Software to help disabled children communicate
3 June 2007
Software to aid disabled children communicate through
computer devices such as PCs, laptops and PDAs, has been developed by a
multidisciplinary team at Grenada University (AGR).
The software, called
SC@UT, is designed for children with special communication and educational
needs, such as those who suffer from autism Down's syndrome, or cerebral
SC@UT enables the child to express such needs as
going to the toilet or hunger, as well as such states as being happy, sad,
SC@UT, which stands for Augmentative and Adaptive Communication
System, was created by researchers from the School of Computer Engineering
(ETSI) at AGR, the association ASPROGRADES and a team of psychologists,
psycho-pedagogues, and speech therapists.
The project was headed by
professor José Juan Cañas Delgado, lecturer of Ergonomics at the department
of Experimental Psychology and Behavioural Physiology of the UGR and
professor María José Rodríguez Fortiz, lecturer at the department of System
"This is a project promoted by the Regional Government of Andalusia which
attempts to reduce differences between disabled and non-disabled people",
said professor Cañas Delgado. "We have created a configurable parameter tool
that allows disabled people to interact with their environment. In this way,
their adaptation to a world full of barriers is much easier. In the present
world, social and labour integration is impossible without communication and
access to education."
Communication reduces aggression
Cañas Delgado said that when communication improves, disruptive behaviour in
disabled children decreases. Consequently, the use of that display could
also diminish aggressiveness in autistic children.
“Many of them injure themselves and present aggressive behaviour because
they become frustrated when they cannot communicate with others. If they
could communicate through SC@UT, this problem would disappear," he said.
"SC@UT technology tries to overcome the problems of the previous systems:
it is adaptive, portable, and inexpensive. With a proper device, the user
can download the software free of charge.”
The software has been piloted
in 16 schools of the Southern Spanish provinces of Granada and Jaen. The
Regional Government of Andalusia plans to use it throughout the region.
SC@UT can be downloaded from