Choice Support partnered with Insane Logic to pilot the use of the communication and language development tablet application MyChoicePad in a number of services located in Southwark.
Insane Logic devised the pilot programme with a Speech and Language Therapist to see what sort of impact MyChoicePad would have on a group of people who are supported by Choice Support that have communication difficulties. The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists outlined a set of Five good communication standards which apply to providers of residential services for people with communication and learning difficulties. These guidelines were used to underpin the project and to guide the direction of it.
Choice Support initially selected 12 people they support who they thought would benefit from the project. A baseline assessment, including a communication questionnaire and an assessment of Makaton symbols and signs, was performed by the Speech and Language Therapist on both the supported people involved and a key member of the staff team. Insane Logic then provided training for staff who supported the chosen people, which consisted of 1 day of Makaton training and 1 day of MyChoicePad training. A mid way assessment was carried out and then a final assessment at the end of the 11 weeks.
One of the participants of the pilot was Derek. Derek is deaf and communicates using signs with other people. He uses some Makaton signs, alongside British Sign Language and some of his own signs. Derek is also very keen on technology so he was an ideal candidate to take part in the pilot. Some of Derek’s supporters used signs to communicate with him but others did not. As a result Derek often got frustrated with this because he could not express his needs and wishes in a way that all of his supporters could understand.
Using MyChoicePad has been a brilliant experience for Derek and his supporters. Not only was Derek able to use the application to converse with other people and express his everyday needs using signs, symbols, and pictures, but he also took the initiative and taught his supporters new signs and how to actively engage with him using the application. This has empowered Derek and at the same time created a communication platform for his supporters to use and as a result they feel more confident that they can really understand Derek.
In 67% of cases staff noticed an increase in the initiation of communication from the people they supported
83% of staff reported longer interactions with the people they supported that were easier to maintain with MyChoicePad.
100% of staff reported that they found their MyChoicePad interaction with the supported people either satisfying or very satisfying.
100% of staff reported that they and the person they support had ‘really enjoyed’ using MyChoicePad together.
80% of the supported people in the pilot used MyChoicePad to support increased community access.
- Staff and supported people are developing communication skills together.
- Staff and the people they support are developing relationships.
- Frustration and communication breakdown are reduced.
- Personalisation of communication resources.
- Staff and the people they support are empowered.
One staff member commented:
'It's the best thing that’s happened to T since I started working with him.'
‘It's great seeing how excited he is using it – it’s fantastic’; and ‘he’s fully involved with his own choices.’
The publisher is the Centre for Welfare Reform.
MyChoicePad © Thomas Doukas and Nathan Coulson 2016.
All Rights Reserved. No part of this paper may be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher except for the quotation of brief passages in reviews.