10-year-old Einat, an adorable student in ALEH Negev-Nahalat Eran’s special education school, was born with Rhett syndrome, characterized by disorders in verbal and non-verbal communication.
Einat cannot speak. Up until three years ago, Einat’s communication ability was extremely limited, rendering her comprehension level undeterminable. Beginning three years ago, Einat began using a computer-based eye tracking system for communication. The eye tracking system’s computer works by tracking the eye’s pupil via an infrared beam and translating each of the pupil’s movements to a cursor, much in the same way that a mouse works with a computer.
We are privileged to see amazing breakthroughs occur through the use of the eye tracking system. Einat’s recent communication miracle is one of them.
Einat’s teacher was busy in the classroom when she suddenly heard Einat’s computer say, “I want to go the mall.” The teacher wasn’t sure if she was hearing right, but soon the computer repeated, “I want to go to the mall.”
This time, the teacher approached Einat and asked her, “With whom do you want to go to the mall?” Using her eyes, Einat opened the family-picture computer file and chose her mother and brother. The computer said, “With my mother and brothers”.
Shocked by what she just heard, the teacher quickly called Einat’s mother and asked if it was possible that Einat had said she wanted to go to the mall together with her and her siblings. Einat’s mother was overwhelmed. She told the teacher that the previous day she had taken Einat to the mall together with her other children, but she had not even known if Einat enjoyed the outing or even understood what was happening.
Needless to say, that very same day Einat’s family showed up at ALEH Negev-Nahalat Eran and whisked Einat straight away to the mall! In school the next day, Einat’s teacher verified that Einat was more attentive and willing to learn.
With the help of the eye tracking system, wonderful children like Einat can communicate with their surroundings, participate in lessons and watch videos and programs that they enjoy. And when they want to, speaking through their eyes, they can say that they are tired and would like to rest.
Modern technology’s disadvantages and dangers notwithstanding, it is safe to say that huge advantages also exist. Just look at Einat and watch her speak with her eyes!