"He can now express his own will."
A modern, digital solution has given 19 year-old Sebastian Jansson, invaluable opportunities for living a more independent life on his way into adulthood – and to be seen as the smart guy that he is. With the Tobii Dynavox PCEye, Sebastian, who has cerebral palsy, can communicate with his surroundings in a way that he could not otherwise do. The proof is that he is now in his second year studying graphic design at the LBS Creative High School in Nyköping, Sweden.
“Without Tobii devices, Sebastian would be more encapsulated and would have trouble communicating with the outside world. However, perhaps the single most important benefit he has received is the he can now express his own will. The PCEye is his savior,” says Thomas Jansson, Sebastian's dad.
Since both parents are also Sebastian’s assistants, there is a lot of care and effort placed on ensuring that he gets the best life that he can despite his situation. Ensuring that he has the best means for communication is, of course, also very important.
Evolving with the equipment
Thomas sees a pattern in Sebastian's development, and it is connected with the various Tobii devices he has used over the years. Sebastian received his first communication device at the age of ten when he was in fourth grade.
I use my PCEye for my school work, for example in graphic communications and graphic illustration where I draw in Photoshop and use Maya for 3D
Sebastian has evolved along with Tobii’s development of new and even better products and solutions over the years. Thomas says that without the PCEye, Sebastian would have needed someone to constantly interpret for him. He would have been able to go to school, but would not be receiving the same kind of education that he is now getting, where he works with a range of different graphic design software.
“I use my PCEye for my school work, for example in graphic communications and graphic illustration where I draw in Photoshop and use Maya for 3D. For vector graphics, I use Illustrator, which I just started with,” says Sebastian.
When Thomas sees Sebastian’s positive development curve, he wants others in similar situations to have the same opportunities, with the same type of communication device.
“I am convinced that the sooner you get it, the better the chances are for development. And it is clear that I have sometimes wondered how Sebastian would have evolved if he had access to Tobii devices earlier in life,” says Thomas.
With the PCEye, Sebastian can control his computer with nearly the same abilities as anyone else who uses a mouse and fingers to type with. PCEye is an eye tracker that makes it possible to control a computer, but instead of using a traditional keyboard and mouse you use your eyes.
The teacher hesitated
“I had some doubts about Sebastian when he started school and was afraid that his disability would limit him. However, now I can say that I actually do not need to change anything in my teachings in order for Sebastian to attend class. It makes me happy that he can be part of the class and more motivated to teach. This new type of technology gives the user ample opportunity to express themselves, regardless of the limitations that their bodies can place on them,” says Sebastian’s teacher, Stefan Lundal.
He notes that there is no difference between what Sebastian is doing in class and what other students are doing. The only difference is, however, that Sebastian gets one more year in which to complete his studies.
Without the PCEye, Sebastian would have been forced to use pen and paper to attend the courses, which of course would have been impossible because he cannot use his hands. Or as Sebastian puts it:
“I would have had to communicate with the outside world with the help of my assistants who have to interpret for me all the time.”
Control over your computer
“With Tobii devices, Sebastian controls computer technology and gets the opportunity to show his creativity and imagination, something that was impossible before. He does not have to ask anyone and instead does it himself,” says Thomas.
Sebastian also uses the PCEye in his free time, where he does many of the same things that others do. He likes to go online and play computer games against people halfway around the world.
“I wonder how those he is playing against and defeats would react if they found out that they had just been beaten by a guy who plays with eye control. It's a pretty cool thought, isn’t it?,” says Thomas.
Thanks to the PCEye, Sebastian now dreams about the future, like most other young people. He would like to work at Tobii, preferably with something he has learned in his secondary education. On some occasions, Sebastian has helped Tobii by testing different products. The best thing about his journey, however, is that he now sees that in the near future there may actually be a job for him.
“I would think that I will be working with something in IT in the future,” says Sebastian.