Zyteq’s “come and try Eye Gaze Day” provides an opportunity for children and adults to try eye gaze in a comfortable, supported environment with minimal pressures and expectations. Zyteq has provided a number of these days around Australia since early 2013. We have held Eye Gaze Days at Special School and Adult Centres for the students and clients, and at Independent Living Centres and other venues for individuals who are not linked to any specific centre or service. Without exception each Eye Gaze Day has been a delight and source of great inspiration. Staff, families, professionals and support teams have welcomed the opportunity to have access to the eye gaze equipment together with the expertise to set it up for individuals. Many participants demonstrated skills they have been unable to show using any other access method. For those where eye gaze control appears not to be a good option on the day, there is often an appreciation to have tried, in order to be able to know that other access methods are preferred options. Of course a one day, one time trial may not be sufficient, and we always make the offer of a repeat trial or suggest an alternative plan for the future. It is very important for everyone to be aware that this is not a test, but an opportunity for an open-minded ‘come and try’.
The equipment will be provided on the day with appropriate software and mounting systems. Assistive Technology Consultants will conduct individual sessions, setting up the equipment, customising and adapting as required. The equipment used will be demonstrated and explained in the session. A complete information pack is supplied prior to the scheduled day and additional information is provided following the session. Feedback on individual outcomes can be provided together with suggestions about the future implementation of eye-gaze. A presentation to staff and support people at the end of the day is usually an important aspect of an Eye Gaze Day. This provides an opportunity to share the events of the day with those who were unable to participate, to review the equipment used and explain eye gaze as a computer access method and to discuss the next steps in relation to implementing eye gaze in this setting.
Operating a computer or communication device using eye-gaze control offers a new range of options for education, communication, work and leisure for people of all ages. Zyteq uses two eye gaze systems in these sessions: the ALEA Intelligaze camera and the Tobii PCEye Go. This provides an opportunity to compare systems and to accommodate a wider range of individual differences. Both cameras require only eye gaze and eye tracking to make selections by looking at targets on the screen. Eye gaze can be used by children or adults who are otherwise unable to use a regular keyboard and/or mouse. Individuals who have been using one or two switch scanning may benefit from eye gaze selection, as a backup or alternative accessing method. People who have been using head-tracking may also wish to try eye gaze access. In some cases it may have been challenging to find a reliable accessing method amongst any of the alternative access options.
Eye gaze is a method of selection. Just as a person may develop skills in using a single switch, so may eye gaze skills be learned and improved over time. Zyteq has developed stages for learning and progressing using eye gaze based on Sensory Software’s stages outlined in the Look To Learn manual for the software. Most early learners can start using eye gaze almost immediately. It is not necessary to go through challenging calibration procedures, as eye-gaze selection can start with large targets on the screen, with immediate response. Activities in the form of games and puzzles assist in an immediate learning of “I made that happen by looking at it.” Graded activities build-in more advanced skills, for example eye-tracking, to all areas of the screen and dwelling on a target to make a selection.
Who Might Try Eye-Gaze?
- A child or adult who has difficulty using their hands functionally
- A child or adult who is unable to use the regular computer keyboard and/or mouse
- A child or adult who has been using switch/scanning
- A child or adult who has been using head-tracking
- A child or adult with a progressive condition
- A child or adult who has not had success with other access methods trialled
What is required prior to the day?
The day works best if individual appointment times, approximately 45 minutes apart, are arranged for each client with their team. A key contact person usually takes on the role of making local arrangements. Parents, Teachers, partners, family members, Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists and Speech Pathologists are most welcome. In fact it is preferable for a support person or people to be available to assist with any specialised seating and positioning. Any specialized seating should be brought along to the session as correct positioning is an essential component in setting up the eye-gaze system. Glasses and/or contact lenses may be worn, and should be worn if required for viewing a computer screen. If eyes are prone to dryness, and eye drops are routinely used, please bring the eye drops to the session.
On the Day
A room will be required to set up the equipment for the day. The room should be as free of distractions as possible so that the clients are not disrupted by noise or activity. The room does not need to be darkened. Normal daylight, or indoor lighting will be fine. Chairs or seating will be required for the observers and assistants. A height adjustable table is advantageous, but any solid table can be used. Suitable chairs may be required for clients who are mobile e.g. Girls with Rett Syndrome.
Interested in hosting an Eye Gaze Day?
Please contact Zyteq to discuss.
There are no costs for Eye Gaze Days if the host is providing a suitable venue.
Call (03) 9696 2944 or email Info@zyteq.com.au and we can call you at a suitable time.