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Communication devices

Communication devices can be used to support the communication needs of people who experience difficulties producing speech or written communication.

They may be particularly helpful for people who live with conditions like cerebral palsy, motor neuron disease, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, brain injury, stroke or autism.

There are many types of devices available. Some are low-tech, such as communication boards or books. More high-tech devices include speech-generating devices that translate words or pictures into speech.

Geneva Tino lives with cerebral palsy and is non-verbal. She uses a computerised device to communicate. Geneva has completed a Bachelor of Communication Studies and is studying Te Reo Maori. She won the supreme prize at the Attitude Awards in Auckland 2017.

Contact your NASC provider if you think a communication device – or other assistive technology – could support you to live more independently.

You can also contact TalkLink. TalkLink works with people of all ages who have difficulties speaking, writing and learning because of a disability. They provide services throughout New Zealand.  Visit the TalkLink website to find out about the services they provide, and to complete a referral form.

Learn more about other types of assistive or adaptive technology

Visit the Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People to learn about equipment for disabled people.

Visit the Ministry of Education website to learn about assistive technology for learning.

Visit Mobility Centre Store for a range of mobility equipment and daily living aids to support independent living.

Hearing Therapy provides information about assistive listening devices, including funding options, for people living with a hearing impairment. This includes items like amplified telephones, smoke alarms and other alerting equipment.

If you have vision impairment and you need adaptive equipment or help with technology and computers, you may be able to get support from the Blind Foundation.

Lottery grants for Individuals with Disabilities can be used to fund equipment that enables people to take part in and connect with their communities. This can include assistance dogs, communication equipment, vehicles, vehicle modifications, scooters and other mobility equipment.

Read our articles about making an accessible home and workplace modifications.

  • The Attitude Trust is funding Geneva to attend a conference about computer-assisted communication in Brisbane this July – where she will give a presentation and learn more about her goal of having Te Reo and a Kiwi accent for Kiwi users of assistive communication devices.

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