The Grid 2 Arabic communication grid
This week I worked with a 21-year-old CP lady, Ms F, whose expressive communication is limited to a few hand gestures and a glottal ejective for ‘yes.’ Her receptive language is reportedly good and she recognises some high-frequency sight words (in Arabic). Her cognitive ability is believed to be within […]

Case Study: Understanding Symbols on an AAC device

World OT Day Logo
Celebrate the role that OTs have in helping people lead fulfilling and meaningful lives around the world. Yesterday I joined forces with Sidra Medical and Research Center to demonstrate how children with the most complex needs can access classroom activities using advanced technology including Eye Gaze. If you would like […]

World OT Day 2015

Stephen Hawking in Space
In January 2012 Intel announced they were looking into improving the efficiency of Stephen Hawking’s access to his communication aid. At the time, an infrared sensor mounted to his glasses detected small pulses of movement in his cheek. This enabled him to write at around 15 words per minute using a […]

Stephen Hawking’s improved speech software is now free to download

Girl Clapping
Background Information When we’re born we immediately use a range of pre-intentional behaviours to communicate. Generally a crying or laughing baby is not consciously intending to get her message across but is instead involuntarily reflecting the way she is feeling. Between six and twelve months children begin to demonstrate intentional behaviours which include facial […]

Developing symbolic communication using a BIGMack and a clapping activity

Model train set scene
Here’s a session I did this afternoon. The child is 5 years old, nonverbal, has good receptive language, and is a little non-compliant. He uses unconventional pre-symbolic language including pointing, grabbing, crying, pulling hands etc to communicate. This is very limiting when he wants to engage in anything other than […]

Encourage expressive communication with a scene building activity (and GoTalk Now!)

The Soli chip
I work with a number of people who benefit from the Micro Light switch to access computers, phones and tablets. The switch is suitable for people who have very small or weak movements in the hand, wrist or fingers. However due to the small size of the movements the switch […]

Project Soli captures tiny gestures

Jackson Pollock Website Screenshot
Create some abstract expressionist art (potentially worth millions) using a mouse, rollerball, joystick, headpointer or even eyegaze. Press the mouse button (or hit the switch or blink) to change the colour of your paint and start Action Painting. And it’s free! See you at Sotheby’s!

Develop early mouse skills at

iPad App Shapes & Colors
This fun app takes children through a series of activities to help them learn about shapes and colours. Recommended use Start with touch any colour and touch any shape and as your child learns to name these he or she can start to move through to the more difficult levels. Download […]

Learn Shapes & Colours with Patchimals Shapes&Colors

Dasher Screenshot
The Inference Group at Cambridge University originally intended to create a method of entering text into PDAs and other mobile devices. The result, however, has provided a vital alternative to standard On-Screen Keyboards that are used by thousands of people with physical disabilities. Most OSKs have a layout very similar to a regular […]

Hands-free computer access using Dasher

Microsoft Word with large buttons
Microsoft Word  is one of the world’s most popular computer programs. However the older versions are also visually very complex and this complexity can be a real barrier for young children, people with learning difficulties, and people with some visual impairments. In fact anyone can lose confidence when they are faced with the complex […]

Making older versions of Microsoft Word easier to use

WordQ Logo
WordQ offers help when writing documents by providing word prompts and sentence-by-sentence proofreading. When bundled with SpeakQ it also allows individual words to be spoken into your computer on the fly without the need for an additional speech recognition package. WordQ+SpeakQ is a lightweight, discrete and effective alternative to the […]


Samsung Galaxy S3
As of April 2013 people will be able to buy, albeit quite expensively, a mobile phone that is accessible partly using eye control. This is similar to the eye control technology more frequently associated with equipment that costs many thousands of pounds. The eye control appears to be limited to pausing video […]

Eyegaze comes to mobile phones

Teachmeet Bett Visual Minutes at BETT 2013
Hi all! I just returned from a productive visit to BETT in its new home at the Excel centre in London docklands. This year I found some cool new stuff and will provide details of these over the next few days. Photo: Danny Nicholson/Flickr

BETT 2013

Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 Box
I recently upgraded from Windows 7 to Windows 8. It was a smooth process and everything on my Lenovo T410 laptop is working well. I’m enjoying the design, speed and features of Windows 8 but found very quickly that Dragon NaturallySpeaking (in my case version 11 updated to 11.5) would […]

Fixing Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11/11.5 and Windows 8

I recently stumbled across a new set of text-to-speech voices produced by CereProc in Edinburgh. They have a fantastic collection of realistic voices covering a range of accents in the UK including Scottish, West Midlands and Southern. They also have voices for the accents of other countries. For many years I […]

CereProc Voices

A university student who I met through a DSA assessment recently got in touch to say that she was having difficulties reading PDF documents on her Kindle Keyboard. She was finding that the text is too small and this is causing eye strain. Also the small text is exacerbating chronic […]

Improving Readability of PDFs on the Kindle

On Friday I went to my first Disabled Students’ Allowance Workshop day at Assistive Solutions in Dalston. First of all a big ‘Thank You’ to them for putting on such a successful and useful day. Being relatively new to DSA it was great to do a little networking with the […]

DSA Workshop at Assistive Solutions

Jemma Pixie Hixon
It’s easy to see how technology can help people with physical or sensory disabilities but today I heard a wonderful story of how the Internet is helping a young girl with mental health needs. Jemma has agoraphobia which has meant that she has been largely unable to leave her house […]

Jemma Pixie Hixon

Samsung NB30 Netbook
Here’s a thing. Samsung have brought out a semi-ruggerised netbook and are showing it off at BETT (Stand M45). Samsung netbooks are widely known as being amongst the best and they have had a model at the top of PC Pro’s A-List for as long as I can remember. The […]

The best netbook for schools?

Nabaztag RFID rabbits
Well the title says it all, doesn’t it? No? Ok a little explanation: I’ve been experimenting with a friendly RFID reader called mir:ror and tages including the Nabaztag rabbits, coming up with some ideas that could be very useful for people with learning difficulties and dementia. After pulling them all […]

RFID Rabbit-Be-Gone

Perhaps a little late in posting this but CENMAC/Charlton School are having a drop-in day with well-known exhibitors and some interesting free seminars. From Imogen Wedgewood: “Everyone is welcome at this exciting drop-in day, packed full of hands on technologies for communication, inclusion, access and gaming.  Look out for leading […]

Communication Works 2009 @ Charlton School, London

Great news for visually impaired computer users. The basic Windows Magnifier utility that has been knocking around since Windows 95 has finally been ditched for something significantly more practical. The new version due to ship free with Windows 7 allows full-screen magnification and a moving lens. It is operated simply […]

Windows 7 to Include Free Improved Magnifier

I’ve spent part of today making this video demonstrating the new features of the Windows 7 on-screen keyboard. Try to ignore the mystery mouse cursor floating around the middle of screen.

Video of Windows 7 On Screen Keyboard