“Hear Me Now” Innovation


Our program provides new, cutting-edge technologies to enable and improve communication for children with autism.


 

Eye Gaze Technology allows children with autism to communicate through the use of their eye muscles. It is geared toward children who have strong eye muscles and weak hand muscles. These children are precluded from using the typical tools their peers would use to communicate – such as iPads, which require strong hand muscles. With Eye Gaze Technology, however, they are able to use a tool which caters to their dominant muscle so they can (at last!) achieve communication and increase learning, along with their peers.

Eye Gaze Technology also helps children understand the concept of “cause and effect” – a concept which is of huge importance to individuals with significant needs. As many children with autism rarely have the experience of “making something happen” or feeling powerful in social situations, the ability to be able to use technology to make decisions and share their desires and ideas with others is extremely empowering and life-changing.

In 2017, we provided our first round of Eye Gaze Technology to our partner school, Hagedorn Little Village School in Seaford, NY. Below is a testimonial from Jon Feingold, Ph.D and Executive Director of the school. His statement addresses the impact of the technology in the classroom:

Eye Gaze technology can open the world of communication for students who are not able to utilizedirect select augmentative communication devices including communication apps on the iPad. For our students with poor motor control or for those who are resistant to access via touch, we have started training in use of the eye gaze with consistent results. The software available with this technology provides a hierarchy of games and activities that teach skills from simple cause-effect (look at something on the screen and something will happen) to tracking across an entire screen to maintaining a gaze for increasingly long periods. These skills will hopefully help students eventually access language boards on this technology for meaningful communication.

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