Jack and his eye gaze technology

Posted on: 12th June 2014

Jack Mitchell is a 12 year old boy with quadriplegic cerebral palsy. For Jack, his cerebral palsy means he has no independent mobility and very limited oral communication, so he uses an 'eye- gaze' computer to communicate his thoughts and feelings.

Eye-gaze technology allows people with disabilities that prevent them from using a keyboard and mouse, to control a computer simply by looking at control keys or cells displayed on a screen.

Before using this specialist technology Jack was restricted to communicating only with those who knew him well, using a combination of eye movements and facial expressions. After using his new computer for 2 years the effect on his life has been dramatic, as he is now able to have a conversation with anyone using speech software and can communicate by email, meaning he has a link to home when he is in respite care.

The eye-gaze computer is compact and transportable, so he can take it with him wherever he goes. He uses it at school and at home, where he has private maths and English tuition.

“Eye gazer is vital for his social interaction, education, his communication with others and the world around him. I really enjoy the emails I get from him telling me what he has been doing or arranging my next visit. During my visits it enables me to communicate directly with Jack rather than through a third person,” says Jack’s case manager.

Jack recently used his eye gaze computer to compose a poem for a national writing competition that invites both disabled and non-disabled children and adults to share their experience of disability or supporting a disabled person – and received a gift voucher for his entry. Well done Jack!

Sometimes Life is Fantastic!

Sometimes life is difficult.
Doing my walking is difficult.
Doing my standing is difficult.

But life isn't always difficult.
I can always think about the good things in life.
Going to school is good.
I like going to America where I have lots of fun.
I love to go swimming it makes me feel wonderful.

I like going on my bike.
I like going to Centre Parcs in Sherwood Forest.
I love the internet, it makes me feel extremely happy.

Sometimes life is fantastic!

by Jack Mitchell