Using AVAZ to Enhance Communicative Abilities of a Child with Cerebral Palsy

Sita Sreekumar


Communication difficulties associated with cerebral palsy can be multifactorial, arising from motor, intellectual and / or sensory impairments. Affected children can experience mild to severe difficulties in expression. Those with little or no functional speech frequently rely on non-speech communication systems to augment or replace natural speech. These systems include speech generating devices (SGDs). AVAZ is a portable speech synthesizer which can be controlled by the gross motor movements of a child with cerebral palsy.

Purpose: This case study describes the outcomes of a pilot investigation that utilised AVAZ as a means of enhancing functional communication in a young girl with cerebral palsy.

Method: A 7-year-old girl with cerebral palsy and complex communication needs was trained for 10 sessions to develop requesting ability by pointing to the desired pictures on the AVAZ.

Results: After the training sessions, the child showed improvement in social interaction and functional communication.

Conclusions and Implication: The collaborative efforts of an interdisciplinary team, comprising a speech pathologist, a physiotherapist, parents of the child and a social worker, made it possible to enhance the child’s confidence and functional communication using AVAZ. Hence it is important to pursue client-oriented, innovative and collaborative intervention approaches among team members.


Cerebral palsy; speech generating device; functional communication

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