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Communicating with the eyes

When a child is born with cerebral palsy, the first thought is often whether a doctor caused the condition. Unfortunately, cerebral palsy is often the result of a doctor's negligence, cutting off oxygen to the brain. Cerebral palsy has a wide range of symptoms, from severe cognitive and physical disabilities to being unable to speak, many people with cerebral palsy need disability benefits to cover their living costs.

There are some, however, whose conditions are relatively mild. One 11-year-old boy has no cognitive delays, although he is nonverbal and has limited mobility. It is difficult enough to be unable to walk or move without the assistance of a wheelchair, but to be nonverbal with no cognitive impairment has had to be frustrating for the boy. Fortunately, he has found technology that allows him to communicate with his eyes.

The sixth-grade student uses Tobii C12 as an adaptive form of communication. He uses his eyes to navigate a keyboard on a screen. Once he has "written" a message, a voice will read out what he has written. Not only does it allow him to communicate, but Tobii also uses a more natural sounding voice than the robotic voices of years past.

This system also allows him to surf the Internet, write emails and look things up with Google. With adaptive technologies like Tobii, this 11-year-old is able to do a lot more than what many may expect of a child with cerebral palsy.

Even though this boy has found adaptive technologies that will help him communicate, he may still be limited in where or if he can work when he gets older. By applying for disability benefits, he may be able to get his living expenses covered.

Source: The Beach Reporter, "Eye gaze technology gives a voice to non-verbal speaker," Charles Pannunzio, April 3, 2014

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