, rather than moving a mouse. It's dubbed the "nouse", and as far as I know there it is not yet on the market. However, it could be something to look for in the future. Some information can be found on the newScientist web site. "

D. Armond writes:

" As an EMT / Paramedic / Physician's Assistant for the last 18 years, I have the following suggestions for Ron. Firstly, mouse replacements are a poor substitute for the rubber ball they should have given [him] upon discharge from the hospital. I suggest that Ron exercise [his] frozen muscles as much as possible; get someone to help you do so.

Secondly, if there's a physician in your area familiar with Hyperbaric Oxygenation (HO) treatments, seek him out. HO treatments are the greatest thing in the world for stroke patients and many have regained full use of their limbs! I've even seen men who were bald begin re-growing hair after a few HO treatments! In the meantime, please know there are many of us out here keeping you in our prayers! Be well soon -- but don't forget to exercise. "

D. Crater writes:

" I had a stroke too on my right side too. It's a small world -- especially when you know that stroke is the third largest killer and disabler out there in America. I wonder if Ron is aware of changing the mouse buttons from right handedness to left handedness? There's a whole lot of Accessibility Options under Windows XP's Control Panel. MouseKeys are a great alternative (if you can type). If you can't, try Sticky Keys or Filter Keys (there are several tabs to "Accessibility" in Control Panel). It's easy. For the longest time I was having trouble with the mouse too, and someone told me this, and now that my mouse has adapted and I think I use filter keys it's very easy. I have a permanently paralyzed right arm. "

C. Newsome writes:

" A freeware utility called JoyMouse might help Ron. It turns a joystick in to a mouse. He might be able to use it with his left hand. "

Kevin F. writes:

" I saw a device called MouseTrapper on TechTV. From the web site: 'The MouseTrapper is an ergonomically designed mechanical device fitted to your computer keyboard in seconds and designed to prevent and relieve Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) and typing stress.' "

Katrina B. writes:

" After reading Ron's email about not using a mouse due to stroke, I did some searches on some of my favorite disability sites and found this link that you might want to evaluate and see if it is worth passing on to him. "

Victor J. writes:

" There is a site called '' that may help. From the web site: 'The Alliance for Technology Access (ATA) is a network of community-based Resource Centers, Developers, Vendors and Associates dedicated to providing information and support services to children and adults with disabilities, and increasing their use of standard, assistive, and information technologies.' "

Jon R. writes:

" Your suggestion to use a trackball is the best option. I have rheumatoid arthritis causing hand and arm movement to be very painful. I invested in a Logitech wireless trackball and it is excellent. The cursor is controlled by a minimum of thumb movement. Care should be taken with initial setup regarding cursor movement and acceleration etc. I bought mine three years ago and am completely satisfied. My best wishes to Ron, I know exactly the frustration he will be feeling. "

Barbara L. writes:

" Typing tutorials teach methods for typing more effectively and rapidly with one hand on a standard keyboard; One-handed keyboards utilize right and left controls for typing with a reduced number of keys to depress; Software conversion allows one-handed typing by electronically re-assigning keys onto half of the standard keyboard. There's News and Information for the Disabled Community from "

Ren A. writes:

" I use to teach beginners how to avoid the 'mousetrap' using the ideas from a free leaflet now called 'Windows Super User', available from The free eBook is in .PDF format (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader, free). NOTE: use the download link from Germany to download the eBook; the USA download appears to be corrupt. "

Thanks to all who wrote in with their wonderful suggestions.

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