Products for persons with disabilities

Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) is an umbrella term that encompasses the communication methods used to supplement or replace speech or writing for those with impairments in the production or comprehension of spoken or written language. AAC is used by those with a wide range of speech and language impairments, including congenital impairments such as cerebral palsy, intellectual impairment and autism, and acquired conditions such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and Parkinson's disease. Modern use of AAC began in the 1950s with systems for those who had lost the ability to speak following surgical procedures. During the 1960s and 1970s, spurred by an increasing commitment in the West towards the inclusion of disabled individuals in mainstream society and developing the skills required for independence, the use of manual sign language and then graphic symbol communication grew greatly. It was not until the 1980s that AAC began to emerge as a field in its own right. Rapid progress in technology have paved the way for communication devices with multiple options for access to communication. [Source: Wikipedia]
Read more about AACs here.

Here is list of such devices, including software and hardware products: (arranged in an alphabetical order)
Abbreviations used CP- Cerebral Palsy, ALS- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or the Lou Gehrig's Disease, TBI- Traumatic Brain Injury

Products from India
 Product Type  Product  Disability  Cost     FeaturesProduct Review
SoftwareeLocutorSevere disabilities, ALSFree- Known as The Hawking Communicator project ("hawking")
- It can only operate through a single button.
- Allows type text, synthesizing speech
- Allows to give command to the computer
developed by Arun Mehta, President bapsi.
Software and HardwareSanyogMultiple disabilities -- is an iconic communication device.
- icons can be accessed using special access switches.
- has an online keyboard including conjugated symbols.
- includes text to speech.
- Available in Bengali, Hindi and English.
- Allows personalization. Icons could be modified for specific users.
- A booklet has been uploaded here.
The product has been developed by IIT, Kharagpur and IICP, India
Vernacular Speech InterfaceShrutineo-literates, pre-literates, visually impaired, speech impaired -- Computer interfaces for the visually challenged, neo and pre-literates
- software in module to learn languages using a computer
- aim is to generate natural speech, easy-to-use interface.
- Text to Speech synthesizeris under development.
The product has been developed by IIT, Kharagpur and IICP, India

Products from other countries

Product Type
Product, Origin
Disability
Cost
Origin
 FeaturesProduct Review     
Audio Book PlayersHumanWare Victor readersBlindness, Low Vision, Learning disabilitiesAUD 65 onwards - simple, handy and portable, easy-to-use audio book players with high-contrast keys
- built-in speaker, headphone jack with control of playback speeds
- rechargeable battery and integrated carrying handle
- plays DAISY, Audio and MP3 CDs
- DAISY formats supported: 2.0 and 2.0.2
- Some products in this range could read from SD, USB.
- speakers are of good quality, and its small size allows anyone to carry it anywhere while listening to the audio books.
- Weight of some of the products in the range is upto 0.95 kg (2.1 lbs.) with battery, which might be a concern for some.
- Its self-voicing controls make make it a friendly audio book player.
- 10 hours of continuous play of DAISY MP3 books, only 4 hours of recharging time.
Braille Display devicesHumanWareBlindness AUD 3844 onwards
- 18-cell Braille display and a 8-key Braille keyboard, with a nominal operating time (speech only) 20 hours.
- could connect to a wireless wireless network through a wireless network card.
- Speech output
- Effortless thumb navigation by line, sentence, or paragraph
- a fast, low-power-drain connection to PC for ActiveSync
- Internet Explorer V 6
- independent synthesized speech and music volume controls
- A range of braille display units, the best among these is the BrailleNote PK, with-
- The weight is 0.45kg / 0.99lb which makes it really easy to carry.
- The wireless network card is sold separately
- The costs are not available on website, the lowest is AUD 3844.
computer accessibility software Dasher For a list of disabilities Free, GPL - text-entry interface, driven by natural continuous pointing gestures. One could use a mouse, touchpad, touch screen, roller ball, joystick, Push-button, Wii Remote, or mice operated by the foot or head.
- eye-tracking version also available.
-
could be personalize by putting information in a training file, for any language.
 - Is also good with children in pre-school age group.
Handheld-Video-Magnifier      
Hardware + softwareAMDiPhysically challenged$88.00 to $1,185.00 - Communicators from single message switch to 128 messages. 
  AMDi
Farmingdale, NY, USA, manufacturing facility in Hong Kong
CP, ASD, ALS, stroke, TBI, developmental disability 
- Switches of various kinds for persons with CP - beam sensor switches, proximity switches, Eye-Blink, Piezo switches.
- List of accessories for products in offer.
- Training center at Long Island, NY. It is free for anyone to use with clients or to understand products.
- Loan program and rental program with a small monthly charge.
 
