Following the belief that people with special needs can learn, grow and to
be accepted as valuable members of our society, despite the difficulties and severe
disabilities they have, we at Equilibrium are looking for various alternative methods for
facilitating lifestyles and improving the quality of care for our young people in
the two facilities.
At the end of 2019, the centres were visited by representatives of the Foundation “ASSIST – Assisting technologies”. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Maurice Greenberg introduced us to the means of complementary and alternative communication and in particular with the work and opportunities provided by Communicator 5 and held a consultation with young people, on the basis of which he provided an assessment of the needs for funds for complementary and alternative communication.
The means of complementary and alternative communication represent the “voice” of persons who
cannot talk. They have a role in the process of communication and in the training of people with
special needs. Communicator 5 (Tobii Dynavox) is software that provides huge training opportunities for children and adults and helps people with communication difficulties
to have a higher level of independence.
Communication takes place through text and symbols with a voice for synthesized speech. Such software allows people with disabilities to communicate with others, replacing expressive speech with synthesized speech provided by the system. Using numerous learning materials, Communicator 5 helps children and adults to be trained in basic concepts or categories that contribute to their educational and cognitive development.
The software can be used with both a touch screens and a device for eye control (for people with physical disabilities).
As innovators and strong supporters of innovative methods, we at Equilibrium, provided tablets and bought Communicator 5 software and have now been working with our young people for 4 months. The activities with Communicator 5 are carried out individually, according to the personal profile spossibilities and user needs.
Boys and girls learn the names of the objects in their environment, their characteristics, external features and functions. They come to recognize them and point them out.
Here are the results for this short period:
N. successfully handles the identification and pointing out of certain fruits, vegetables and domestic
animals. His vocabulary is enriched daily with new words. He makes attempts to imitate sounds.
He happily imitates the sounds he hears.
D. stands in front of Communicator with great desire and curiosity. She greatly enjoys the music
part, which motivates her to complete tasks successfully.
S. recognizes and identifies all fruits, vegetables, domestic and wild animals. Describes theirs
main characteristics. Successfully manages to count the objects to 5. Correctly indicates some
letters. Finds identical objects based on a certain attribute.
R. finds and points out not only the objects from her environment, but she also handles very well
the indication of letters and numbers. She is very curious about the world, which facilitates the process of work because she constantly wants to learn new things.
P. successfully copes with most tasks related to finding and pointing to objects, letters
and numbers. Working with it consists in enriching her vocabulary with new words and expressions. Correct construction and structuring of sentences.
A., K. and M., attracted by the sounds, are also interested in Communicator. They always attend the individual activities of their friends, observe and enjoy themselves very much.