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Gaze-controlled communication technology for children with severe multiple disabilities: Parents and professionals' perception of gains, obstacles, and prerequisites.

Journal article
Authors Eva Holmqvist
Gunilla Thunberg
Marie Peny-Dahlstrand
Published in Assistive technology : the official journal of RESNA
Volume 30
Issue 4
Pages 201-208
ISSN 1949-3614
Publication year 2018
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Health and Rehabilitation
Pages 201-208
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1080/10400435.2017.13...
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.f...
Keywords augmentative and alternative communication, communication, computer access, pediatrics, usability
Subject categories Occupational Therapy

Abstract

The aim of this study was to explore parents' and professionals' thoughts of how a gaze-controlled computer can be beneficial to children with severe multiple disabilities. All systems were provided primarily for symbol-based communication, but were also used for other purposes such as play, leisure and school activities. A further aim was to investigate factors affecting usability, specifically for communication. The study used a qualitative approach, involving content analysis of semistructured interviews with the children's key persons (N = 11). The analysis yielded three categories and twelve subcategories. There were gains for the children in terms of empowerment, social interaction, learning opportunities and efficient computer use. Inaccessibility, liability issues and technical failure were seen as obstacles, while the prerequisites included time, collaboration, stimulating content, know-how and opportunities. To sum up, this study suggests that gaze-controlled technology can provide children who have multiple disabilities involving severe motor dysfunction and communicative and cognitive problems with new opportunities to communicate, interact and perform activities independently, as long as conditions are right.

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