Royal Oak man's 'Hoglet' is a fidget mouse for children with special needs, learning challenges

Think of a cross between a fidget toy and a computer mouse which is making a big difference for children with learning challenges.

It is hard enough to get kids to stay focused on their school work - especially right now - when the majority of their education is accessed through their computer.

For Julia Dapkus of Plymouth - whose 8-year-old daughter Isabelle has special needs, this little device has changed everything.

"My daughter is 8 and a half and she has never been able to access a mouse or do computer work independently, not for lack of trying," said Dapkus. "The fact this looks like a toy and that it is functional and can really do important things, automatically reduced the hesitation to sit down with it. She was like 'Yeah that looks cool,' and she started picking at it."

Parker Lynch from Royal Oak is the mastermind behind the first of its kind fidget mouse. Five years ago he invented the Hoglet.

"It will vibrate, light up and make a noise," he said. "It will even emit a lavender scent for calming."

As a special education teacher, Lynch saw first hand how fidget toys were helping students' focus. But knowing the struggle himself, he wanted to create a functional fidget - something kids could use that would help them concentrate and focus on their work.

"As someone who has ADHD myself, I use this every day," he said. "It keeps me really focused while I am trying to do my work. I need a little extra fidgeting when I am at my computer 24-7 nowadays. I can't imagine kids who are even more ADHD than I am, or need that stimulation. I think this is a big-time solution."

His company Hedgehog Health launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $65,000. Lynch says the money will go toward manufacturing in Michigan the first 1,000 Hoglets and get the wireless optical mouse into the hands of more special needs students. 

"It is really a dream come true for me," he said.  

"I was so thrilled - it makes me want to cry that it wasn't hard for her and it wasn't a fight," said Dapkus. "You can tell she was proud of herself that she accessed her speech lesson and was able to access her YouTube."

Hedgehog Health is also working on devices that offer biofeedback and telehealth.

To contribute to the Kickstarter effort Lynch is using to raise money, CLICK HERE.