Annika is a young girl with a pronounced dystonic movement disorder. It is almost impossible for her to make targeted movements with her arms and hands. Annika has a very severe dysarthria. She learnt to use a communication device and an electric wheelchair very laboriously with buttons that must be well positioned. In addition, Annika is blind, has a ptosis and a nystagmus, so there is no eye control. For a long time we have been looking for a way for Annika to communicate beyond "yes" and "no" answers, where she uses her own body signs, and then we became aware of OnScreenCommunicator. Annika uses OnScreenCommunicator with auditory scanning. With 2 buttons she scans through the menu. One button scans the rows, the other the columns. Annika has stored about 250 statements (whole sentences or even single words) under the headings "Topics", which branch out more and more. These prefabricated, immediately retrievable statements have grown with Annika and are adapted again and again. A headset, built into the headrest of the wheelchair, helps her to find her way around the menu, as a "pre-whisperer" so to speak. He tells her exactly where she is in the menu. When Annika arrives at the right place in her menu, she presses a button again, and the message is spoken out loud through a second speaker. Annika can thus not only retrieve stored sentences or words, but she can also switch to a writing surface, where the letters are read to her and ambushed. The "waiting in the wings" is very important, because Annika, because she is blind, has learned to write by hearing (sounds). If she has chosen a letter, she confirms with the button and the letter is written into the text field and read out again. A dictionary opens immediately, which she can then access. The words of the dictionary are read to Annika. If the correct word is present, Annika presses the button and the word is written into the text field. If the word is not there, she has to write another letter. The dictionary also makes "smart" links. If, for example, she wrote "I", the dictionary suggests the words "would like", "have" etc.. Words that Annika often uses are placed at the beginning of the dictionary. In the function menu of the writing surface Annika has the possibility to delete letters again or to let the written text read aloud. She can give a print command to print the texts, or she can save the written words or sentences. With each action, which Annika executes, she gets an auditive feedback over the loudspeaker in the headrest, the so-called "Vorflüsterer", that the action took place. This auditory feedback has been agreed with Annika and can be set individually. Complete sentences such as "You are in the writing program", "You have deleted the last letter" or even just one-word hints such as "Back" can be saved. Annika can switch to an e-mail interface and have her e-mails read to her, reply to the e-mails and send them independently. When a new e-mail is received, Annika is immediately informed that a new e-mail has arrived and by whom and with what subject the e-mail is. Without OnScreenCommunicator, Annika would not have been able to communicate, and it would have been impossible for her to learn written language even if the learning process had not been completed. Annika is even more motivated to write thanks to the e-mail function. Annika and we as a family are overjoyed that this software exists.
Johannes is a bright young man with pronounced tetraspastics in his legs and arms due to infantile cerebral palsy. Johannes is therefore dependent on the wheelchair. Johannes can only control his movements to a very limited extent with his arms. One arm cannot be used, the other arm can - with restrictions and relatively gross motor skills - operate a special joystick. With this aid and the OnScreenCommunicator communication software, Johannes was able to gain access to a computer. Since Johannes' eyesight is limited, he works on a computer with a large screen. The joystick must be positioned exactly on his table. In addition, OnScreenCommunicator supports recognizing the mouse pointer over an enlarged mouse icon. In order to further support mouse positioning, the OnScreenCommunicator automatically enlarges the cell being controlled. In relation to his physical limitations, Johannes has relatively good cognitive abilities. He has copied from his environment the desire to establish contact with family and friends via e-mail. The OnScreenCommunicator is a great help in this respect. The program's standard built-in e-mail function reduces the range of functions to a minimum. All e-mails are listed in an overview, with unread e-mails highlighted in color. Each e-mail is assigned a picture of the sender, so that Johannes can assign the sender of the e-mail even if he is not able to read it. The content of the e-mail is read to Johannes via a pleasant computer voice. This computer voice is integrated in OnScreenCommmunicator by default. When writing e-mails, Johannes can also select the recipient via a small preview image. Over time, Johannes has developed simple writing skills. OnScreenCommunicator supports him in formulating a new e-mail with the built-in word prediction function. The OnScreenCommunicator suggests the possible word on the basis of letters already entered, which - if correct - is then simply inserted into the message field with a mouse click. For Johannes, this makes his work a lot easier, as he is relieved of the tedious letter-by-letter writing. At the same time it motivates him to strengthen his reading skills. Only the word from the word prediction, which he can read or at least recognize, makes writing easier for him. The OnScreenCommunicator also has another learning function. In addition to letter-based word prediction, OnScreenCommunicator also suggests the next most likely word based on the sentences entered so far. If Johannes, for example, always ends his e-mails with "Many Greetings from Johannes", OnScreenCommunicator learns this word sequence, suggests each word individually and enables Johannes to write the above greeting formula with just 5 mouse clicks - one click per word - instead of typing a small letter by letter. The e-mail function OnScreenCommunicator is a great thing for Johannes. Johannes gets the possibility to communicate independently with family or friends, without us as parents having to give constant assistance. Johannes has also subscribed to e-mail newsletters. This informs Johannes about his areas of interest such as current events in the city and news about his favourite football club. The strong desire to communicate automatically encourages his writing skills. The word prediction stimulates to train the reading ability. For Johannes there is a very high motivation to use the email program. E-mailing is more important for him than telephoning, since Johannes' pronunciation is very unclear due to the tetraspastics. Due to his physical handicaps Johannes is not able to do handicraft activities, which are completely natural for others, like e.g. operating a radio. The communication software OnScreenCommunicator supports him in an optimal way. The OnScreenCommunicator has been used to set up a "radio" page for Johannes. On this page there are large buttons where the basic functions of a radio are stored, such as switching on the radio, selecting stations, changing the volume, switching off the radio again. The function of a special button is made clear by a catchy symbol. Optionally, a descriptive text can also be output when the button is selected. For radio listening, OnScreenCommunicator uses the radio stations' offers to make programmes available as Internet Live Streams. With this solution, a classic radio that can be touched is no longer necessary.
Jakob is a fun-loving young man. However, he has only a very small visual acuity, which is so small that Jacob is classified as blind. In addition, Jakob is affected by tetraspasty, fine motor movements of arm and hand are not possible. Tetraspasty and severe visual impairment mean that hand-eye coordination is very limited. At the same time, Jacob is a very sociable and communicative person who likes to exchange ideas about "God and the world". With the OnScreenCommunicator, a telephone solution was found in which Jakob can communicate independently with family or friends. The OnScreenCommunicator runs on a PC. Due to the weak hand-eye coordination Jakob cannot operate a mouse or a joystick. A large touch monitor is therefore used to operate the program. The OnScreenCommunicator has two telephone directories for Jakob, one for family members and one for friends. The selection of telephone book and conversation partners is made via large buttons, which have been configured with the OnScreenCommunicator in such a way that a high colour contrast is created. Due to Jakob's limited vision, the OnScreenCommunicator has two levels of auditory feedback. In the first stage, Jakob is announced the person he wants to talk to. At the same time, the colour of the button changes to a strong green. Jakob must now click the button again to confirm and establish the telephone connection. Clicking on any other button will cancel the connection. Using this mechanism, Jakob can scroll through the phone book as desired and select a specific call partner. The concept of telephoning presented here is implemented entirely without a classic telephone device. The only requirement is an Internet-based telephone connection. Using the OnScreenCommunicator to make phone calls is a great thing for Jakob. He can decide completely independently when to call whom and for how long. Further assistance is not necessary. This independence makes Jakob very proud to get in touch with family or friends on his own. He returns self-confidently from his telephone rounds and communicates his latest news to everyone.