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Posted on August 16, 2023

All about Cara

Cara was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy when she was two and a half years old. When she was five, she was given an eye gaze device. Now 10 years old, she uses Grid software on a Microsoft Surface Pro with eye gaze.

Cara is a student at The Rashid Centre for People of Determination. Based in Dubai UAE, this Centre provides integrated education services and therapies for children (from the age of four years old) with special needs.

Read more about Cara’s story below.

Cara and her family are from South Africa originally, and decided to use Grid in English. We spoke with her Speech and Language Therapist, Shruti, to find out more about Cara’s journey with Grid, and the strategies they worked through together.

Shruti and Cara began by focusing on content words and naming objects. “We concentrated on describing – we started with group activities where Cara was prompted to describe things. A lot of modeling was done to teach her categories and to teach her how to slowly navigate from one point to the other. As she progressed, she started showing more interest when she was getting responses from her classmates.”

She started with Symbol Talker A, and within six months she was able to start using Symbol Talker B. She picked up the vocabulary quickly and wanted more options.

Cara uses AAC during leisure activities like playing board games with her family. She also uses Grid software to help her in her academics. She uses a Grid keyboard to work on her phonics and make simple sight words.

She also uses Look to Read software for her eye gaze and literacy development. “[Look to Read] helps Cara to identify and read sight words. It helps her to follow and understand stories and she can answer questions related to the book.”

Cara has a supportive family, and a shadow who encourages her to achieve her goals. They provide her all opportunities to reach her fullest potential.

Cara’s AAC journey has improved her confidence and opened up different ways to communicate. She now uses a range of communication tools to connect, even if it is with a stranger.

Shruti says, “She communicates with her peers in class, she expresses her feelings – she even introduced me for a presentation I was doing at the Dubai expo! She was very excited to use her AAC and get involved… It’s great to experience her humour and for her to share her personality.”

Cara is motivated now, she’s happy and able to participate. This communication improves her quality of life.‘ Shruti

Smartbox AAC products are sold all over the world. Find a list of the Global Partners we work with here, or contact us directly if you are interested in trialing our software and devices.

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