A Milestone for Caring Christopher
22-year-old Christopher lives with cerebral palsy quadriplegia and is a participant in the Day Options program at the scosa hub at Willaston. He also receives therapy services from the team at Novita’s Elizabeth hub.
Despite a complex medical history, Christopher is always laughing, even when he is tired. He brings so much joy to those around him and his strength and resilience is something to be greatly admired.
In recent years Christopher has started using eye-gaze technology to support his communication and his amazing progress with this equipment earned him the President’s Achievement Award at the 2020 Novita Achievement Awards presentation. The Award is presented annually to a Novita or scosa client of any age who lives with physical or intellectual disability and has made outstanding progress in their rehabilitation.
We are thrilled to report that Christopher continues to make amazing progress in his rehabilitation. Christopher uses an eye gaze device that has a camera to track his eyes, allowing him to dwell over symbols for communication, or to do other things like selecting music to play or watching YouTube videos. Christopher loves a variety of music, with Eric Clapton, Bob Marley and Bruce Springsteen among his favourites. However, his very favourite YouTube video is “Eye of the Tiger” and it’s hard for anyone to persuade him to select anything else.
Recently Christopher’s speech pathologist, Nur, was overjoyed when Christopher independently picked Adele’s music video on YouTube when she told him Adele is her favourite singer! This was such a wonderful moment for them both. It was a milestone achievement for Christopher to be able to scan the different options available, stop at Adele and maintain his gaze long enough to activate the selection. For Nur, it demonstrated what a strong rapport they have. She was absolutely delighted, saying “I’m really proud of Christopher and what he’s achieved with his eye gaze.” Nur went on to explain “Christopher usually looks at the top right of the screen but, to choose Adele, he had to look to the centre and left. This was a fantastic achievement.”
Assistive Technology such as an eye-gaze device can change everything for children and adults who do not have sufficient speech to communicate well. In Christopher’s case, it has given him the opportunity to express his passions and do something nice for someone else.
Well done Christopher!
More About Eye-Gaze Devices
Eye-gaze devices can assist with Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC). AAC is a type of communication that combines gestures, eye pointing, vocalisations and pointing to symbols for people with limited speech abilities.
Eye-gaze (link to product) devices can be used by children and adults who live with significant physical disabilities to be more independent. It may provide them with a way to communicate in different ways, for example, by writing, generating speech, accessing the internet or using social media. Eye-gaze technology can provide opportunities to play and have fun, and to operate a TV, telephone and music through remote control.
An eye-gaze camera tracks the person’s eye movements, which then moves the mouse on a computer screen. The person selects items either by holding their eye-gaze for a certain time, referred to as ‘dwell’, by blinking, or by clicking an external button.
To find out more about eye-gaze technology, visit the new NovitaTech Assistive Technology store located at 31 Manton Road, Hindmarsh, South Australia, contact our NovitaTech specialists on 1300 668 482 or enquire online.