For the severely physically disabled individual the inability to communicate can be both a terrifying and frustrating experience, whether it is temporary while on a ventilator or permanent from a brain stem infarct. Generally, everyday communicative interactions such as the expression of thoughts and ideas, basic needs, and feelings are denied for this person.
With advances in electronic technology, comprehensive rehabilitation programs are used to match the nonspeaking and severely disabled individuals with augmentative communication aids like Alphabet Board for Disabled. However, before their exposure to the lengthy process of selecting the most appropriate effective communication aid, there must be a simple system that can be used to reduce the daily communication barriers.
Modes of Communication:
There are two main modes of communication systems for nonverbal individuals: (l) the direct selection method, using the finger or hand to produce a message with or without a technical aid, and (2) the indirect selection method, which is similar to the scanning system in that the patients are presented with letter choices so that they can either signal with positive or negative responses.
The indirect selection method or listener-controlled system is presented here. The communication board consists of 36 squares. The alphabet is arranged according to the usual alphabetical sequence, and each row begins with a vowel. Therefore, the 26 alphabet letters are arranged in five rows with ten more blanks available to fill in with the ten numbers or patient's personal choices (figure). These personal choices and/or messages can include words such as, pain, bathroom, T. V. , bed, or messages such as; call my wife, turn me over, suction me, move my head.
How to Use the Communication Board?
The directions for using the communication board are as follows:
- Begin by slowly naming the vowels.
- The patient will indicate when the row that contains the letter wanted is named.
- Repeat the vowel again and slowly name each letter in the row.
- The patient will indicate when the letter wanted has been named.
- Continue in this manner until the message has been spelled out or the words can be guessed.
- An Alphabet Board for Disabled may be suitable for people who have literacy skills.
- It can be designed specifically to suit the person’s needs example, using either an ABC or QWERTY format – with direct access or partner-assisted auditory scanning.
- A non-tech option like this is often also helpful as a copy for those people that may have an existing transmission device – remember batteries don’t last forever!
Alphabet Board with Photos:
- A photograph alphabet board may be a simple thanks to personalise an alphabet board.
- The board sits within the middle and is framed by pictures or photos of important people, frequently requested items and other useful vocabulary.
- The board could also be in qwerty or alphabetical layout.