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Getting to Grips with Grid Pads

Posted on 12/04/2018

In our blog posts so far, we’ve looked at eye gazes and Lightwriters, so naturally this week we’re going to discuss the third most popular augmentative and assistive device; known as the Grid Pad. With Lightwriters depending on literacy and typing skills, and eye gaze technology concentrating on movements to operate, the Grid Pad lies somewhere in between the two.

What is a Grid Pad?

The Grid Pad was invented in 1989 and was considered the first popular tablet computer because they could store information and had a text recognition interface. The device has evolved into a modern form and today uses a touch screen, and a ‘grid’ system that breaks words down into categories, which can be ordered by the user to form sentences that are relayed with a synthesised voice. For more independent users, the built-in keyboard feature allows for typing out uniquely conceived messages.

Most modern models of the Grid Pad order high frequency vocabulary at the top of each page, which when selected can expand into other menus such as next word prediction, core verb links and pictures. Newer models also have internet access and Bluetooth capabilities, so they can send and receive emails, text messages and hook up to the user’s environment allowing for remote control of lights, televisions and other smart home technologies.

Who Can Use One?

As a Grid Pad they can be linked to external eye gaze technology or used independently as an interface, the potential users are not as limited as with other AAC devices. In fact, there is even software available for children who haven’t learnt to speak yet, meaning toddlers can learn to communicate within a relatively normal time frame using a Grid Pad. Going up in age, more advanced packages are available for those with a growing vocabulary. There is even totally modifiable software that allow users to add their own popular phrases, scan their own symbols and pictures in and record sound effects from the real world.

If you think that you or somebody you know could benefit from a communication device like a Grid Pad, we might be able to help you. Register as a member to receive our support or contact us for more information