Posts Tagged ‘communication device’

Communication Aids for the Elderly

Communication Aids for Older People

As we age many of us succumb to conditions and the natural effects of ageing which means communication and the use of other faculties becomes difficult. From macular degeneration to dementia, many conditions can affect communication and finding communication aids and devices for the elderly is a sensible move when looking to ensure quality of life is maintained. Obviously depending on the particular issues faced by the individual elderly person in question the requirements from a communication device will differ. The communication devices that we look are particularly valuable to the older people and can make a huge different to daily life.

Due to conditions such as dementia causing a decline in cognitive abilities, modern technologies are usually avoided when considering communication aids for the elderly. There is nothing to say that some people may be capable of communicating via an electronic AAC device in most instances introducing this new technology would just provide more confusion, hence the devices mentioned below being quite simplistic in comparison to many on the market.

Menuboard

Menu Board Communication Device

A simple, communicative menuboard

Simple and straightforward, Menuboard allows an elderly person who may have become non-verbal or has non-verbal periods to put across what they want to eat. Obviously eating is a basic human right and choosing your own meals is something integral to remaining independent. Alternatively, this board can be used in a care home environment to signify to groups of elderly people what’s arranged for meal times.

Aquapaint

Aquapaint has been developed specifically for those living with dementia and is designed to promote conversation and communication through art therapy. Not only do they promote communication, water-based aqua paints are able to provide endless stimulation and the finished product can instil a sense of pride in individuals who are struggling to deal with the rapid onset of the disease.

We’d also suggest users trying out Aquapaints could consider a Trabasack lap tray as the perfect painting surface, especially when topped with a Trabasack non-slip mat, keeping the surface of the lap tray perfectly clean thanks to the non-slip mat’s protective covering. The Trabasack sits comfortably on your lap without exerting pressure and provides the perfect portable table.

This video shows Aquapaint in action:

Talking Mats

Talking Mats Communication Device

Talking Mats Low-Tech Communication Aid

Talking Mats are a further low-tech communication device, simply comprising pictures, words and the requirement of the individual to point out or nod towards their specific request or requirement. They can help with the expression of feelings as well as giving directions and are extremely simple, providing an anxiety-free communication method without the need to worry about modern technology.

These are just thee communication devices which could benefit the older people. There are many more on the market which may suit individuals and of course, each person has their own personal requirements, strengths and weaknesses  so may suit a different type of device altogether.

Communication Aids for Deaf People

Communication Aids for Deaf People

Living with a hearing impairment can make communication difficult. In most instances those living with a severe degree of deafness learn some form of sign language which makes communicating with their family, friends and other deaf people much easier. Unfortunately the rest of the population are less likely to use any form of signing. However, there are a range of devices developed for deaf people, allowing them to communicate more easily when signing isn’t possible.

Below are some communication devices which could be useful to those living with hearing impairment or even profound deafness. Please note, the development of modern technologies, especially in telecommunication means many of these devices may seem defunct but this isn’t necessarily so as every individual is different.

VV-Talker.

The VV-Talker is a wonderful gadget that could enhance the interaction abilities of deaf children as they learn to talk. Deaf youngsters hold the device against their throats and it provides feedback vibrations, helping them to ‘hear’ their attempts at speech. It also has a visual display so they can see the sounds they are making as a sound graph on a screen. This helps them to improve their speech by producing vocal vibrations that are comparable to those shown on the display.

A child using a device that helps deaf children learn to talk

More infomation about the VV talker can be found by clicking the image. Photo credit: Yanko Design

Induction loop systems

Hearing loops are now common in public buildings. They produce amplified sound using an electric field, that can then be picked up by a device used by a deaf person. Often it is by changing a setting on a hearing aid to ‘T’.

Hearing Loop Systems in the Home

In the, you might install a loop system so that the sound from your tv, hi-fi or radio could be amplified. A loop could also be used with a microphone so that you could be able to pick up a conversation with someone close by in an otherwise noisy place. Induction Loop Systems can now be bought online for the home and need no specialist knowledge to set up or install.

 

Amplified Phones

An Amplified Telephone is a fantastic option for those living with a degree of hearing impairment. They’re designed to ensure that you can hear more clearly as the volume can be increased much higher than that on a regular telephone. What’s more, many also feature additional features including one-touch dialling and spaces for photographs of individuals so numbers don’t need to be remembered and you can simply press the corresponding button.

