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iPad could be major communication breakthrough

Kevin Lusignan

Tablet computer has potential to enhance communication, social capital for people who are non-verbal: Kevin Lusignan
Deron Hamel

The Apple iPad could be more than just the newest tablet computer — it may also open up a whole new world of possibilities for people who are unable to verbally communicate.

When asked about innovations he’s seeing that could have a positive impact on people accessing services from the Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion (BACI), senior manager of social and economic inclusion Kevin Lusignan says the iPad could prove to be an excellent communication tool for people with verbal challenges, as well as an instrument that could enhance community connections.

“If you can give a person a way to communicate, if you can give a person a way to be able to see what’s coming next — to have some predictability — if you can give people a way to make choices about their lives, then that is a huge shift in a person’s life,” Kevin tells the BACI Blast.

There are numerous benefits iPads could provide to people that would promote inclusion, he adds.

For instance, if a person is in a restaurant they would not need someone to order food for them — the person could simply key their order into an iPad and the voice application would read the order back to the server.

Adding to this, if the person frequently visited the restaurant it would be easier for them to get to know people working there, thus building community connections.

“People (would) be a lot more connected,” says Kevin.

Although distribution of iPads to people accessing services from BACI is not yet a reality, it is a possibility for the future, since prices will likely decline at some point, notes Kevin.

Given that “talking computers” were once out of most people’s price range, an iPad with a voice application costs today about $600. The iPad’s small size and innovative design also makes the device more inclusive, since people don’t have to carry around a bulky laptop.

With their cutting-edge technology, iPads also make great conversation pieces, which could enhance inclusion for people, says Kevin.

“Because it’s (innovative) it’s likely that someone would come up to a person and say, ‘Hey, that’s cool, can I look at that?’ ”

Do you have a story you would like to share about innovation you’re seeing at BACI? If so, please contact the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

If you have feedback on this story, please call the newsroom at 800-294-0051, or e-mail deron(at)axiomnews.ca.

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