For many people with complex disabilities, building connections and having meaningful interactions is made easier through the use of communication aids or technology.
Of course, technology comes in all shapes and sizes, and is used across our Sense services. We search out ways to break down the barriers to accessing technology, and support people to maximise the benefits. Find out more about our approach to using technology at Sense.
Here is an outline of the types of technology-based aids and one-to-one communication support available.
- Hearing aids may benefit people born with a hearing impairment or those whose hearing has deteriorated but who still retain some residual hearing. Hearing aids don't completely restore hearing but can help to make the sounds you need to hear louder.
- Cochlear Implants, a surgically implanted hearing device, may be of benefit to some people. These are usually only suitable for people who have a profound hearing loss and for whom hearing aids are not effective.
- Telecommunications, and particularly smartphones, is a rapidly developing area of technology, with increasing potential to aid communication. Some telephones, including smartphones, have increased amplification, hearing aid compatibility, magnification software and braille displays. Many people with complex disabilities such as acquired deafblindness also use textphones and/or text relay services.
- Emerging technologies, including purpose-designed software for laptops and tablets, are being increasingly used to develop communication skills. There are also sophisticated devices being developed for people with acquired deafblindness, such as the DeafBlind Communicator.
Find out more about the different ways that technology can be used to aid communication.
Personalised communication support
Interpreters can act as a translator between you and the person or people you are communicating with. Types of interpreters include:
- British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters: many interpreters can adapt their skills to visual frame signing, hands-on signing and Sign Supported English (SSE).
- Deafblind manual interpreters.
- Speech-to-text reporters and palantypists: who listen to what is being said and type the words on to a keyboard. This can then be relayed either to a screen or an electronic braille reader.
You can find an interpreter through The National Registers of Communication Professionals working with Deaf and Deafblind People (NRCPD).
Intervenors and communicator guides
Intervenors and communicator guides are specially trained to work one-to-one with people in a number of ways, including aiding communication.
Like interpreters, they can act as an intermediary between you and the person or people you are communicating with.
Find out about Sense Intervenors and Communicator Guides