HardwareAMDiCP, ASD    
$ 30 onwards
 - Mechanical and Sensor switches for a wide variety of activation and mounting options.
- picture plate switches and membrane switches for different kinds of limited abilities.
- The user does not have to phyically touch the sensor switch to make it operate. These are availble in a wide varity of sizes, shapes, operating distances, and sensitivity.
 
 Devices from the PRC
Ohio, USA
Speech disabilities- TBI, ALS, ASD, CP, Stroke 
Prentke Romich Company (PRC) offers a range of AAC devices, switches, accessories and mounts 
 Internet browser      
 Software  AMDiCP, ASD, ALS, stroke, TBI, developmental disability  $285 onwards - A list of software products to create customized communication boards, program the Smart/Series memory flash, print
- archiving sound files directly from the computer
- word prediction and an onscreen keyboard
 
Speech generating devices and symbol-adapted special educationDynaVox
USA
CP, ASD, Severe cognitive and physical disabilities due to ALS, stroke, TBI, intellectual disabilities. not available
USA
- lightweight and stylish range of products for different kinds of needs. - with powerful speakers, devices that could be mounted on the wheelchair, devices which could be operated through blink of the eyes.
- Available with a range of accessories for the products.
- Video and print-based Implementation Toolkit available online to help facilitate successful interaction using AAC.
- 24x7 online support for product and online training.
- option of availing funding.
- DynaWrite 2.0, computer-style keyboard and large screen display for individuals with strong literacy skills, seems a good product. It could be connected to computer to talk on the phone and use it as a universal remote control for common household appliances.
- There has been some criticism of products on account of high costs

Screen Magnifier, Screen Readers

SmartView Synergy SI

Blindness, Low Vision, Learning disabilities

AUD 527 onwards

Australia

Range of products which help in

- enlarges and enhances everything on your computer screen

- ZoomText reads documents, web pages and email using the computer's speakers

- Enable use of computer in conjunction with a flatbed scanner and synthetic speech to convert the printed word into speech

- a range of handheld, desktop and portable magnifiers are also available.

- bright and smooth view

- provides a stable image without lag, distortion or flicker.

- The Smartview 360 desktop magnifier comes with an integrated camera and 19” LCD monitor, which could provide view in any direction. It comes with a host of control features. The cost might be high.

Internet Browser


ZAC Browser (Zone for Autistic    Children)

New Jersey, USA

Children with ASD, Asperger syndrome, Rett syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, PDD not otherwise specified and PDD-NOS.

Free


- Icon based navigation system.
-
Works with Windows 98, 2000, ME, XP, Vista and 7

- Allows children to access games, activities (based on diverse interests), videos (that allow a stimulating experience and encourages children to talk).
- A mutiligual discussion forum
- Available in English, Spanish and French.

Good, Interactive.


For more information visit peoplecd.com

Wireless head-tracking on personal compute

HeadMouse Extreme

people with limited use of their hands

$995.00


Texas, USA

-  translates movements of the head into proportional movements on a computer screen

- The user places a disposable adhesive sensor to their forehead, hat or glasses which is tracked by a wireless optical sensor.

- Operates via the USB port using standard mouse drivers.

- No special software is required.

       


Subpages (1): AAC
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