Over the past couple months I’ve read several questions by fellow quadriplegics at the CareCure and Apparelyzed Spinal Cord Injury forums about what mouse to use and how to set it up to work best for a quadriplegic. Not saying that my setup is the absolute best or anything, but it is the trial and error outcome of many different combinations over the past 5 years, and definitely what works best for me.
What I use for my mouse / getting around the screen duties is a Kensington Expert Trackball mouse. Looking at the picture below, you’ll see it’s little more than a very large plastic trackball centered between 4 large, easily clickable buttons.
The way I use it is with the meaty thumb area of my right hand to accurately move the mouse this way and that, and then slide my hand off the ball to smack the bottom left, bottom right, and top right mouse buttons. I choose not to use the top left mouse button because it’s at an awkward angle and very easy for me to unintentionally move the mouse.
I have the normal “left” and “right” mouse button click actions switched so that the bottom right trackball button is actually a “left click” and the bottom left trackball button a “right click” because it is more natural for my hand to slide off to the right to click the bottom right mouse button and a normal “left click” is the most often used mouse action. I have the ClickLock function turned on for the bottom right trackball button (which corresponds to the normal “left click” mouse action) so that I can drag the mouse cursor across the computer. The top right mouse button is used as a “go back” function that I often use while navigating the web browser and file explorer. I’ll go into more details about how the mouse is configured below:
In Windows XP / Vista / Windows 7 go to the Control Panel and select the Mouse icon
Click the Switch primary and secondary buttons checkbox to switch your left/right mouse buttons
Click the Turn on ClickLock checkbox to enable highlighting and dragging without holding the mouse button.
Click settings next to this to Adjust how long you need to hold down a mouse or trackball button before your click is “locked.” I normally like to set this most of the way to the left so that I don’t have to wait too long to lock my click.
Now, when you press and hold a mouse button it will stay clicked until you press it again. This makes it very easy to drag/resize windows, highlight text in documents, move files from one folder to another, pretty much anything where you need to hold down the mouse button.
This is really helpful. Thanks a lot for writing this article! I’m going to give this a go. I think on reflection, this might be a better option than a joystick, after all. Thanks again. 🙂
EXCELLENT! I hope it works out for you! Definitely the best solution I’ve found to date, and believe me I’ve tried just about everything. The joystick is definitely a cool idea, but when I tried one out I found it far more challenging to quickly dial in on what I’d like to click, and once I was there seems like I always bumped the joystick when trying to click the buttons.
Let me know how you make out and if there’s any help I can provide!
I’ve used Kensington trackballs for years. great products. I just hope they continue to update the Trackball works driver. without that you can’t program the buttons. It took them a long time to get up the windows 7 version. so far, nothing for windows 8.
I remember the Windows Vista days clearly, waiting for Kensington to put out new drivers, and being very annoyed by how long it took them. It’s not like these new operating systems aren’t here to stay! For that very reason I’m holding off on my upgrade for Windows 8, waiting for all my other software/hardware to hurry up and fully supports/embrace the new interface. So far it’s happening none too quickly!
hi bro im c5-c6 quad and i Searching all type mouses this trackball mouse can be use for gaming? Like dota lol wow? How is performance? Is it for just surfing internet or is it useful to playing games?
Pls send your advise because they are not selling in turkey I must buy ebay…
Hey Enes, I’ve been known to use my Kensington Expert trackball for gaming from time to time. I can’t play all types with it, but have had luck with first-person shooters, real-time strategy, and turn-based strategy. It works great for games like Civilization, Borderlands, Command and Conquer, and most of the Warhammer games.
I have been a c-4-5 quadriplegic for 23 years now. I have found the Kensington expert mouse to be the only one I can operate. I’ve been using the Kensington mouse for about 15 years. For those of you that can use voice recognition programs I would suggest Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12. It is very accurate and easy to learn. I build websites and do 3-D serial digital art on my computer. Check out my website and if you have any questions drop me an email.
I have been looking and items on this web page in hopes of finding something my brother in law could use. He is a quad who is unable to communicate by voice and not sure how well he could manage a stick or ball, any other ideas on equipment that could help him communicate with the world?