Assistive technology means more independence for Louise
1st April 2022
Louise is very sociable and outgoing – she loves life. When she communicated that she wanted more independence around her home, the FitzRoy team in East Sussex decided to use technology to support Louise to be empowered to make decisions and have more control in her day to day life.
Dean, service manager at our supported living service Vernon Close, said: “Louise loves having fun and going out everywhere – whether she is exploring in the forest, going for a picnic or a pub meal with a glass of wine, or trying different restaurants. She just loves life.
“Louise also loves being independent, and can get frustrated when people don’t understand what she is trying to say. Because of this, we enrolled her in the Voice iTT programme.
“Voice iTT is a voice recognition software which helps people with unclear speech to communicate more easily with people around them. You record words and phrases so the app recognises your voice, then you can use the phrases to do anything from saying ‘hello’ to ordering food at a restaurant. Louise wanted to do more for herself, so we made sure we were supporting her to do so.
“Louise was doing really well with recording phrases, but it takes a long time to record enough to be able to use it in day to day life, so she wasn’t noticing the immediate benefit of it. That’s why we decided to set up Voice iTT with her smart home appliances. This means Louise can use the TV with her own voice commands and we no longer need to help her. She turns it on and off when she wants, chooses what programme she wants to watch and can adjust the volume to suit her. Imagine if you had to get someone else to do this for you every time you wanted to change the channel or turn your TV volume up, we weren’t surprised that Louise was getting frustrated. By using Voice iTT, Louise now has so much more independence and control.
“We are continuing to build up the phrases in the app so Louise can use it when she is out and about. The most important thing is building up enough phrases so that she has choice, and doesn’t have just one option to choose from when she is at a restaurant for example.”
“It’s about empowering the people we support to take control over what they want to do and when. Voice iTT has had a huge impact for Louise – it has given her the feeling of ‘I am in charge, I can make the decisions for myself’.”
Louise said: “Voice iTT makes me really happy, it helps with my independence. I enjoy being able to use my TV on my own, and now working on my communication.”
Dean said: “It is our job in the care sector to be on the look out for any new ways we can support people to be more independent and improve their quality of life. People with learning disabilities are often not able to access the same opportunities as everyone else, and at FitzRoy we are leading the way in giving the people we support the freedom to live the life they want.”