Posts Tagged ‘communication’
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.
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 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 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: 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.
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.
Using your Trabasack Mini Connect as an iTalk2 Bag
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
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:
Here a few iPad apps that are particularly useful for communication.
We select a few communication apps for the iPad below. There are plenty of iPad apps out there designed for children and adults with disabilities and some of them are absolutely fantastic and can really change the quality of life for their users. Here is a compilation of some of the apps currently on the market:
Proloquo2go – this app is really life changing. A full touch-to-speak service which translates keystrokes into words and gives those with speech problems or complete lack of speech a chance to communicate verbally for the first time. This is costly for an app but compared to a traditional speech device is good value. An excellent review of Proloquo can be found on the very useful blog by Kati Lea: My life with Ataxia
Angry Octopus – Angry Octopus is a specifically designed story to help children learn to manage their anger. Highly acclaimed and recommended, this app teaches muscular relaxation and relaxed breathing through an interactive story rather than instructional teaching.
Stories2Learn– this app helps you create Social Stories for kids and adults diagnosed as having an Autistic Spectrum Disorder. It allows for the creation of personalised stories so you can include photos that the individual with the disorder can relate to and understand.
iCommunicate – another communication app which allows for simple expression of feelings and symbols. Again, you can customise it with specific photos of your environment, for example you could put together a storyboard with a photo of the individual with the disability and a photograph of their bed, symbolising bed time. It’s like interactive PEC cards for iPad users.
Doodle Kids – fun for anyone but has been described as particularly appealing to those with severe learning disabilities who respond well to sensory, light and colour therapies.
MyChoicePad – a brilliant and interactive way for learners and carers to understand and learn Makaton. It can significantly help adults and children with learning difficulties communicate their needs through symbols, images and words.
iBooks - built into every iPad and popular amongst those with disabilities and without, iBooks allows you to read books or have them read to you straight from your iPad. Fantastic for people with visual impairment. There are a range of free books and you can purchase more if you need to!
There are many more communication iPad apps both in development and already available to assist people. The iPad is a huge development for people with disabilities and can really offer new opportunities for communication and education. We will soon be reviewing some apps developed by users, a great step forward for design.
For people who want to mount and carry an iPad safely and cheaply, we recommend a Trabasack Mini Connect. It has a range of straps and carrying options, you can rest it comfortably on your lap while using your iPad. If you want to you can attach the iPad to the soft surface for security.