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ICTs for Children with Mental Challenges Arun Mehta

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Presentation on theme: "ICTs for Children with Mental Challenges Arun Mehta"— Presentation transcript:

1 ICTs for Children with Mental Challenges Arun Mehta

2 Professor Stephen Hawking can only press one button....

3 I am quite often asked: How do you feel about having ALS. The answer is, not a lot. I try to lead as normal a life as possible, and not think about my condition, or regret the things it prevents me from doing, which are not that many. -Prof. Stephen Hawking

4 Wasted Talent When I was four, there was an elevator operator in the school...He ridiculed me with nasty jokes. My total lack of communication worsened the situation...The ridicule hurt all the more because I could neither stop his behavior nor offer a retort. -- Krishna Narayanan, 2003

5 All persons with disabilities have serious communication issues In the case of autism, the inability to communicate is the primary problem Communication problems often deny the disabled an education, healthcare... Hence the need to address the communication needs of the disabled early, and a role for computers Communications and Disability

6 An inability to communicate makes disability far worse Mental disabilities strike early in life: if we could find a way for the child to communicate, she could go to regular school, instead of compounding her disability with illiteracy Children with autism – like other kids – love computers. A computer is an excellent communications device: so why don't they communicate through computers/phones? Communication Disability

7 Computer-relevant problems of children with neurological conditions A result of brain damage in early life? Sensory issues: Some senses may be extra sensitive, so that the glare of the monitor, or even the touch of the keyboard or mouse is painful (diet helps) Problems in coordination among different parts of the brain Each child is different

8 the variety of disabilities, their combinations and varying severities indicate that we need different software for each child also, the software must grow with the child, and be able to handle multiple languages It must be able to do all the different things people do with computers Problems relating to software

9 Desired mobile phone Input Keyboards with large and fewer keys Joystick/wheel Touchscreen Wireless Input, e.g. Nintendo Wii Eye gaze tracking, similar to how they communicate now Direct input from the brain

10 Desired mobile phone Output Tactile feedback Text to speech FM transmitter TV transmitter

11 Desired mobile phone Networking o Spontaneous mesh networking, as in cybiko, olsr, olpc... o better use of the USB port for sticks, printers, and I/O devices of all kinds, o Allow phone to act as WiFi access point or client o Address special relationship between a mentally challenged child and her caregiver: allow remote use of camera, mike, speaker by caregiver

12 Desired mobile phone User Interface properties Make user interface totally customizable Use new languages Python, php, Ruby on Rails Expose underlying hardware as much as possible to the interface designer

13 Introducing skid... The Platform: hosts modules written in Ruby on Rails, that work with 4 inputs: Up, Down, Yes, No has the source code (gpl) modules exist for writing, spelling, picture browsing, wikipedia access, mailing, playing... in the pipeline, photo editing, chat...

14 Salient Features of FREE, available on the internet NO downloading, NO installation Can be used from a mobile phone equipped with web ACCEPT input from a lot of devices MODULEbased OPEN SOURCE software FACILITY for enhancement in future

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