Gorlo & Todt Joystick to teach preschool skills on a laptop
Mobile team of Dominiek Savio
X is a 4-year-old boy in second grade of preschool. He has cerebral palsy, which makes him wheelchair-bound and gives him an increased muscle tone in his upper limbs. X also has Cerebral Visual Impairment (CVI) which means that not all visual information is processed correctly in the brain.
Because manipulating materials, e.g. blocks, is not motorically possible for X, the use of a computer was encouraged in order to teach X the preschool skills expected at that age, e.g. sorting, sequencing, puzzles…
An ordinary mouse was also too difficult for him motor-wise, a Gorlo & Todt joystick was used. This joystick is large, stands on a solid base, and the buttons are separate from the control handle and are visually clear and large enough for him to use. The speed of the mouse can also be adjusted on the joystick itself.
Experience and Outcomes
The computer was already available in the classroom and the joystick was not a major adjustment in the classroom.
The teacher thought it was a good solution but did not have the time to teach the joystick use. That is why I came to the classroom every week for an hour to practise with him. I, as occupational therapist, taught him the joystick use. When he was independent enough in his joystick use, it was suggested that he could also use it when I was not present. Yet this was not easy for the teacher.
Getting him ready, setting up the computer, choosing the programme and the exercises… took a bit too much time for the teacher to be able to use it on a daily basis. As a result, the computer was only used at times when extra support was available in the classroom.
For the teacher, this joystick was already an innovative solution, something that was otherwise not used.
The mobile team of Dominiek Savio supports children with motor disability in the regular education network (inclusive education). This team works demand-driven and a therapist of the team visits the child for 1 hour every week to work with the child and support the environment. The team often works together with the other partners around the child, e.g. parents, physiotherapists, speech and language therapists, support team, etc.