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Monday, February 6, 2023

Equal Fun for Everyone – Touch devices: voice for those with disabilities

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Jason Grudem (right) uses an iPod Touch to communicate with WDSRA staff member Angela Taylor. Jason has autism and a neurological communication disorder. He is almost completely nonverbal, yet highly intelligent. Touch technology has given him a voice.
Jason Grudem (right) uses an iPod Touch to communicate with WDSRA staff member Angela Taylor. Jason has autism and a neurological communication disorder. He is almost completely nonverbal, yet highly intelligent. Touch technology has given him a voice.
Do a Google search on “iPad” and “autism” and you get over 19 million hits. Apparently, word is getting out that technology can open doors to communication for people with disabilities. Touch devices (like the iPod Touch and iPad) are making a big difference in the lives of children and adults with special needs – especially those who may be nonverbal. These devices are easy to interface with, intuitive, provide quick, easy-to-understand responses, and can be used across a wide spectrum of disabilities.

Think Helen Keller. Think human potential through modern technology.

At Western DuPage Special Recreation Association (WDSRA), we are moving to help our participants find their voices through technology. Our vision is to integrate the use of touch technologies in our programs as communication, educational, and therapeutic devices. They can replace traditional picture boards, offer better visual cues for transitioning, foster better peer interactions, and assist with expressive speech. They empower a person to be able to introduce themselves, share their weekend with friends, and effectively communicate with WDSRA staff.

While technology makes this possible, it is the support of the community that can make it a reality. If you would like to help WDSRA participants find their voices through the use of touch devices, please support the WDSRA Foundation. Visit www.wdsra.com or call (630) 681-0962 for more information.

Terri Gregory
Terri Gregoryhttp://www.wdsra.com
Terri Gregory is Community Relations Supervisor for Western DuPage Special Recreation Association. WDSRA offers recreational opportunities for adults and children with special needs through programs and inclusion services. WDSRA is a cooperative extension of nine park districts. Almost 30 percent of WDSRA’s participants are from Naperville. Contact her at WDSRA via (630) 681-0962 or terrig@wdsra.com.

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