Communication Aid: Evaluation Request the Term Paper

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The communication aid would need to be durable so that Darmoth could not accidentally break it (he is not always very gentle with his "toys" and often does not realize his own strength) as well as easily portable so that he could carry it around with him. Perhaps having the tool be connected to a strap that kept it "hands free" when he is moving around would be ideal. It would have to be simple enough for him to learn how to operate, but also have a wide range of functions. The device must be able to translate Darmoth's thoughts into something that others -- even those who are not specifically trained -- can understand. The evaluation of a specialist would be extremely helpful so that the best kind of tool can be identified for Darmoth's needs.

The first step I would take in convincing the administration that an outside evaluation is needed would be to introduce them to Darmoth. Darmoth is incredibly charming and has a spirit that simply makes people melt. He is so happy, affectionate, and dedicated that he leaves quite an impression. We have a very simplistic version of the kind of tool Darmoth needs available. It is a children's toy with drawings of food, water, people, and toys. The toy is computerized and has been programmed to say various phrases depending on which button is pressed. Darmoth has started to understand that if he presses each of the four buttons, he gets a different response, and can demonstrate his understanding of this. The administration will be able to see the potential for a more advanced communication tool. The second step will be doing a lot of the "footwork" ahead of time, so that once the administration understands the need, they will only have to choose from a number of fully planned options and not do anything complicated. Specialists will be contacted ahead of time to find the best suited professional for Darmoth's situation. Information about the kinds of communication aids that might be available will be laid out in an easy-to-read format so that the vast difference between what can be accomplished without a specialist -- a 4-button plastic toy -- and the potential of more advanced devices will be obvious. Information to share with the administration can be obtained from organizations such as the Adaptive Technology Resource Centre at the University of Toronto (ATRC), which provides consultations, develops technology and research, and provides educational material, as well as holding workshops and conferences both online and in person. The Speech and Language Therapy Department of the Communication Aid Centre, which can also be accessed online, provides "information about the field of augmentative and alternative communication including illustrations of some of the devices available. The CATS pages will introduce you to specialist software designed for people with communication difficulties, and adapted hardware that makes it more accessible for people with physical difficulties." (CAC)

Companies such as AbilityTech offer "complete computer service for people with special needs," (AbilityTech), and makes information about research, advice, services, and products available through their website, as well as their newsletter publication. The information available through these and other resources would be good places to begin my own research as well as to introduce th administration to the technology that exists for children like Darmoth.

Bibliography

Abilitytech. (2004) Abilitytech: Computer Special Needs Solutions. Retrieved on November 12, 2004 at http://www.abilitytech.com.au/.

ATRC. (2004) Adaptive Technology Research Centre. University of Toronto. Retrieved on November 12, 2004 at http://www.utoronto.ca/atrc/.

Cook, Albert & Hussey, Susan (2002) Assistive Technologies: Principles and Practice. 2nd ed. St. Louis, MO. Mosby. ISBN 0-323-00643-4

CAC. (2004) Speech and Language Therapy Department. Communication Aid Centre. Retrieved on November 12, 2004 at http://www.cacfrenchay.nhs.uk/cac_hist.htm.

Sources Used in Document:

Bibliography

Abilitytech. (2004) Abilitytech: Computer Special Needs Solutions. Retrieved on November 12, 2004 at http://www.abilitytech.com.au/.

ATRC. (2004) Adaptive Technology Research Centre. University of Toronto. Retrieved on November 12, 2004 at http://www.utoronto.ca/atrc/.

Cook, Albert & Hussey, Susan (2002) Assistive Technologies: Principles and Practice. 2nd ed. St. Louis, MO. Mosby. ISBN 0-323-00643-4

CAC. (2004) Speech and Language Therapy Department. Communication Aid Centre. Retrieved on November 12, 2004 at http://www.cacfrenchay.nhs.uk/cac_hist.htm.

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