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Disability Awareness Days & Speech Aids

Posted on 20/09/2018

This month the spotlight is on Cerebral Palsy and Ataxia as they both have a respective awareness day in the UK. With Cerebral Palsy awareness day on the 4th September and Ataxia Awareness day on the 25th September, The Sequal Trust are eager to do their bit to raise awareness of the conditions, as they affect many of our service users.

What Is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral Palsy is a condition caused by abnormal development or damage to the brain either during pregnancy, birth or sometimes early childhood. Symptoms include poor coordination, stiff muscles, weak muscles, tremors, seizures and cognitive impairments. It is due to the muscles weakening in the face and around the jaw, that many people with the condition require speech aids to help them communicate.

What is the Most Suitable Speech Aid?

The speech aids provided to people with Cerebral Palsy, differ based on the severity of their symptoms. If they have mobility in the hands and neck, grid pads and lightwriters are the go-to speech aids, however many of those with the condition have very limited movement, in this case, speech and language therapists would recommend eye gaze technology.

What is Ataxia?

Ataxia is a disorder that affects the voluntary coordination of muscles often impacting a persona ability to walk, talk and sometimes move their eyes. The condition can present itself throughout the whole body or in some cases a single side and has a number of possible causes, including abnormalities to the nervous system, genetics and in rare cases as a side effect of an illness such as hyperthyroidism or vitamin deficiency.

What is The Most Suitable Speech Aid?

As with Cerebral Palsy, deciding on a suitable speech aid depends on the types of symptoms an individual is displaying, which part of their body is affected and the severity of it. As one of the more common side effects is the inability to control the movement of the limbs, usually a speech and language therapist will recommend eye gaze technology as even when eye movements are affected most modern eye gaze speech aids can account for eye tremors or involuntary head movements.

If you or somebody you know has either Ataxia or Cerebral Palsy, and you would like some more information about the speech aids available, visit our page here.