Posted on 05/04/2018
You would be forgiven for thinking that a Lightwriter has something to do with writing words using light absorbing technologies, similar to an eye gaze device that we discussed in last week’s blog post. Actually, this device is a much more basic AAC technology that converts messages that the user has typed out, into synthesised speech.
Most models of this device use a QWERTY keyboard and have two displays, one on the front of the device that the user can see and a second one on the reverse side that allows other people to read the messages. Besides mediating conversation between people, the device can also send and receive text messages, store notes and contacts and can act as a remote for other assistive technology devices. In addition, they have USB ports so can easily be hooked up to computers and even printers for completing work or surfing the internet.
Who Can Use One?
To use a Lightwriter a level of literacy is required so it is better suited to people over the age 6. However most come with predictive text features built in, so if someone struggles with spelling they may still be able to accurately convey their speech. Further to this anyone can set up ‘speed writing’ whereby a phrase used often can be vocalised by typing initials such as ‘HAGD’ in place of ‘Have a good day’. Some models feature different synthesised voices such as male, female and children and even different accents and languages so the Lightwriter is accessible to most people who have communication difficulties.
Unfortunately, mobility of the arms and hands is a must for using a Lightwriter, so it is unsuitable for those who have reduced mobility in these areas. However, some models have tremor control as well as different font sizes so people with sight problems or the shakes are still able to use them. At The Sequal Trust we understand that not every person is suited to certain technology, which is why we source suitable communication provisions based on individual assessments.
Many of our users claim that their lives have been hugely improved since they received their Lightwriters. Not only does it allow for communication amongst disabled people and their families, they also give a person more independence. Because the device is mobile, and the battery typically lasts a full day, whether you’re going to school or need to take a trip to the bank, the clear synthesised voice allows or users to complete everyday tasks with ease.
If you think that you or somebody you know could benefit from a communication device like a Lightwriter, we might be able to help you. Register as a member to receive our support or contact us for more information