Device to help children with disabilities ‘talk’

New technology will help children with communication difficulties interact more easily with others.


Scientists have created a software system that can help children with learning difficulties and disabilities, like cerebral palsy, communicate and converse with their family and friends in a way that has never been done before.


The system, developed by teams at Aberdeen and Dundee Universities and chartity Capability Scotland, uses sensors attached to wheelchairs, recording devices and swipe cards to collect info about a child’s experiences at school throughout the day. A computer then turns this data into a narrative, and this story is played to parents when their child gets home from school.

The children are in control of what they do and don’t want to share in their story, and can edit it however they choose. They can add in extra comments, too.

“A lot of children can be very limited to using ‘yes’ or ‘no’, or very simple pictures, or phrases such as ‘I’m hungry’. This allows them much richer conversations, which is great for them and for their parents,” said Dr Ehud Reiter, from the University of Aberdeen.

Students at the Corseford School, near Glasgow, have been trialing the system. Head teacher Sue Williams commented, “It allows children to take control of the conversation without having to rely on help from us.”


Does your child have a difficulty that has you worried about how they’ll cope at school? Let us know below…

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