A Lightwriter is a switch and keyboard communication device whereby the user types out messages which are then relayed through the speakers by an automated voice. Most models on the market today have a dual screen display, one that the user can see and one that is outward facing for the person who is being communicated with to read. The Allora model, a variation of the Lightwriter by Techcess, even has a removable second screen complete with its own set of speakers. This is ideal in noisy environments, as it can be handed to the person the message is intended for, allowing for clearer communication. Alternatively, the second screen can be worn on a lanyard around the neck, if you want to feel as though the voice is coming from yourself rather than the device.
Typing can take time, so to reduce the amount of switch-pressing, Lightwriters also come with abbreviation expansions and message banking. This allows the operator to use preset abbreviations or to make their own. For example, simply pressing ‘HH’ could voice “Hello how are you?”The message banking feature allows the user to devise their own sentences and phrases and store them for easy access and use later.
Modern models of Lightwriters also have internet connectivity and can send and receive text messages and emails, meaning they can also be used to communicate with people who are not nearby, with many users using it to keep in touch with Speech and Language Therapists, carers, partners or friends.
Who Can Use Lightwriters?
As a keyboard-based communication aid, users must have mobility in their hands, so unfortunately it is unsuitable for people who are non-mobile. The device also relies on a level of literacy so is better suited for those who can read and write, however If literacy is limited, Speech and Language Therapists may be able to build these skills with the aid of a Lightwriter.