C-Board application makes communication easier for children with disabilities
The application uses symbols and allows text to be turned into speech
CETINJE, 1 JULY 2020 – Before the coronavirus outbreak, Bojana would regularly go to "Zagorka Ivanović" kindergarten in Cetinje, as well as to the Resource Centre in Podgorica. During the COVID-19 pandemic, that was no longer possible. That is when the C-Board application became an indispensable part of the daily life of this family.
The C-Board application makes it easier for children to communicate using symbols and allows text to be turned into speech. Parents and children can use it online at home on their smartphones or tablets. They were also provided with professional assistance from professionals from resource centres who have completed training on the use of this application.
We are very satisfied with the C-Board application because it has made our work and learning easier. Bojana reacted positively to the tablet, and she is more interested in this method of learning because everything shown to her is illustrated. Now everything is much more interesting to her.
She adds that she is frequent contact with experts from the resource centre who provide advice and help and that the results of using this application are visible, especially in everyday situations.
Bojana is now able to pronounce words more easily and makes her requests with understanding. With the help of the tablet, she learned to ask for soap, toilet paper, or a towel when she goes to the bathroom. The application helped us a lot because it facilitates much better communication. At the same time, the bonds between the members of the whole family appear to be stronger.
Better communication and bonds in the family are results of the progress that children achieve with the use of the C-Board application, which can be clearly seen from the relationship between Bojana and her older sister Marija.
Bojana learns faster with me using the tablet, and she is happy when we do things together. I am teaching her to hold a pencil, draw lines, and pronounce certain words.
The use of the C-Board application in Montenegro is the result of the initiative titled "For Every Child a Voice" implemented with the support of the UNICEF Regional Office in Geneva and the UNICEF office in Montenegro, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and the Bureau of Education Services.
Tamara Milic from the Ministry of Education points out that children respond well to the C-Board application, and also that parents believe that it is helpful when it comes to adopting new concepts and enriching their children's vocabulary. Milic further explains that the most significant effect was achieved in relation to better interaction in the family setting, as well as to encouraging children's development, their independence, and the adoption of new forms of behaviour.
It is important for parents that their children improve their attention – this has helped the development of certain habits, daily routine, hygiene, and communication, as well as more initiative in children. Our impression is that emotional attachment and cooperation within the family have been strengthened, that a new channel of communication and behaviour has been found, that a new space for common interests has been created, while children can build their self-confidence now they are given the opportunity to demonstrate their skill and enjoy the attention.
Maja Kovacevic, UNICEF Montenegro Education Officer, says that the C-Board application has been adapted to our context and language for the first time thanks to this pilot initiative and that it provides quality and continuous support to children to develop speech and communicate within their family environment more easily.
Thanks to this initiative, digital technology has been used to achieve the noblest goal, which is to support children in reaching their full potential.
The "For Every Child a Voice" initiative, which gathered professionals from three resource centres, has been implemented in Montenegro since July 2019 and has covered 25 children so far. It is planned to continue the programme in the autumn of 2020 by including kindergartens and another 50 children with speech and language difficulties.