Portale SIVA sulle tecnologie per la disabilità e l'autonomia Portale SIVA sulle tecnologie per la disabilità e l'autonomia Don Carlo Gnocchi Onlus Foundation

Pietro, age 7, motor disability: improving independence in communication

Record number: 336
Last update: February 2005
Type of document: Case studies/experiences
Author: Ciot C
Editorial data: Portale SIVA Fondazione Don Carlo Gnocchi Onlus
Year of publication: 2005
Pietro is 6 years old and he is affected by dystonic quadriplegia and impaired upper limb functionality; he can articulate just a few words, but shows a good level of comprehension. This paper describes the way towards autonomy that the child, his family and the caregivers experienced together. At the beginning, parting from the mother was a great effort for the children, who expressed his discomfort rejecting unknown people and environments. Later, the emotional instability gradually decreased; Pietro became conscious of his abilities, he found fulfilment in them and his interests increased. Therefore it was possible to start a project aiming to the evaluation of assistive devices allowing Pietro to interact with the environment and actively take part in educational activities. An orthosis, keeping the thumb and the wrist aligned, was prescribed for the less impaired arm. In this way Pietro, who was already able to use a device with automatic scansion, could use a communication aid whose vocal output was activated by the pressure of a button. Besides, a multimedia "open" software for the creation of customized educational unities was chosen. Finally, Pietro was given a postural wheelchair allowing the carriage of the communicator and the use of the computer without tiring transfers from the push-chair to the wheelchair.
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