ClearText Textphone

Textphones are available to those who are unable to used amplified telephones and the Cleartext model featured in the video below is one of the simplest on the market, making communication simple and fast. Featuring a large screen and buttons, communication via text can be quick and efficient. It also automatically inserts the prefix number for TypeTalk which allows for text communication with many companies making it easy to use for professional purposes as well as personal.

The below video explains more about this item:

Communication Uses for Mainstream Technologies

Communication device web cam

Skype Compatible WebCam

Of course plenty of technologies developed for regular usage can be adapted and used easily for communication for deaf people.

You may not need a textphone if you have a mobile phone for example, as you can send messages without difficulty. Similarly, the Skype free internet calls service is ideal if used in conjunction with  Skype compatible webcams. This video capacity removes the need for text as deaf people can communicate as if face to face using their sign language although there is still the option to include text messages.

These types of communication are best accessed using a laptop or tablet, allowing for easy communication wherever you may be. Additionally, to provide a sturdy surface so the user doesn’t need to keep hold of their laptop or feel it wobble on their laps, we’d suggest using a Trabasack lap tray. The Trabasack provides the sturdy, level surface you need, allowing conversation to flow via your computer screen and cam without fail. What’s more if you opt to use a Trabasack Media Mount you can also position your devices exactly where you need them. As Mark Mayer who describes himself as  “Hard of Hearing with cerebral palsy” and who is chairman of a children’s charity, Worster-Drought Syndrome Support Group,  http://www.wdssg.org.uk/ says

 

Single Earphones

For people who have deafness in that is worse on one side, there a also a range of Stereo to Mono earphones that can help amplify sound to one ear or convert talking books or podcasts so that they can be heard in one ear only. As this person on Amazon
says:

This product is primarily designed for runners and cyclists to let them listen to music while having an ear on traffic and surrounding noise, but it’s also brilliant for people with hearing loss – I’m deaf in one ear and can finally listen to “stereo” music through a mono earphone after years of only hearing half the track I’m listening to. The quality of the sound is great – I must be honest and say that my hearing means that I didn’t use earphones a lot, so I don’t really have much else to compare it to, but it sounds fab to me – and the noise isolation means that I can listen to loud music at work without anybody hearing a single annoying tinny beat of what I’m listening to. Overall a really great product.

 

Communication aids and gadgets for Deafness

So there are a range of useful communication aids for helping deaf people, some very specialist but many being widely available and needing no technical knowledge to buy or install. To browse a wide range of products click here

iPad helps American Boy find his Voice

iPad helps American Boy find his Voice

The benefits of iPad apps and technology for those living with disabilities proven again

Hunter benefits for iPad AAC support

Hunter in a speech therapy session

Despite the iPad being popular with absolutely everybody, we are convinced they help and support learning and communication for people with disabilities. Hunter Harrison is a five year old boy uses his iPad to communicate. Hunter lives with a neuromuscular disability which effects his motor abilities including those needed for verbal communication. Despite this, Hunter is learning to read, knows his numbers, letters, colours and shapes and will be attending mainstream school in September.

Hunter needs a communication system that works. It’s clear he has the facilities to flourish in a mainstream classroom environment. This view is shared by Jane Kleinert from the University of Kentucky who has been working with Hunter. She highlights how popular the iPad has been for use in classrooms, particularly with pupils with autism. The adaptability of the device is one of its most popular features.

Access to AAC Devices Limited, despite iPad affordability

iPad and Proloquo2go

iPad featuring Proloquo2go AAC app

Research in the US has shown that less than 50% of children who require AAC support have access to it. We don’t have statistics for the UK but we’re sure they won’t be significantly different. Access to AAC devices is essential for supporting communication development in children with disabilities. Professor Kleinert and a UK colleague are working together to develop an initiative to build communication systems for children with disabilities. The scheme has allowed Hunter his own iPad loaded up with the popular Proloquo2Go App. The app allowed Hunter to find ways to communicate  but over time it has also led to improvement in his oral speech.

