At BeyondAutism, many of our learners use sign language to communicate their needs and wants. In order to better support our learners’ communication needs, we were granted a two-week rotational trial of the BrightSign Glove, a high-tech AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) device that enables users to make clear requests using signs. The trial was provided to us free of charge, allowing us to assess its potential impact and benefit on learners across the services.
The team worked together to support learners in understanding the new technology, and Occupational Therapists assessed which learners could benefit from wearing the glove. Throughout the trial period, we recorded every single request made by the learners, and the Speech and Language Therapists created sign libraries and visuals to support their communication.
What is the BrightSign Glove?
The BrightSign Glove is a high-tech AAC device that allows individuals to communicate through sign language and sign support systems. The glove is equipped with sensors that detect the movement of the wearer’s fingers and translates them into spoken language. The device also has an app that stores a library of signs and phrases, making communication easier for the wearer.
Trialling the BrightSign Glove with our learners
The therapies team at BeyondAutism collaborated with Post-19 and School staff to trial the BrightSign Glove with some learners. The team prepared the learners by explaining the purpose of the trial and creating social stories and visuals to support their understanding.
During the trial, learners’ success with the glove varied. Some learners could use the glove for up to 15 minutes, while others were only happy with it for a few minutes. The therapies team worked to build sign libraries that suited each learner’s needs, which allowed them to communicate their wants and needs more clearly.
One learner at Tram House School was able to use the glove for longer periods over time. The team built a sign library of around 20 signs and created a few sentences out of his Makaton signs. For example, the learner could request to use the big screen by signing “big screen,” and the device would speak for him saying “I want the big screen.”
Another learner at Wandsworth Hub used the glove for approximately 15 minutes during the last trial session. The Speech and Language Therapist built a sign library of 15 signs that the learner could use to request items and activities he liked. They were able to request to go to the shop spontaneously using the device.