How technology can enable people to communicate and live more independently

Fraser’s story

Fraser’s movement and speech are severely affected by his condition, and he is unable to communicate in a way that the vast majority of people would understand. He is presented with challenges from the minute he opens his eyes, but his communication aid has opened up his world.

Fraser uses his eyes to control Grid 3 AAC software, on his Power Pad.  By sustaining his gaze on the different targets in Grid 3, he is able to select words, compose messages and communicate.

His eye movement can also be used to control the cursor, meaning he is able to access his computer and complete his school work.

Fraser also uses his communication aid to control devices around his home including his bedroom lights and television.

He enjoys using the technology to be able to speak to his friends, arrange to go out on the weekend, and email members of his family.

"Eye gaze technology has opened up so many horizons for Fraser” said his dad John, “People can see parts of his personality that might not be obvious to them at first."

Jamie’s story

Jamie has difficulty with coordination and controlling body movements, meaning that he struggles to be understood by others. From coaching a local cycling club to supporting other AAC users, Jamie has a very busy life, but has never let his condition hold him back.

Jamie uses a joystick to operate Grid 3 on his Grid Pad communication aid. Before using Grid software he was completely illiterate.

Now he is able to read, write and construct sentences. He taught himself to use the software, read symbols to communicate and to personalise resources that help him manage his busy life.

Using Grid 3 to communicate in everyday life has transformed Jamie’s world. 

He now creates bespoke resources for other people with similar needs and has designed a symbolised calendar that is used by other Grid users. He also visits universities to give talks to students and raise awareness of AAC.

“Jamie is an inspiration to everyone at Smartbox”. said Dougal Hawes, Business Development Director at Smartbox. “Despite the obvious challenges, he has achieved so much and always goes about life with a smile on his face”.