Improved communication thanks to new technology

Besides speech or form, communication is a basic need of all people. Modern technology offers many solutions to a variety of needs, where the communications capability is limited because of a disability.

For decades specialists have worked continuously with assistive communication, an area of alternative and complementary forms of communication for people with communication impairment, that is, people that can’t or can only barely use their vocal apparatus

Improved communication

The goal of assistive communication is to improve the communication, easement for the communication partner and the enhancement of the communications capability in day to day situations as well as to improve various forms of expression. On one side body language, gestures or mimicking are considered forms of communication aids, on the other hand non electronic communication aids like communication tables, photo albums or various picture and symbol systems

Electronic communication aids in focus

Thanks to technological developments an increasing number of communication aids are coming into use today. The area has expanded enormously in the last number of years, which has lead to an extreme enhancement to the quality of life of those concerned. Electronic aids not only enhance the communications capability, they also serve to improve ones independence and social life

Pictures and Icons as an alternative

Electronic aids transform input in vocal or written language, that are transmitted over a display screen or which are in printed form. Vocal output is usually performed by a speaking computer or “Talker”. Many of these devices are controlled by either a touch screen or by a user surface, which contains large buttons. The desired output can be saved in many fields or levels. Speech output devices that function on the basis of pictures and icons, are advantageous for people who are not fully literate or who have difficulty with spelling. As well as this they are quicker, as each word does not have to be spelt out.

A wide range of in- and output devices

Because of the technological developments in recent years, there is a wide range of output devices now available. Just as wide ranging is the choice of computer input aids, like light sensors, sip/puff switches, or joysticks and sticks which can be attached to the forehead for typing. As with all electronic communication devices today, there are also stationary and mobile elements of electronic communication aids. While stationary systems are used with a PC, communication software and a suitable input mode, mobile systems can be used with laptops or palmtops.

Author: pg - 09/2007
Translation PmcC – MyH