As I’m sure with all communication devices, there are occasions when it is not always possible or appropriate for E to use it. For these situations, a low tech alternative that matches her communication style and skills is required.
As I have mentioned before, E is going into P6 after the holidays and so is able to read and write with confidence. When using her communication device, she now chooses to use the keyboard and predictive text option rather than pre-programmed words. So without her device, we needed something that would also let her do this and so E and I developed a way of spelling out words using a combination of her signs and my predictive text. This works well for us but is quite inaccessible if you do not know her well. To get round this we are currently trialling a low tech replacement created for us by the local communication team FACCT.
This is a two sided grid with the same information on both sides. E uses eye gaze to first select a colour box and then letter box. The letter she wants is the colour just picked. It is a fantastic quick replacement which makes communication possible when the device is not around.
When E was younger this spelling based option was not appropriate. To ensure she could communication without her device ,she had a communication passport This gave some key information about her, explained how she communicated and contained both pictures of her signs with their meaning together with some paper copies of key grids from her communication device. Again this was developed in conjunction with FACCT. To use this, I would mimic the scanning process by pointing first to rows and then the columns within the selected row.