What successful communication looks like?
What does successful communication look like using an iPad to communicate?
In 2013-2014, I embarked on a journey to research the use of iPads as speech generated devices. This was an academic Honours project and I implemented a hands on study with a young man who was a non-verbal communicator and has Autism - using an iPad to communicate in his community; fast forward….some blood, sweat and tears (mine not his) and fast forward some more…….some 20,000 words later - I completed my Honours project.
The project was successful and what I found was that this young adult did increase his communication interactions with others and the more opportunities he had to converse using the iPad with a communication app the more confident he was doing so.
Success builds motivation and momentum
This young man’s participation in my study meant so much to me. He showed me what successful communication looked like and made it all worthwhile.
Imagine a six foot two young man who was often only able to converse in public using gestures (shaking head for no and nodding for yes), facial expressions (smiling/frowning) or body language (looking /walking away)
Following an interaction where he used the iPad to talk to someone (pre-programmed vocabulary - set for the environment/context he was in) he would make eye contact and shine a big bright smile. Once he started vocalising sounds (attempt at words) following success…..so not only does success build motivation to do the same action again - In this instance success also built momentum to continue communicating.
It was a complete honour to support his brave journey and I have continued to support him in other projects and environments. The honours research was written up as a thesis and I am now in the process of converting this to a journal article - aiming to be published later in the year.
More research is required YES but I have the hard evidence and the memory of what it looks like to successfully communicate using a tool such as an iPad. I want more people to know, understand and believe in using mainstream mobile technology to aid communication. Who’s joining me??