At Royds Withy King we work with chartered electronics engineers in the field of assistive technology who advise us on the best and latest technologies on the market.
Assistive technology can help Little Champions to function in the real world at a level that their level of understanding allows. The larger the gap between a person’s physical skills and their cognitive abilities, the more assistive technology is needed to fill the gap and help that person to fulfil their potential, generally speaking.
Your child’s therapy team will be best placed to answer any questions you have on assistive technology to suit your child’s ability but set out below is some of the technology on the market in relation to:
Aids for communication
Communication is key to so many things we do in life. Many Little Champions have difficulties with communication and can benefit from technology to aid communication. Here are some of the options currently available:
Electronic communications boards:
Electronic communication boards are like tablets with a choice of pictures, letters or words that a person can use to express themselves, although the device does not actually produce any recognised speech.
A more advanced version of electronic communication boards are speech-generating devices. With a speech-generating device, the technology translates its user’s instructions into speech that others can easily understand.
When a person is unable to use their fingers to select words or images on a communication board, eye-tracking devices can come into their own. Eye tracking technology follows where a person’s eyes are moving so a word can be selected without having to touch a screen.
The BIGmack communication aid is a simple device which speaks a pre-recorded phrase when hit. It is easy to record speech or music into the BIGmack.
Visit inclusive.co.uk for more information.
Grid Pad 12
The Grid Pad 12 is a computer designed for communication. It has a 15-hour battery life and straight forward controls. It is designed for Grid 3 software for communication and environmental controls.
Visit thinksmartbox.com for more information.
Tobii Dynavox has a range of communication software packages to suit every developmental level.
SnapScene is one such package designed for young children at the beginning stages of learning communication who either do not speak or are difficult to understand.
GRID3 – a flexible piece of software which can be set up to meet the developmental level of the individual.
Visit tobiidynavox.com for more information
Aids for Typing and Writing
Some Little Champions lack the fine motor skills required to use a regular keyboard or write with a pen; and technology has been developed to make typing and writing easier.
Some writing technology is at the simpler end of the spectrum. These include steadying devices that can be attached to a pen or pencil to help a person with shaky movements, a pen that is weighted, or a desk that can be adjusted for height or angle can help someone optimise their position for writing.
At the more advanced end of the spectrum is speech recognition typing software than can be tuned into the user’s own voice or the voice generated from their speech-generating device.
Some Little Champions benefit from an intercom and remote latch to let people in the house and many companies such as Yale, Lock Monster or Smartlock have remote locks available.
Our assistive technology experts recommend AbleNet Powerlink Control Unit as an environmental control device which enables the user to turn mains powered devices on and off. Available from odelmobility.co.uk
Sensory equipment enables children to develop their senses by exploring different sounds, sights and textures. Sensory equipment may include fibre optics, bubble tubes or even a magic carpet.
A magic carpet is an interactive resource which projects moving images on to any surface allowing children to engage and play.
Magic carpets are available to buy: sensoryguru.com/product/mobile-magic-carpet
Some charities and centres have magic carpets available for use during sensory sessions including:
Dame Vera Lynn Children’s Charity: dvlcc.org.uk/services