Unfortunately in America, the leading funding options won’t supply iPads as they restrict their funds to dedicated instruments designed for communication. The iPad doesn’t fit this category. However, dedicated AAC devices are often heavy and extremely expensive. The iPad of course has many portability and cost advantages and the success Hunter has achieved is something that every child should have access to. This video shows Hunter in action:

Trabasack can be used successfully as a low cost iPad or communication aid mount for more info click here

The V Pen and Voice Symbol Software

A Trabasack Mini Connect is a great lapdesk for your communication aids

Voice Symbol Software gives you the opportunity to create talking pictures activated by the simple touch of a V Pen. With this software you can actually design and print your own ‘talking paper’, communication boards and books, which can be accessed through the innovative V Pen.  At Trabasack, we believe this pioneering technology is extremely revolutionary and the range of products available complement the V Pen is vast.

The V Pen itself is a radical new AAC learning support device which generates speech. It generates speech through reading sound codes from printer paper materials, thus creating the ‘talking paper’ that was previously mentioned, as well as communication boards and materials for teaching. This video shows the range of vocabulary that the V Pen can access

Attach communication cards to the versatile “Connect” surface

The V Pen is very easy to use and you simply touch the picture that corresponds with your thought to create the spoken voice. The communication boards are extremely useful for anybody who has reduced speech capabilities or is non-verbal and even better, they are a perfect fit for the Trabasack Mini Connect, which can be used as a tray to hold your communication board or cards. Using your Trabasack Mini Connect as a supportive lap tray whilst using your V Pen will mean you can easily access and touch the symbols at any given time.

The other important point to mentioned with the Trabasack Mini Connect is its “Connect” surface which acts as a great base for Velcro hooks meaning you can attached any laminated voice symbol software materials to your Trabasack and then you can access them more easily. Using your Trabasack Mini Connect in conjunction with your V Pen means you can communicate with ease.

A range of V – Pen products and bundles are available from Ability World.

Communication Aids: Communication Cards

Communication Aids: Communication Cards

If you have problems with verbal communication, perhaps due to learning difficulties, deafness, cerebral palsy, or stroke, you may already have normal communication aids or methods. But what if the person you’re trying to communicate with doesn’t understand BSL or Makaton, or your Lightwriter‘s batteries are flat? Or you may just have communication problems occasionally, perhaps due to fatigue, or if there’s too much noise.

 

Communication Cards, from Stickman Communications, are the answer. These sturdy laminated communication aids cover most situations in a non-clinical, light-hearted (but never offensive) way. In the bank, the post office, shops, and a multitude of other situations, Communication Cards will be invaluable.

You start by ordering a Starter Pack, which has a “Thank You” card on a keyring style holder. Then you add whatever other cards are going to be helpful for you. Your selection will come as a set on the keyring.

There is a wide selection of Communication Cards available, including one for writing your own message and one for your personal data. Some are specific to certain conditions – for instance one has a brief description of Hypermobility Syndrome – but most of them could be used by any of us.

 

Each card is 11cm by 7.8cm, and your set will come with stickers to put on the cards, so you can easily find the one you need. They can slip into a bag or handbag, or even into your pocket, or clip onto a wheelchair using a carabiner clip.

Communication Cards have only been available for a short time, but as this tweet shows, their popularity is growing fast by word of mouth.

@ Do you know @ she makes amazing communication cards you can flash at ppl if you need? Do you live with anyone?
@Imogen__may
Imogen May

New Communication Card designs are coming out all the time, so keep an eye on the website to see what’s new!  These innovative and attractive communication aids are great fun, and can be a lifesaver in an emergency. A highly recommended product.

Cartoonist artist and communication card designer Hannah Ensor signs a book at a book signing event.

Communication card graphic artist Hannah Ensor at a recent book signing event

Visit http://www.stickmancommunications.co.uk/ for the full range of products or follow @stickmancrips to keep up with all Hannah’s news.

Using your Trabasack Mini Connect at an iTalk2 Bag

Using your Trabasack Mini Connect as an iTalk2 Bag

An iTalk2 Communication Aid

An iTalk2 is a very popular communication aid used in classrooms across the country and it’s a great way of helping people with limited communication or non-verbal individuals decide between two activities or simply saying yes or no. Such an essential piece of kit needs to be kept safe and this can be achieved with a Trabasack Mini Connect iTalk2 bag. The Trabasack Mini Connect is perfectly designed for keeping your iTalk2 safe and means it won’t be at risk from any damage.

The iTalk2 is an extremely simple piece of equipment which rests on angled base which further increases accessibility. It allows for two minutes of recording time and includes to Snap Switch Caps which allows for the individual using the device to make their choices. The Trabasack Mini Connect is also a great platform from which the device can be accessed. The Trabasack Mini Connect includes a lap tray surface on one side and a soft beanbag cushion on the other which means it can rest comfortably in the lap and be used as a level surface for the iTalk2.

