Today we can make available a program for people with significant physical impairments, such as muscular dystrophy. One Switch Mouse was developed by Claro Software in 2010 and has generously been made available by them for free download from the WebbIE site.
Most of the WebbIE software has been based around screenreader users – typically visually-impaired or blind people. However, there are switch users of the WebbIE programs, and a few of the programs have been specially customised to work with switch access: using a dedicated single-clicking device instead of a mouse or keyboard, like a joystick or customised button.
Switch users typically have very limited movement. Progressive muscle wasting conditions like Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS – also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) can leave people only able to make very limited, very weak movements – perhaps only a head move, or finger, or toe, or mouth puff.
However, many of these conditions leave the user’s cognitive functions intact – you’re as smart and aware as ever, you just can’t move, or talk, or write. This is incredibly frustrating, of course.
One Switch Mouse tries to help. The mouse is controlled by using one switch, and timing how long you hold it down to control direction of movement and mouse clicking. You can move the mouse around the screen and left-click, right-click, double-clicking, and even hold down and select. In conjunction with an on-screen keyboard for typing you therefore have complete control of a standard Windows computer – and all using one switch. It even works on the Windows login screen and the secure desktop!
One Switch Mouse is free: if you or someone you know or support might benefit, do please download it and try it out.