The mini mouse is just what its name implies, a mouse made just for little hands, and it works well with preschoolers.
We are all familiar with touch screen technology in everyday life. It is an interface that is simple and direct. Controlling software with a direct point to the screen can be helpful for developmentally young children as it is much more concrete that using a mouse or keyboard. A touch screen can be used with any mouse operated software.
A trackball works like a stationary mouse with the ball on top. Controlling the computer with a trackball can be helpful for developmentally young children or when building up to the use of a standard mouse. It is beneficial, it seems, because it has a large target for small fingers and it stays put and doesn't need to be lifted or repositioned.
The use of a joystick for adapted computer access, however, allows all functions of a mouse including movement of the cursor on the screen, click, double click, drag, etc. Some are used alone, some with a switch for clicking functions.
The alternate keyboard we use most in Pre-K ESE is the Intellikeys (although others are available). The Intellikeys is a touch sensitive surface that can be divided into cells. Unlike the keyboard normally attached to the computer, the IntelliKeys look and functionality is changeable by sliding in different
overlays. The IntelliKeys keyboard comes with six standard overlays that are ready to use with any software that has keyboard input.
You can also use IntelliKeys with a variety of commercial early childhood software programs. Each of these programs come with their own custom printed overlays that work automatically when you load the software. Contact the Pre-K SPED Tech Team for more information on the use of the Intellikeys in your classroom or for use with a particular student.