A Pathway to literacy for children with Cerebral Palsy
Eye-gaze technology is making a profound difference in the lives of many people with physical conditions that severely limit the use of their bodies. It's particularly important for those with cerebral palsy.
For individuals with CP it's not about rebuilding a life, it's about building a life from year one, because cerebral palsy has its roots when the brain is developing before, during, or shortly after birth.
Children with mild CP can often be mainstreamed into a classroom with little intervention. For those affected more profoundly, assistive technologies can help close the educational gap.
Development and education
Because people with profound CP have limitations from the start of their lives, many haven’t had the chance to develop skills such as speaking, reading, or writing, and they can’t draw from experience to help them through the challenges of daily life.
Fortunately, eye-gaze technology is making new things possible for patients with CP, and offering learning opportunities they never had before. As assistive technologies have become more effective, compact, and affordable, it's now possible for children suffering from CP to get into classrooms and to learn with their peers.
Keeping up in the classroom
Those with cerebral palsy experience wide differences in abilities and challenges, so it's hard to make general statements about academic prospects. One estimate is that children with severe CP limitations but normal intelligence can, using eye gaze devices, achieve 80 percent of the education accomplishments of other children.
Another important factor with eye-gaze technology is the amount of time it takes to perform tasks. The faster they can communicate, the more information students with CP can exchange with their teachers and caregivers. This means teachers can learn more about their students’ personalities and learning capabilities. In some cases, this insight can reveal other learning challenges such as dyslexia, allowing for adjustments in teaching approach - and effectiveness.
No matter the age, eye-gaze technology can have a profound impact on people living with cerebral palsy and be a vital tool for academic development.