“Olwami is a boy with big, bright eyes, who was diagnosed with Athetoid Cerebral Palsy. He understands so much, but battles with communication. He will laugh at a funny incident or joke before most of the other kids in class and has a contagious smile.
Family and school staff members saw his hidden potential. During 2014 the school speech therapist, Tebogo and his father, Dumisani attended a workshop on Eye Gaze Technology. Tebogo budgeted for the device and software for 2015.
When we initially told Olwami about the Eye Tracker, he was very excited. So, on the first day he was extra eager to try it out. Desirae from Inclusive Solutions came to do a workshop for the teachers, speech therapist and him. When it was time for him to start, she did the calibration and explained to him what to do. Desirae exclaimed that his eyes were perfect for Eye Gaze Technology! He started with “Look to Learn” and while she was mentioning something to us, he carried on. We were amazed to see how quickly he grasped it. Suddenly he had a choice of what to do. He was thrilled!
He moved on to Beeline soon. Recently he is also experimenting with the topics and words on his own. Quite often he is up to mischief and looks the other way on purpose, or starts smiling with a twinkle in his eyes, when he is deliberately making his own choice, e.g. choosing “lady” (girlfriend) from the topic “People”.
Since he has started using the Eye Tracker and eye gaze software, his communication with friends and other people away from the PC has also improved. He moves his head and eyes to point to something he wants. He also makes sounds. He likes a particular girl in class very much. She understands his way of communication and can usually tell what he wants. However, it is still difficult to communicate anything out of the ordinary.
It will be wonderful for Olwami to have access to his eye tracker all the time. We hope that in the future he will get a portable system so that he can communicate in all environments, all the time.
Joey Yssel – Class Teacher.