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Pacific Peoples Health

In the summer edition of Pacific Peoples Health (page 11 &12) we were thrilled to see an article about one of our TalkLink clients who is using eye gaze technology. Rebekah summarises our involvement with Malama and her family:

Malama was referred to TalkLink by her community speech-language therapy for support with communication following her diagnosis and progression with Motor Neurone Disease. Malama was first seen by the TalkLink team in October Malama using eye gaze2013. At that time, Malama’s speech was quite unclear and she was having difficulty making herself understood. This resulted in an otherwise independent and well-respected matriarch becoming increasingly reliant on her family to interpret for her, when others could not understand her speech. Over the assessment and trial period, Malama’s speech and hand function continued to deteriorate. We had begun trialling communication devices through which Malama could type messages to speak out. However, as she lost more control of her hands, this method of accessing a communication device became unreliable.

By April 2014, Malama was no longer able to use her hands to access devices or to even point to a communication board.  The TalkLink assessment team modified their consideration of  potential equipment options based on Malama’s current physical abilities and shifted focus to communication devices which used partner-assisted scanning and eye gaze access. Malama successfully trialled a Tobii PC Eye Mobile eye gaze system which was later approved for funding. She has since been able to use this device to help her communicate independently with family and friends, as well as with the wider community. The article in Pacific Peoples Health magazine provides further insights into Malama’s experiences. She was able to use her Tobii PC Eye Mobile eye gaze system to interact with the interviewer at times and the section at the bottom of the article entitled Malama – her words was written with the help of the device as part of a talk to a group of health professionals.  Malama is also excited to be using her Tobii PC Eye Mobile soon to share her story with another group of healthcare professionals following an invitation from a management team. Malama and her family have very kindly said that the help TalkLink has “provided our family is invaluable and we are very grateful to have you as part of our journey.”

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Rebekah Patterson
I have a strong interest in augmentative and alternative communication. I believe strongly in the empowering force of AAC. Through my job at Talklink, I feel very privileged to be able to work alongside clients, their families, and their support teams to help promote communicative competency where its potential might otherwise be overlooked.
Rebekah Patterson

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.talklink.org.nz/index.php/2015/03/06/pacific-peoples-health/

1 comment

  1. Alison Paulin

    Fantastic to read this success story, and to hear that it was reported in Pacific People’s Health! Great work, Rebekah.

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