On Monday this week, Linda on behalf of Montse, and along with Chris Marriott one of our committee members, met with Dianne Asher, Chief Executive of Wirral Autistic Society to hand over a further two I-Pads following our earlier donation of eight I-Pads last September. These I-Pads are used as a communication tool for the clients and staff of Wirral Autistic using a programme called Proloquo2go.
Proloquo2go is an application that can be used on I-Pads or other tablets and supplements existing speech, or replaces speech that is not functional. It also improves social interaction, and gives the client a “voice” therefore helping them to become more independent. The programme can be adapted to suit the needs of a wide range of users with varying literacy levels.
We were shown a DVD of the first training session with the I-Pads donated last year. Staff and families of the clients have to be trained as well to reinforce what the clients can do with the programme. The programme is not for everyone and the clients have to have a limited understanding of IT to use it. As well as the eight I-Pads already being used by clients, there are another thirteen clients considered ready to use this programme.
We met Dave Smith, Service Manager Resource Centre who manages amongst his other duties, the daily activity around Information Technology and brought his technical expertise to the I-Pad Project. We also met Yvonne Smith, Autism Practice and Development Assistant who is a qualified speech and language therapy assistant who is involved in the training of both staff and clients with the I-Pad and the Proloquo2go programme.
Dave told us that usage of the I-Pads is documented and evaluated producing daily reports, which is valuable information for the staff and therapists. Dave has also managed to download over 700 aps in the last twelve months especially suited for autism.
Yvonne gave us a demonstration of how the I-Pad programme enables the clients to communicate, and told us how one of their more isolated and withdrawn clients who had on three earlier occasions of unsuccessfully trying to get him to look at the I-Pad, finally showed some interest, which was a huge breakthrough. We have asked that this client be given one of these two I-Pads donated, for his personal use.
Whilst we were there, we also met Rick Myers, Fundraising Officer at Wirral Autistic to discuss with Diane the possibility of a golfing event to be held next year, as a joint venture with the MBF to raise funds. We are optimistic that this event will take place, and will keep you informed once we have further information.
Once again we would like to thank Dianne and her staff at Wirral Autistic Society for their warm welcome.