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Eye-gaze technology sharpens Christopher’s focus on life

A smiling young man in a red t-shirt uses his eye gaze device.

Christopher, a client of My Plan Manager and South Australian disability services provider, Novita, is an independent young man who lives with cerebral palsy quadriplegia.

The 22 year old uses an eye-gaze device to support his communication and explore his interests, with a camera built into the assistive technology device to track Christopher’s eyes and enable him to focus on and select symbols for communication, search YouTube videos and play music.

Christopher loves a wide variety of music, with Eric Clapton, Bob Marley, and Bruce Springsteen among his favourites. However, his all-time favourite video is Survivor’s ‘Eye of the Tiger’ – and it’s hard for anyone to persuade him to select anything else! But recently, Christopher surprised his speech pathologist, Nur, with an unexpected video selection.

Nur recently mentioned to Christopher that her favourite singer was Adele, and soon after their discussion she heard Adele’s mezzo-soprano voice playing from Christopher’s computer. Using his eye-gaze device, he had scanned Adele’s videos on YouTube, then maintained his gaze long enough to activate his selection – a milestone moment.

“Christopher usually looks at the top right of the screen, but to choose Adele, he had to look to the centre and left. This was a fantastic achievement,” said Nur. “I’m really happy for Christopher and delighted to see what he’s achieved with his eye-gaze.”

Assistive technology is a ‘life changer’ according to a report issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). In Christopher’s case, it has supported him to communicate more effectively with his community, explore his interests, and even to do something special for others in his life, like Nur!

New NovitaTech assistive technology store

For more than 45 years, NovitaTech – a division of South Australian disability services provider Novita – has been providing assistive technology and equipment services for people with disability. Recently, it opened the largest and most comprehensive assistive technology retail experience in Australia to provide people with disability, people rehabilitating from injury or surgery, and older people with direct access to the equipment they need to live independent and fulfilling lives.

The NovitaTech store, located in Adelaide, spans more than 1000 square metres of showroom space, and features more than 1000 products and equipment items – from consumables and off-the-shelf products to complex, scripted disability products – designed to support independent living.

The store includes a wheelchair basketball and sports court, fully equipped homecare displays, and a café operated by participants in Novita’s Transition to Work program, which supports school leavers with disability to enter the workforce. Individual and private therapy consultation rooms are another feature of the NovitaTech store, enabling therapists – both Novita-based and external – to meet with clients to discuss the devices and equipment they need.

“We’re so proud to bring this new concept in mobility and independent living solutions to light,” said Novita CEO, Greg Ward. “It underpins Novita’s commitment to innovation and improving outcomes for clients like Christopher and their families.”

To find out more about the new NovitaTech store, or to shop online, visit novitatech.com.au or call 1300 668 482.

FEATURED: MY COMMUNITY

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My Plan Manager: NDIS Plan Management