Experiences using Information and Communication Technologies with Children Affected by Cerebral Palsy

Experiences using Information and Communication Technologies with Children Affected by Cerebral Palsy

Thais Pousada (University of A Coruña, Spain), Miriam Piñeiro (ASPACE Coruña, Spain) and Yolanda Vizcaya (ASPACE Coruña, Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-206-0.ch023
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Intervention using the New Technologies in children suffering from Infantile Cerebral Palsy (ICP) is aimed at attaining or promoting individual abilities of each user. To this end, all possible means and resources are facilitated to enable them to access communication and thus to attain higher levels of social integration and individual advancement for their personal development. One such resource is In-TIC, assistive software for the creation of virtual keyboards customised to the capabilities of each individual user. The experience gained from the application of this software, in combination with assistive hardware, has made it possible to facilitate and improve the access to and use of computers for children suffering from infantile cerebral palsy in the ASPACE Coruña Centre.
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Children with severe physical handicaps require special devices to help them perform their everyday activities, such as personal hygiene, travel, communication, controlling their environment and the use of computers (Hawley MS, Cudd, P.A. and Cherry, A.D, 1994). Consequently, this gives rise to the need for many different types of assistive technology, a basic tool for promoting the personal autonomy of these users.

Many children suffering from ICP have significant handicaps in the motor structures of their upper limbs, due to which they have severe difficulties in performing learning activities, above all those based on writing (Chia-Ling Chen et al, 2006).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Communication: Is a process of transferring information from one entity to another. Communication processes are sign-mediated interactions between at least two agents which share a repertoire of signs and semiotic rules.

Augmentative and Alternative Communication: Is any method that supplements or replaces speech and writing when these are temporarily or permanently impaired and inadequate to meet all or some of a person’s communication needs. Use of AAC involves selecting messages or codes from a set of possibilities.

Assistive Technology: Is a generic term that includes assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative devices for people with disabilities and includes the process used in selecting, locating, and using them.

Infantile Cerebral Palsy (ICP): It is a pathology that encompasses a range of chronic diseases arising from a lesion or defect in the development of the immature brain; i.e. it is fundamentally a neuromotor disorder.

In-TIC: In-TIC (Integration and accessibility of individuals with functional diversity in the use of Information and Communication Technologies) is a software or a support system for the access to and use of ICTs for people with functional diversity, which allows the virtual environment to be personalised and simplified as far as possible using virtual keyboards.

ICT/ICTs: The Information and Communication Technologies are a set of technologies, components and techniques related to the media and the processing and transmission of information.

Access Computer: It is the act that involves the proper management of hardware and softare on a computer, without any kind of barrier.

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