20 Oct 2022News
Gaze-based communications device proves life-changing for teen SSI NDIS participant
A high-tech gaze-based communications device is making the world of difference to NDIS participant, Taylor Williams.
With the support of her Local Area Coordinator (LAC), an eye-gaze device has been provided by the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) to Taylor, 19, who has cerebral palsy, seizure disorder and is non-verbal.
SSI LAC program helps participants navigate the NDIS, with coordinators working with participants to create, implement and review their NDIS plans and access necessary equipment and services.
Thanks to the eye-gaze device, the Southern Highlands teenager can control a computer by looking at words or commands on the screen and is now able to communicate with everyone and take control of her choices.
Taylor uses her eye-gaze device to make food choices, clothing choices, and can also communicate her desires for leisure activities, such as cuddling her rabbit or watching a movie. The device is also her voice for Google Home, which means she has greater freedoms and independence. Taylor is making the most of her new skills with her candle making, which she does with her support worker and then sells through a local store.
With her NDIS funding package, Taylor attends a day program three days a week, has one-to-one care in the home two days a week, and attends Friday night dinners and Saturday outings with her Peer Support Group regularly.
Her mum, Lois Williams, says that before receiving the eye-gaze device, Taylor was frustrated because she could not get her message across, and would express this through screaming and spitting.
“When she tried to communicate, it was only those of us who know her well who could decipher her wants,” said Lois.
“Now she comes home from her day program so happy, and is so happy to go each morning,” said Lois.
“The change in her confidence and self-esteem is remarkable.”
The ability to access this type of assistive equipment, with the support of the LAC program, has opened up a world of choice and control for Taylor that is helping to build her confidence and independence.
SSI delivers LAC services in partnership with the National Disability Insurance Agency in a number of local government areas around Sydney and outer Sydney, including the Wingecarribee area.
The services provide a person-centered approach to support people with disability, their families and their carers to pursue their goals, exercise choice and control, and connect with community.
For more information, visit the SSI LAC webpage or call 1800 960 975 to speak with the SSI LAC Intake Team.