23 July 2020

Giving every child a voice with AAC technology

UNICEF’s Regional office for Europe and Central Asia has been piloting a joint initiative to bring affordable Assistive Technology for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) in Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia. An open source mobile app, “Cboard,” developed by  UNICEF Innovation Fund Graduate “Cireha,”  is being introduced by UNICEF and…, A promising solution , An AAC tablet-based communicator –  Cboard , which is available in over 30 languages, and accesses the  Global symbols  database of over 20,000 symbols – is being tested for effectiveness with children, professionals and parents. Cboard is an open-source, offline-compatible and freely available AAC application, designed for scalability and access…, Piloting , Since November 2019, the pilot has involved 125 children, aged 3-12, in Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia.  Over 70 professionals including pre-school teachers, speech and language therapists, psychologists, occupational therapists and special educators are being trained to identify and support young children with speech, language, and communication…, Initial results , Parents and professionals reported a positive response in children with communication needs that have effectively integrated Cboard into their daily lives both at home and with the professionals, during the first phase of the pilot.  Challenges reported are centered around difficulties with adapting to new technology and a learning curve for…, Measuring success , The goal for Cboard is to improve the lives of children by making it easier for them to communicate. To measure the impact of this, the PIADS (Psychosocial Impact of Assistive Devices) scale is being used to measure progress in adaptability, competence and self-esteem. The initial results from the PIADS test points to a promising trend exhibiting…, Next Steps , The pilot is continuing during the COVID-19 crisis in 2020 as the Cboard communicator is being used at home where children are supported by parents. Face to face support of professionals to parents and children was replaced by digital means of communication and distance support through phone, Whatsapp and Viber. A new native version of the Cboard …