“We help patients communicate,” says Lindsay Bray, a clinical leader at Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre whose face lights up with pride when discussing the innovative work conducted at the Centre’s Technology Access Clinic (TAC).
The TAC provides augmentative and alternative communication devices for patients who are unable to speak or write. The devices range from computers that patients control with their eyes, to text-to-speech programs on tablets.
“As our patients grow and develop, we find devices that suit their evolving needs,” says Susan Nall, Clinical Manager of Developmental Pediatrics and Rehabilitation. “We work with people who otherwise can’t communicate and we support the discovery of their expressive vocabulary.”
A lifetime of collaboration
The TAC serves pediatric and adult patients. The multidisciplinary team includes speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists who help patients with the physical aspects of accessing devices, biomedical technicians and communicative disorder assistants who program the devices.
“As our patients grow and develop, we find devices that suit their evolving needs.” – Susan Nall
“Many of our pediatric patients have developmental conditions like cerebral palsy or autism spectrum disorder,” explains Lindsay, “while our adult patients have degenerative conditions like multiple sclerosis, Lou Gehrig’s disease or have suffered a stroke.”
One of the major goals in prescribing a communication device is to enhance a patient’s quality of life.
“It’s very rewarding to help our patients advocate for their wishes and to provide a sense of self-determination in such a comprehensive and innovative way,” says Susan.
Read more about the TAC: Man with ALS writes memoir with eye tracking technology