Around 764,000 people in the United States, including children and adults, have at least one symptom of cerebral palsy. Defined as a condition that is marked by impaired muscle coordination and or other disabilities, those that experience cerebral palsy face a myriad of challenges in their day to day lives. However, recent technological innovations aim to change things by making daily activities — from communication to pain and more — far more manageable than before.
Innovations through laser technology
One common challenge that those with cerebral palsy may face involves the ability to use technology such as laptops and tablets. However, one innovative tech product by the name of Eye Gaze, presents massive benefits to its users by allowing them to perform a variety of tasks that may have been nearly or totally impossible to do before. By using an invisible laser to read an individual’s eye movement, a user of this technology would simply need to look around a screen in order to operate the device. In turn, the hands free technology can be programmed to do a myriad of tasks, proving its potential to be boundless in day to day life.
Apps that aid communication
While Eye Gaze technology aids to make a myriad of functions easier when it comes to using mobile devices for those with cerebral palsy, augmentative and alternative communication apps (also known as AAC), work to assist both communication and language comprehension. Proloquo2go for iOS is just one prime example of comprehensive cerebral palsy phone apps, though it is on the pricier side. Offering natural sounding text to speech voices, high resolution symbols, and automatic conjugations — not to mention a default vocabulary of over 7,000 items and easy set up. On the other hand, other apps, such as SoundingBoard, is free to use and allows users to create custom boards with up to 20 message locations using either AbleNet symbols or your own photos.
How video games can help
Mount Sinai in New York City has recently announced the opening of the Charles Lazarus Children’s Abilities Center, a state of the art facility that aims to offer innovative therapies that can aid those who experience cerebral palsy. While not a treatment itself, the center aims to partner with technology companies in order to create therapeutic video games that will help to improve mobility in children who experience cerebral palsy. In fact, one study suggests that video games may actually improve upper body movement in children with cerebral palsy, as well as adherence to physical therapy, such as by making movement therapy more appealing (as it oftentimes involves repetitive and mundane tasks. With accessible gaming equipment (such as handheld controllers) becoming more ubiquitous, there’s no doubt that many will be able to reap the benefits.
Those who are diagnosed with cerebral palsy may experience difficulty navigating day to day activities, particularly in regards to mobility and communication. With many technological innovations such as Eye Gaze, phone apps, and even video games to be useful.