Eye Gaze Communication

Boards

 

Introduction

In many cases individuals are unable to communicate with others directly by using oral language, hands, or other body parts.  Because of technology and innovation, this population now has the option of utilizing an eye gaze communication system in which a person's direct stare can provide a particular selection.  With the help of an eyegaze board, people whose communication abilities are impaired can still express what they are feeling or what their needs may be with a limitless vocabulary.

 

Functioning Benefits

FAQ's

Links to Useful Websites

Product Vendors

Resources Used for this Site

 

Functioning

When establishing an eyegaze communication board, there are two main parts to consider.  First of all there is the communication board; this section contains all of the necessary vocabulary the individual will use when communicating.  The words that comprise this communication board are all based on the user's preferences of what is most important to communicate.  Most users have a variety of differences on their personal board, however many have some similarities.  For example, "eat, drink, food" are basic needs that usually should be placed on each person's communication board.  This part of the system is primarily placed in the tray of the user's wheelchair.

Eyegaze Communication Section

 

 

RED

YELLOW
BLUE
GREEN
 
I or me
eat/food
read a book
Hello, how are you?
1
Mom
drink
watch TV
How was your weekend day?
2
Dad
different position
go out
I need help.
3
Friend
play
listen to music
I love this
4

 

Secondly, a clear acrylic board comprising of encoded material is held upright near the individual's face.  The information that is encoded can be symbolized as colors, letters, and/or numbers (depending upon the preference of each individual).  Each color, letter, or number represents its own column or row; hence, the vocabulary is placed within the cells that are made up from these columns and rows.

Clear Acrylic Board Section

Red

 

 

1

Yellow

 

 

 

 

4

section cut away to allow partner to see userís eye gaze

 

 

 

 

 

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Green

 

3

 

Blue

 

It is common practice to post a note (on the device) explaining the functioning and uses of the eyegaze communication board.  This note can be as simple as, "I use this board to communicate to others.  First, I look at the color and then the letter/number.  The colors and letters/numbers coordinate with what I am communicating on this board.  After watching me look at the existing colors and letters/numbers, repeat what I am trying to communicate.  I will nod/smile when you are correct."

 

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Benefits

People who have used the alphabet clustering system realize that this old process can become tiresome and confusing (picture of alphabet clustering is shown below).  However, this newer method of a spreadsheet-like communication board is useful because it can cater to whatever each particular individual would like to express.  There is unlimited vocabulary that can be used on these boards.  In addition, this encoded system can be used with phrases, letters, words, numbers, pictures or anything else that is needed.  Once a person knows how to indicate what they want in each row and column, the possibilities are infinite amounts of communication.  A user may become frustrated with too much information on a particular board.  However, he or she can simply start a new board with new vocabulary (but the same colors, letters, and/or numbers).  Although users will need initial training and practice, the benefits of communicating effectively prove that this short adaptation process is worth it.

Alphabet Clustering System

 

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Facts and Questions

 

Facts

 

*Other technologies that use the eyes are becoming popular including eye typing.

 

*LC Technologies, Inc. is developing a system called EYETRACKING, that will pioneer the use of computers by nonverbal, disabled persons.

 

*The success of an eye-gaze board will be increased if it is introduced during an activity that is enjoyable to the individual.

 

*The eye-gaze board should look age appropriate so that the person is comfortable using it.

 

*The ability to express oneself is something that no one should be deprived of.

 

Q & A's

Q: What is assistive technology?

A: It is a device that is used to improve or maintain the independent functioning of people with disabilities.

 

Q: Why does this technology focus on using the eyes?

A: Most people with special needs often have the best control over their eye movements compared to other muscles

 

Q: What is the purpose of an eye gaze board?

A: For nonverbal individuals, the eye-gaze board serves as a facilitator of communication.

 

Q: If my child is in need of an eye gaze board, is the school system financially responsible?

A: School districts must provide for the services that are stipulated in the IEP.  This includes assistive technology devices.

 

Q: Should the eye-gaze board be transported between school and the home?

A: It is beneficial for the child to have consistency with the eye-gaze board.  Using the same device will enhance work output and overall educational experience.

 

Q: How can you be sure that the device will be properly integrated into the classroom?

A: The IEP will determine how the eye-gaze board is to be used in the classroom during lessons.

 

Q: Are all eye-gaze boards the same?

A: They can be made in a number of different ways.  The most important thing is that they best serve the individual that requires it.  They can be made in notebooks, on clear boards, or cardboard.  The pictures can be photographs of people, objects, and activities.  Again, each board is customized so no two should look alike.

 

Q: Who makes the eye-gaze boards?

A: Many professionals can collaborate on the making of the eye-gaze board.  Typically parents, educational specialists, and speech language therapists are all involved.  Keep in mind that the boards can be changed as necessary.

 

Q: How can we use eye-board communication with nonverbal individuals?

A: It is helpful when individuals have a board that has a description of how they use it.  This will help others to communicate appropriately, by using prompts and asking questions that can be answered by using the board.

 

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Useful Websites

 

1. www.connsensebulletin.com/eyegaze.html

2. www.cs.uta.fi/hci/gaze/eyetyping.php

3. www.members3.boardhost.com/OFCP/msg/1952.html

4. www.rettsyndrome.org/digests/00073.htm

5. www.aea11.k12.ia.us/att/att_strategies.htm

 

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Product Vendors

1. Crestwood Communication Aids, Inc.

    6625 North Sidney Place

    Milwaukee, WI  53209-3259

    414-352-5678

 

2. Mayer-Johnson Co.

    P.O. Box 1579

    Solana Beach, CA  92075-7570

    800-588-4548

 

3. L.C. Technologies, INC.

9455 Silver King Court

Fairfax, Virginia  22031-4713

1-800-EYEGAZE or 1-800-393-4293

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Resources Used for this Site

1. Carolann Cormier, MS, CCC-SLP, ATP.  Establishing an Encoded Eye Gaze Communication System.  Retrieved    from www.connsensebulletin.com/eyegaze.html on 6/3/04.

2. Heartland AEA 11. Developing an Eye Gaze Communication System.  Retrieved from www.aea11.k12.ia.us/att/att_strategies.htm on 4/13/04.

3. Cerebral Palsy League of Queensland. What is Assistive Technology? Retrieved from www.cplqld.org.au/techsupport/techunit/information/facts/5834 on 6/4/04.

4. Fusco, Jennifer. Augmentive & Alternative Communication. Retrieved from www.speechdelay.com/testrosettaugmentative.htm on 6/2/04.

5. L.C. Technologies, INC. EYEGAZE - a straight line to the future of computer technology. Retrieved from www.eyegaze.com on 6/4/04.

 

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