Communication ability of children who are intellectually disabled or have communication limitations (such as autism, down syndrome, or cerebral palsy) may soon be improved thanks to a research group of the University of Granada. SC@UT, which stands for Augmentative and Adaptive Communication System, has been created by the following researchers: 13 professors of the ETSI, ASPROGRADES association and a team of psychologists, psycho-pedagogues, and speech therapists. All are directed by José Juan Cañas Delgado, professor of Ergonomics of the Department of Experimental Psychology and Behavioural Physiology of the UGR and María José Rodríguez Fortiz, professor of the Department of System Informatics. SC@UT, software for augmenting communication by computer devices (PC’s, laptops, PDA’s, etc.), is for children with special communication and educational needs, such as those who suffer from autism.
“This is a project promoted by the Regional Government of Andalusia which attempts to reduce differences between disabled and non-disabled people”, states Cañas Delgado. ”We have created a configurable parameter tool that allows disabled people to interact with their environment. In this way, their adaptation to a world full of barriers is much easier. In this world, social and labour integration is impossible without communication and access to education.”
The functioning of SC@UT is easy: through a PC (or even better, a PDA) parents or tutors can download the specific software from http://www.ugr.es/~scaut/. Later, the display is ready to be used as a way of communicating between the child and the society. Through the SC@UT project, the child can express such needs as going to the toilet or hunger, as well as such states as being happy, sad, or tired. SC@UT includes a speaker which transmits the “user’s comments” to the listener.
Cañas Delgado states that when communication improves, disruptive behaviour in disabled children decreases. Consequently, the use of that display could also diminish aggressiveness in autistic children. “Many of them injure themselves and present aggressive behaviour because they become frustrated when they cannot communicate with others. If they can communicate through SC@UT, this problem would disappear.”
At the moment, this initiative has started to work as a pioneering project in 16 schools of Granada and Jaén. However, the Regional Government of Andalusia wishes to implement this project throughout Andalusia. “SC@UT technology tries to overcome the problems of the previous systems: it is adaptive, portable, and inexpensive.” With a proper device, the user can download the software free of charge.”
At present, researchers of the UGR who have created the SC@UT project are studying the possibilities and profits of this system, which will soon be used by children and adults with cerebral palsy as well as by adults who cannot speak for several reasons (heart attack, thrombosis, etc.)
José Juan Cañas Delgado.
Department of Experimental Psychology and Physiology of Behaviour of the University of Granada. Phone: +34 958 243 767 - +34 958 246 268. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Maria José Rodríguez Fortiz. Department of System Informatics of the University of Granada. Phone: 958 243 178. Email: email@example.com
Martes, 17 de Octubre de 2006
Researchers of the Universidad de Granada develop a pioneering system to make communication possible between autistic children and their environment
- A child can “talk” to a parent through a PDA. Therefore the child can express such needs as going to the toilet or hunger, and such states as being happy, sad, or tired.- The system could be used by children as well as by adults with cerebral palsy, or by adults who cannot speak for different reasons (heart attack, thrombosis, etc.). - Thirteen professors of the Computer Engineering School (ETSI Informática) and a team of psychologists, psycho-pedagogues and speech therapists take part in the SC@UT project, which has been designed by researchers of University of Granada (Universidad de Granada)