New PDA Software Helps Children Communicate -- COMPAMED Trade Fair

The new system’s name is SC@UT, which stands for Augmentative and Adaptive Communication System. It has been created by a team of psychologists, psycho-pedagogues, and speech therapists at the University of Granada in Spain, headed by professor José Juan Cañas Delgado. He is lecturer of Ergonomics of the department of Experimental Psychology and Behavioural Physiology.

“This is a project promoted by the Regional Government of Andalusia which attempts to reduce differences between disabled and non-disabled people”, states 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 the present world, social and labour integration is impossible without communication and access to education.”

The functioning of SC@UT is easy: through a PC or a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) parents or tutors can download the specific software from the university’s website for free. After this, the device is ready to be used as a means of communication between the child and society. Thanks to 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.

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."

At the moment, this initiative has started to work as a pioneering project in 16 schools of the Southern Spanich provinces of Granada and Jaen.; Source: University of Granada