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Mouse alternatives

Some students have difficulty using a standard mouse but still want to access a computer that is designed for mouse rather than touch use.

Using the rule of thumb that we try to give students access to devices that is as ‘ordinary’ as possible (rather than highly specialised) this post outlines some key options for alternative mice.

Before launching into alternative mouse options don’t forget that Windows, Mac and Chromebook computers have inbuilt options for mouse control. These are available in the control panel or settings and typically allow you to slow down mouse movement, choose from a range of pointers and change way that laptop touch-pads work.

Mouse alternatives are often used with onscreen keyboards where a mouse click is used to for typing. Onscreen keyboards are also available through the operating system.

Ergonomic mice

Mice now come in a range of styles and sizes. Some are designed specifically to reduce the risk of repetitive strain injuries (RSI) and others are for specific hand shapes. They tend to be relatively inexpensive and are closest to the ordinary mouse.

An internet image search is probably the best way to have a look at this range.



Roller and trackballs

The rollerball or track ball mice have a rotating ball that moves the mouse. Movement is usually with your thumb, fingers or the palm of your hand. Separate buttons are used for the mouse click. Some rollers (and joysticks) also come with quick speed controls.



Joysticks come with a number of grip options to move the mouse.



Most laptops already have a touchpad but larger touch-pads can also be added.


Smart phone apps

Smartphones can now be used to control mouse movement via bluetooth. With the right app a smartphone screen can turn into a mini wireless trackpad. These are very good if the student has limited hand movement or reach.

Examples include:


I have seen a few reviews for pens and gloves that control mouse actions. If anyone has actually tried these I would love to hear from you.

More specialised options – head, mouth, eye and voice

Some highly specialised options are also available. People who need these options are likely to have support from specialists working in this field (such as occupational therapists and physiotherapists).

To have a look at some of the options try the Inclusive Technology website.

Note: this blog replaces an earlier version that was deleted due to my change in profile/workplace

Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology

Using technology to support students with disabilities and special learning needs.