1. Using AVAZ to Enhance Communicative Abilities of a Child with Cerebral Palsy
- By Sita Sreekumar, NISH, Trivandrum
Sita Sreekumar - Audiologist & Speech Language Pathologist, Department of Audiology and SpeechLanguage Pathology, National Institute of Speech and Hearing, India. Email: email@example.com
Communication difficulties associated with cerebral palsy can be multifactorial, arising from motor, intellectual and / or sensory impairments. Affected children can experience mild to severe difficulties in expression. Those with little or no functional speech frequently rely on non-speech communication systems to augment or replace natural speech. These systems include speech generating devices (SGDs). AVAZ is a portable speech synthesizer which can be controlled by the gross motor movements of a child with cerebral palsy.
This case study describes the outcomes of a pilot investigation that utilised AVAZ as a means of enhancing functional communication in a young girl with cerebral palsy.
A 7-year-old girl with cerebral palsy and complex communication needs was trained for 10 sessions to develop requesting ability by pointing to the desired pictures on the AVAZ.
After the training sessions, the child showed improvement in social interaction and functional communication.Conclusions and Implication: The collaborative efforts of an inter-disciplinary team, comprising a speech pathologist, a physiotherapist, parents of the child and a social worker, made it possible to enhance the child’s confidence and functional communication using AVAZ.Hence it is important to pursue client-oriented, innovative and collaborative intervention approaches among team members.Key words: Cerebral palsy, complex communication need, speech generating device, functional communication.
2. iPad: efficacy of electronic devices to help children with autism spectrum disorder to communicate in the classroom
- By Sulata Ajit, Sankalp school, Chennai
Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are known to have difficulty in social communication, with research indicating that children with ASD fail to develop functional speech (Lord and Rutter, 1994). Over the years a number of Augmented and Alternate Communication (AAC) devices have been used with children with ASD to overcome this barrier and to facilitate communication. This article examines an Indian AAC tool called AVAZ (meaning sound), which is the first of its kind in India. The project reported also looks at the effectiveness of using AVAZ and the use of iPads by children with ASD in the classroom. Additionally, the article examines the suitability of using iPads for all learners in the spectrum. Twenty children between the ages of 4 and 10 years were selected to trial the use of AVAZ. They received three sessions weekly of 45 minutes over a period of 10 weeks. The feedback of the special educators who trained the children was analysed. The findings of this small scale study indicates that the children preferred using the AVAZ app and the iPad to pen and paper. Huguenin (2004) too indicated similar reports in using Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in enhancing children's motivation to learn and communicate. The trainers felt it could be used as an educational tool, and many more educational concepts could be added. Research also suggests that ICT can be used as a tool to tutor for educational purpose (Means, 1994). The AVAZ app could be recommended to children with ASD who are included in mainstream schools. This study was conducted at Sankalp, a special school in Tamil Nadu, Chennai.
Source: View complete paper here or download the attachment at the end of this page.
Source - View complete paper here - Disability & Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology - By NISH Trivandrum
Difficulties with language and communication are a key feature in the discussion on autism. So, while training children with autism, we must work separately for speech, language and communication. Children with autism have difficulty especially in allocating attention and using gestures such as pointing for joint attention. Some children on the autism spectrum remain non-verbal and some are verbal. Verbal children can repeat words or talk about their favourite cartoons but they struggle to use their vocabulary for communicating with others. This makes it very important to provide an alternative method of communication for children with autism.
Augmentative and Alternative Communication(AAC) includes all forms of communication other than oral speech that are used to express thoughts, needs, wants and ideas. AAC Systems are sometimes categorised into unaided and aided systems. Unaided AAC includes facilitated communication and sign language. Aided AAC Systems split into low and high-tech systems. Low-tech augmentative and alternative communication includes communication boards, picture exchange communication systems (PECS) and picture-based AAC systems other than PECS. High tech augmentative and alternative communication include mobile devices and voice output communication such as speech generating devices.
Different forms of AAC that are extensively used for children with Autism are sign language, Picture Exchange Communication system(PECS) and Assistive Technology devices. Through this presentation, I aim to explain how AAC and assistive technology helped my son to learn Communication skills and how our family is able to have a better quality of life, due to this.
Source: View complete paper here - Developing Communication skills using Assistive Devices and Technology