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Assistive Technology and Cerebral Palsy

Posted by Denise Bandl, M.S., CCC-SLP, ATP on

Cerebral Palsy, the most common motor disorder, can make it difficult for people to interact with their environment. Through the use of assistive technology, such as  switches and switch adapted toys/devices, people with Cerebral Palsy can independently interact with their environment. Switches are buttons, levers, or sensors that can be activated with any part of the body. Switches vary in how much pressure is required to activate them. So, a person with very limited motor movements might do better with a Micro Switch, whereas a person with big, less controlled motor movements would do best with a large durable switch such as the Big Red Switch. Also, the body part being used to press the switch needs to be selected based on movements that are the most accurate, controlled, and consistent.

Individuals with Cerebral Palsy also often have speech disorders. For individuals with a significant speech impairment, they may not be easily understood by others. Through the use of communication devices (sometimes called talking boxes or talking buttons), people with speech impairments can communicate with others. There are a wide variety of communication devices ranging from single message output devices such as the Talk About!, to more advanced devices with multiple messages/topic pages such as the SuperTalker, and high tech devices such as those offered by companies that specialize in speech generating devices, such as Tobii Dynavox and PRC. Some individuals who aren't quite ready for these devices might benefit from a low tech system such as the Talk n Tote Board, a portable communication board that can have pictures and objects attached. 

Adaptive Tech Solutions, a therapist owned company, offers a wide variety of switches and switch adapted toys/devices to promote independence in people with disabilities such as Cerebral Palsy.