Information and communications technology

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 palsy.

Express needs

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, or tired.

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 Informatics.

"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

Prof. 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,

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