“On meeting Shaun for the first time it was clear that he is a happy person who brings joy into many people’s lives,” said ILC Speech Pathologist Katie Sala-Tenna.
Shaun, 47, is a Dockers supporter, avid sports lover, family guy and social butterfly. Being able to communicate effectively with people, both familiar and unfamiliar to Shaun, is important to him.
Through Shaun’s WA NDIS plan he has been working with Katie and Tanith Brien, Speech Pathologists at the Independent Living Centre WA (ILC), for the past year to investigate equipment and strategies to support his communication.
Shaun’s communication goals include having access to a suitable phone which he can use to call his friends and family; being able to order food and drinks at a café or restaurant independently; and to be able to share personal experiences and information about himself with others.
Katie said she’s been working with Shaun to develop his use of his communication device to support him to communicate with a wider range of people and increase his independence in the community.
“Shaun communicates in a range of ways including verbal speech, facial expressions, body language, natural gestures and a communication device,” said Katie.
“Shaun’s natural communication methods work well for him when communicating with familiar people, however he sometimes finds it more challenging to communicate clearly with other people that he’s not familiar with, such as café staff and store attendants.
“To enable him to communicate with a wider range of people we’ve been working with Shaun to trial, prescribe and provide support for other communication methods.
“In addition Shaun would like to be able to independently call his key contacts so we’ve been looking at suitable phone options for him.”
A personalised Kisa phone was determined as the phone to best meet Shaun’s needs. The Kisa phone is a basic mobile phone that has GPS capability and can have up to 10 personalised contacts programmed into it.
“Something as simple as having your own phone and being able to call your friends and family is such an important part of a person’s independence. It’s great to see that Shaun has begun using this phone, and with more practice I know that his confidence to use it will increase more and more,” said Tanith.
Following a communication device trial process, the TouchChat app was prescribed for Shaun. TouchChat HD is a communication app for the iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch. It enables users to produce words, phrases and sentences using synthesised or digitised speech.
“We’ve been supporting Shaun with TouchChat and he can now independently navigate to the food and drinks pages and select his favourite order. Over time he’s developed his confidence in being able to communicate with the staff at Coffee Club, which is just so great to see,” said Katie.
Katie said Shaun has embraced the opportunities to use technology to support his communication needs.
“He’s been keen to learn and has been able to increase his independence,” she said.
“From here, the sky’s the limit, but I have no doubt that Shaun will have great interactions with a range of people and will bring a smile to many more people’s faces.”
ILC’s experienced speech pathologists have specialist skills in augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) assessment, training and intervention.
If you are eligible for the NDIS you can access support to achieve your communication goals in your plan.