Kyra writes by pressing the buttons the Allora device with her shoulder

Kyra is a 52 year old woman who loves spending time with her family, her dog Poppy and meeting new people in the city, as well as lots of other social activities.

She has cerebral palsy which affects her speech, in particular the clarity of her speech.

This can make it very difficult for Kyra to communicate with unfamiliar people, as well as over the phone.

Due to her speech difficulty, Kyra has been using a device called a ‘Lightwriter’ which allows her to type messages using her left hand and the messages are then spoken aloud.

This device also allows her to send text messages to family and friends.

001Kyra was admitted to St Vincent’s in May this year with pain and increased difficulty using her left hand.

The pain and difficulty moving her left hand prevented Kyra from using her Lightwriter and communicating effectively with others.

Kyra’s speech pathology goal for her rehabilitation admission was to find an alternative method of communicating with others.

Jess, Kyra’s Speech Pathologist, arranged a specialist appointment with ‘ComTec’ — a service run by Yooralla which provides practical advice on communication options and on technology that can assist.

The session included a Speech Pathologist and Occupational Therapist from ComTec, as well as Kyra’s rehabilitation Speech Pathologist.

During this session, Kyra was introduced to the ‘Allora’, an alternative communication device which can ‘speak out’ messages.

Kyra is able to access this device by pressing a button with her shoulder, which then scans across letters for her to select and write words.

The ‘Allora’ is also able to send text messages.

Kyra remarked that she really enjoys using the Allora and was very quick in learning how to use it.

Speech Pathologists play an important role in supporting people with communication difficulties to communicate in different ways and to participate in their community.

This week is Speech Pathology Week.  Approximately  5% of the population (1.1 million Australians), have a communication disorder.

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