Light Activated Mouse and Keyboard (LOMAK)
An Answer for Severe and Life-Altering Disabilities for Children and Adults.
A Case Study
In the 2½ years since the LOMAK was launched the award winning keyboard has achieved significant successes with groups of children with severe and life-altering disabilities. LOMAK provides simple and easy (plug and play) computer and gaming access for children and adults with physical disabilities who are unable to write, use a computer or communicate. More importantly, it provides independence and a means of self expression that is critical in the lives of young, developing children. Here are some of our success stories.
Blake (aged 15) and Ryan (aged 17) were two severely disabled children. Both brothers were born with spinal muscular atrophy and have faced the challenges that life has thrown them with humour, dignity and determination. The LOMAK keyboard has allowed them to fit into their classroom environment, work independently and achieve at the highest level in school. More importantly is the ability for them to be productive members in society now and because they have faced their severe disabilities head on will become part of our inspirational leaders of the future. In 2006 and 2007 Ryan achieved the highest mark in the world for advance placement for geography and He is presently studying for a B.S. in Geography at a major university. Both boys want to pursue careers in science.
As Blake puts it “Besides my brain, LOMAK is the best tool I will ever use.”
Amy (aged 9) is another one of our early success stories. Amy was born with Charcot-Marie-Tooth Syndrome and cannot hold a pen. When Amy started using LOMAK she was struggling with her school work, had a very limited written vocabulary and was unhappy and withdrawn. Within months of using LOMAK, her vocabulary had increased exponentially. Two years later, she is a bright bubbly student who is happily integrated into the classroom and accomplishing all the things that her classmates are.
Said her father Ian said “I think she feels that she is more on a par with her classmates, not feeling left behind and without the need for someone to write things down for her.”
Her teacher, Antoinette Croft, sees great potential for Amy’s future. “I think that LOMAK could take her right through her end goal of becoming a teacher. The LOMAK system is allowing her to keep up with her peers and she will be able to produce the same work at high school as other students. It is fantastic.”
NotesaiTM We have enjoyed similar successes with other children for whom LOMAK has been literally life transforming. However, we were aware that many of the children and adults we are encountering did not have the necessary head control to use LOMAK, particularly those with athetoid cerebral palsy and/or with some spasticity and tremors. A modified version of LOMAK was developed with a different keyboard overlay called Notesai in response to this. With Notesai, the letters are spaced further apart and tolerate a degree of unwanted head movement. By pairing common and uncommon letters and accessing the uncommon letters with an “alpha” shift key, users with poor head control can acquire a reasonable speed of input and more importantly achieve a level of independence. One selected success is:
Gina (aged 17) who used the LOMAK after seeing it on TV, but she struggled to be able to select the keys because of her spasticity. Here is her story written using her Notesai:
“Hi my name is Gina and I have spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy, my disability does not allow me to use a pen. I started typing with my little finger knuckle, and then as my tone increased a pencil with a rubber on the end. As my output of schoolwork needed to increase, I found it very frustrating as I was not keeping up and needed a note taker. I saw LOMAK on TV and thought this would work perfectly for me, but I struggled with it because the characters were too close together and I do not have precise head control with my degree of cerebral palsy. So they came up with a layout to suit myself and others with cerebral palsy which has proved to be an absolute Godsend. I am now writing more without getting fatigued and frustrated and in less time. I do not know what I would do without my Notesai. I operate it by wearing a cap which has a laser attached to it. I hate wearing hats but I love this one, because it makes my life so much easier and allows me the independence that I require to achieve my work and personal goals”
Gina is presently writing her autobiography and so far has written about 75 pages. She is planning to go to university next year.
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REASON FOR CHARITABLE GIVING:
After a very successful test market of the two keyboard communication systems, CureKids is seeking donations for the advancement of the current systems, LOMAK and Notesai, with final development and full-scale launch of them into rehabilitation centers, schools and hospitals.