A Speech Generating Device for Persons With Intellectual and Sensory-Motor Disabilities


This study assessed a new speech-generating device with three adult participants whose multiple disabilities included blindness or minimal residual vision. The side of the device facing the participants measured 35 cm × 20 cm and was divided into 15 sections, each containing an optic sensor. Above each optic sensor was a small object or tag with a word in Braille referring to an activity. Removing an object/tag activated the underlying optic sensor and caused the device to verbalize a request for the activity that the object/tag indicated. The caregiver responded by ensuring the occurrence of the activity. The study was carried out according to a nonconcurrent multiple-baseline design across participants. During the baseline, the mean frequencies of communication events per 60-minute session were zero or close to zero. During the intervention phase, they increased to between about 6 and 11. The mean cumulative activity time per session exceeded 45 minutes for all three participants. Each preferred using the device over alternative occupation during the preference checks carried out across the intervention period. Moreover, staff personnel interviewed about the device provided highly positive scores regarding its impact and usability. Implications of the findings are discussed.


Lancioni, G. E., Singh, N. N., O’Reilly, M. F., Green, V. A., van der Meer, L., Alberti, G., . . . Lang, R. (2016). A speech generating device for persons with intellectual and sensory-motor disabilities. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities, 28(1), 85–98.