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Look2Talk Project

Look2talk was a project to support and learn from children who can only use their eyes to communicate. Although emerging technology provided some potentially very useful examples of eye-control of computers, there was a desperate need for a printed guide that could outline the techniques required to develop eye-pointing as communication system from an early age. Using these principles, Look2Talk produced a truly useful chart-based eye-pointing communication system that can be used in virtually any environment.

Deliverables

The Look2Talk communication system can be purchased from the ACE Centre. Visit the Look2Talk Complete product page for more details.

You can also view the Look2Talk Final Report here (pdf, 900k)

What does it involve?

The project developed a guide for parents and professionals to expand a child’s communication through eye-pointing to pictures or symbols contained within a book. An 18-month trial of the guide with a group of children and their families resulted in a final set of publications that feature a DVD containing support materials.

Aims of the project

The aims of the project were to:

  • Identify appropriate vocabulary for use at home and at school;
  • find ways to support the use of this vocabulary in daily life;
  • further develop the skills of family members in communicating through pictures and symbols;
  • further develop the skills of relevant members of staff at the child’s school in communicating through pictures and symbols;
  • expand the child’s eye pointing communication skills;
  • produce an comprehensive guide with a supporting DVD.

Who will it help?

It is hoped that the guide will help any child who faces both physical and communication challenges to communicate more effectively.

Background to the project

This project is based on the combined experience of two professionals in the field. The resulting guide draws on the authors experience over the years of what has worked for children.

  • Children want to communicate quickly therefore page turning needs to be minimal.
  • Children want to communicate their ideas, not perfect sentences, therefore it is the functions of language that are represented.
  • Children want to use key symbols that matter, not symbols for every thing, therefore core symbols are available on every page.
  • Children want to know where the symbols, are therefore key and frequently used symbols are always in the same place.
  • Children learn to communicate from their parents, therefore the first step at each stage of the guide is to skill the parents first.
  • Children learn gradually and in a systematic way therefore the guide is staged with a learning readiness at each stage to inform when to move forwards.

These principles were first used in the book Developing and Using a Communication Book for children who use pointing as a means of communication. It was the success of this guide both in the UK and abroad that prompted the authors to address the needs of children who could only eye-point.

Case study

John is a bright lively four-year-old boy with cerebral palsy that affects all four limbs. Whilst he understands everyday language his own communication is restricted to a “yes” and “no”, facial expression and crying. His control on his world is minimal and his parents face frustration and confusion as they try to meet his needs. John has been introduced to a simple first stage vocabulary where the controlling words of “More” and “Stop” accompany a range of symbols relating to his day. John now chooses when he wants a task to continue and when he wants it to finish. John’s parents are also using the symbols along with his twin sister; they show him how he can ask for help and how he can offer an opinion on his life. The family now have a bridge to work on, a communication bridge.