The Trabasack Mini Connect also benefits from the Connect surface on its tray. This

Trabasack Mini Connect iTalk Bag

means that the surface is particularly receptive to Velcro hooks and so you can attach items to the surface and be assured they won’t roll off or fall and be damaged. This makes the trabasack very useful for switch mounting, especially for children using buggies or wheelchairs. When using your Trabasack Mini Connect as a iTalk2 bag, there are multiple carry options available. You can strap it to your back, around your waist or use its carry handles to use it like a briefcase, this is entirely you decision. However you decide to carry it, you can be assured that your iTalk2 is fully protected and secure.

The below video gives some more info about the iTalk2 and its functionality:

The italk2 is available from Liberator UK, who also stock trabasack and a range of other switches and communication aids.

Trabasack Mini Connect: The perfect Go Talk Bag

Trabasack Mini Connect: The perfect Go Talk Bag

The Go Talk 4+ device

Go Talk is an AAC device which is both intuitive and powerful and if you’re the owner, you’ll want a protective Go Talk Bag. Without being difficult to use, the Go Talk provides a number of simple options so communication can be made and helps the user ensure they get across the message they want. Extremely durable, the Go Talk models are a brilliant “entry level” communication device, for those just getting to grips with AAC technology or need an easy to use device to get across simple messages.

Go Talk devices are renowned for their durability but if you have invested in one, it is important to treat it with respect and provide an appropriate Go Talk bag for when you’re on your travels or taking it from home to school or work. The Trabasack Mini Connect is the best Go Talk Bag option on the market because it has two functionalities and is specifically designed to house communication devices and keeps them secure.

Trabasack Mini Connect Go Talk Bag

The Trabasack Mini Connect is the right Go Talk bag for you, because it can be used as both a bag space and a functional lap tray from which you can access and utilise your Go Talk device. The Trabasack Mini Connect has a Go Talk bag space that’s really spacious and provides all the support and security your device will need. Equally, you can carry your Trabasack Mini Connect in a variety of ways including on your back or as a briefcase, which adds a further flexibility to it. The other great function of the Trabasack Mini Connect is its tray surface. You can use the tray when you’re out and about to rest your Go Talk on and you can also use it to communicate from. The Connect surface means that you can attach and secure items to the surface of the Trabasack Mini Connect, using Velcro Hooks.

The Trabasack Mini Connect is the perfect Go Talk bag and competitors don’t even come close. For more information about Go Talk, watch this informational video discussing their devices:

 

Introducing the new Lightwriter Swift

Introducing the new Lightwriter Swift

A closer look at the new Lightwriter Swift

Toby Churchill Ltd, the innovative creators of the original Lightwriter, have launched an updated model this year and we’d like to give it a full introduction. The Lightwriter Swift is a brand newly designed and portable AAC device, the smallest device of its type in the world. Achieving text-to-speech communication from this small portable device could not be easier and to show off its quality, give consumers a chance to give it a test drive and so its manufacturers can answer your questions, the Lightwriter Swift is going on tour in January 2012.

In January, consumers will have the chance to try out the new Lightwriter Swift in four locations across the UK and it also gives you the chance to pose any questions to representatives of Toby Churchill Ltd including any feedback you may have about the new product. As well as touring the UK, the Lightwriter Swift will also be at ATIA 2012 in Orlando, giving the US market a chance to see the quality of this new innovative design.

During each UK tour stop, a designated Swift Café will be open from 10am until 8pm giving you plenty of time to put across any questions you may have and get a good feel for this new piece of kit. During the day Toby Churchill Ltd will also schedule three designated Lightwriter Swift Launch seminars giving you the chance to see it in action from the perspective of someone who knows the product inside out. To register for one of these Lightwriter Swift seminars you can do it online.

A Trabasack Mini acts as a level surface for your Lightwriter

The Lightwriter Swift is going to make communication on the go even simpler and remember, the Trabasack Mini is perfectly designed to hold and protect your Lightwriter device when not in use and acts as a great level platform when you’re chatting or asking a question. Toby Churchill Ltd stocks our Trabasack Mini model and testify that it is a great choice for protecting and using your Lightwriter.

Trabasack is available from these Communication Aid companies (to add your company to the list, please email duncan{at}trabasack.co.uk)