Assistive Technology for Cerebral Palsy

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Using Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology (AT) is a generic term that includes assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative devices and the process used in selecting, locating, and using them.

AT promotes greater independence for people with disabilities by enabling them to perform tasks they formerly could not accomplish, or had great difficulty accomplishing, by providing enhancements to or changed methods of interacting with the technology needed to accomplish such tasks.

According to disability advocates, technology, all too often, is created without regard to people with disabilities, and unnecessary barriers make new technology inaccessible to hundreds of millions.

Universal (or broadened) accessibility, or universal design means excellent usability, particularly for people with disabilities. But, argue advocates of assistive technology, universally accessible technology yields great rewards to the typical user; good accessible design is universal design, they say.

The classic example of an assistive technology that has improved everyone’s life is the “curb cuts” in the sidewalk at street crossings. While these curb cuts surely enable pedestrians with mobility impairments to cross the street, they have also aided parents with carriages and strollers, shoppers with carts, and travellers and workers with pull-type bags, not to mention skateboarders and inline skaters.

Ellen uses Assistive Technology to go about her day-to-day life – both at home and in college. Ellen has Cerebral Palsy and has difficulty controlling her body – she can access her Assistive Technology using two head switches.

Through these head switches, Ellen can drive her powered chair, communicate with people, access the computer and internet and control her TV and household…

Augmentative Communication Devices

These are devices that help people communicate easily and an example of this device is a Dynavox. Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) refers “to an area of research, clinical, and educational practice.

AAC involves attempts to study and when necessary to compensate for temporary or permanent impairments, activity limitations, and participation restrictions of individuals with severe disorders of speech-language production and/or comprehension, including spoken and written modes of communication

Sara Pyszka – A DynaVox Success Story

Sara Pyszka has sung the national anthem at two major league baseball games, led the Pledge of Allegiance at the 2004 Republican National Convention, and performed several original compositions in front of live audiences.

Sara also lives with the effects of cerebral palsy and cannot walk or talk. She, a college sophomore, uses her DynaVox Vmax to speak her

 

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