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Old technology provides critical link to future communications - Identitywa - Registered NDIS Provider

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Old technology provides critical link to future communications

  • Posted on 12 September 2018

Ian has his first session with the assistive technology.

An understanding of the use of Braille, which dates back over 50 years, is providing the platform for Ian to communicate using the latest in digital technology for the vision impaired.

Ian and his brother Clive share an Identitywa home with three others in the northern suburbs of Perth.

Whilst Ian has been blind for some time, his brother Clive is only recently experiencing a decline in his sight which will, unfortunately, lead to total blindness also.

“They both had some training with Braille when they were at school as 16 and 17 year olds,” explains their brother, Richard.  “However, both were sighted at that time so did not really need to use it.”

Ian has regularly been using an old family Braille machine to write letters to Clive and to staff, who have been learning Braille for the first time so they can better communicate with him.

“Clive can still see at the moment, but his sight has really declined in the past six months and we are trying to plan for the future when he will lose his vision completely,” said Richard.

“We also think it is critical for Clive to be able to continue to communicate as he is a prolific and well-known artist.  He has spent a lifetime telling stories through his artwork; if he can no longer paint, he could potentially continue his art through writing his stories.”

With the initial goal of ensuring that the brothers can continue to communicate with each other, and others in their community, their family has been researching for over two years the latest resources available to enable this.

After some challenges and frustrations, Ian undertook an alternative communication method assessment which eventually led to contact with HumanWare, a company providing assistive technology for people who are blind or have low vision.

It’s early days but initial trialling with Ian has proven to be encouraging and he certainly was very interested and motivated at his first trial session held in early September.

Identitywa’s Occupational Therapist and House staff are working together to support Ian over the coming months to hopefully transition him into using the device, which also has the ability to link into mobile technology.”

This is a truly collaborative effort which could significantly impact on Ian and Clive’s futures.









Identitywa is one of WA’s leading agencies supporting people with disability to live the life they choose.  With a strong commitment to Person Centred Active Support, staff work in partnership with individuals to explore, plan and design support options to suit their individual needs.

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