Assistive Technology and Communication: A Parent's Experience
European University Cyprus
Home use and child support – parent’s experience
The video is a description of how the family in collaboration with the school support the use of Assistive Technology and more specifically a high-tech Augmentative and Alternative Communication device for the communication needs of their 5-year-old son. The child (boy, Luke) who has a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder, attends an Early Childhood Education public school. He is bilingual and non-verbal.
The technology used is a high-tech augmentative and alternative communication device with The Grid 3 communication software. The device was obtained after assessment for the use of AT by a multidisciplinary team.
The main objectives included in the individualized educational programme as well as the use of AT in classroom:
- To develop basic digital skills for the child to independently use his AAC device
- To communicate using sentences with the use of the AAC device
- To enhance verbal communication through Voice Output Communication technology
- To generalise the use of AAC outside classroom
The video describes the experience and work done at home. Parents are in close collaboration with the mainstream classroom and special education teachers.
Experience and Outcomes
The father describes the way AAC was introduced to his son, and how they as parents work with him at home in order to facilitate the use of the device in all aspects of the boy’s life including school. This work is designed in collaboration with school as well, so parents – school partnership is considered important. Results achieved:
- Development of AT use skills
- Communication of everyday needs
- Enhancement of verbal communication
Though no immerse innovation is presented in this experience, the methodology followed in terms of (a) setting specific objectives designed on child’s specific interests, (b) transferring of the child’s individualised educational programme in relation to communication to home context, (c) emphasis on enhancement of verbal communication along with the use of AAC, (d) clear involvement and roles of all persons involved (mother, father, special education teacher and classroom teacher) provide a successful framework for the implementation of AAC.
This experience is presented on behalf of a parent, and though it is specific to a particular family, it is a more consolidated practice. The methodology and objectives presented are grounded on the basis of a well-designed implementation plan which involves all partners and puts the child in the centre of the process. Regular and consistent use at home regulated by parents’ commitment and collaboration with school is the most important aspect that involves a best practice for replicability, which largely depends on home-school collaboration and inclusive culture.