Posted on 02/08/2018
Grid Pads are AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) devices used by non-verbal people and people with incoherent speech. A Grid Pad is a touch screen tablet that uses a grid style interface system with pictures and words allowing the user to select a variety of preset categories to form sentences and communicate.
There are lots of ways in which a Grid Pad can be suitable for all varieties of non-verbal people, no matter their mobility level.
Similar to a Lightwriter (which is another form of AAC device) a Grid Pad also has a built-in keyboard in which the user can type out sentences if they don’t wish to use the grid system. This does require the user to have good mobility in the hands though, as they will be typing out the words that they want the machine to relay in a synthesised voice.
The grid system that the Grid Pad is more commonly known for requires less mobility than the keyboard. Only a small amount of movement is needed in the hand, as there is no typing involved, just the pressing of pre-set buttons. Most modern models of the Grid Pad order high-frequency vocabulary at the top of each page, which when selected expand into other menus such as next word prediction, core verb links and symbols, which allows for faster communication over time.
Both of these functionalities are an ideal solution for non-verbal people or those with incoherent speech but do require the user to have some mobility. However, there are Grid Pad options for people without mobility – or with extremely little. There are models with built in eye gaze technology (allowing the user to interact with the interface using their eyes) or alternatively have USB ports where the user could attach a head mouse (another AAC device allowing non-verbal people with extremely limited mobility to use computer devices with small movements of the head), meaning that even immobile people can use this device to communicate.
A Grid Pad is just one of the AAC devices that we here at The Sequal Trust hope to provide to those across the country who need help communicating. With your help we can support more and more people to see the person – not the disability.