When I see people with cerebral palsy, I can't help but feel the difficulty they and they're families have been going through. I know that since a cousin and a friend's son are in such situation. But while they face such challenge, I also know that they are blessed. I believe that while these kids may need more attention from their parents, they also give so much joy.
So when I heard about a technology that will help children with cerebral palsy, I can't help but get curious and appreciative of the initiative.
Spain's IT company Indra partnered with the Philippine Cerebral Palsy Incorporated (PCPI), for the use of Accessible Technologies in the physical therapy of cerebral palsy patients. Indra’s trademark – innovation for all – is known worldwide and here in the Philippines as continually improving health, transportation and government processes. Indra believes that technology can be fully effective and pervasive if all kinds of people will be able to use it.
With the establishment of the Accessible Technologies program as Indra’s corporate responsibility program, this technology aims to address the needs of PWDs when it comes to accessing and using technology. The program, made up of innovative solutions and services that promote accessibility and social inclusion, is actively promoted and utilized in Europe and parts of North and South America.
Here in the Philippines, Indra is promoting the use of two of the program’s foremost solutions, the Headmouse and Virtual Keyboard. The Headmouse, with the use of an ordinary webcam, allows a user to control a computer’s cursor with head movements. The Virtual Keyboard, on the other hand, is an onscreen keyboard with predictive capabilities, reducing the number of keystrokes needed to type out a user’s most commonly used words and phrases. Both softwares can be downloaded for free from the program’s website http://www.tecnologiasaccesibles.com
PCPI saw the potential of the two computer applications for cerebral palsy patients and approached Indra to present and demonstrate their use during the Scientific Congress of the recently concluded National Cerebral Palsy Awareness and Protection Week last September.
With the favorable response from the cerebral palsy community, Indra and PCPI decided to be partners in using the softwares for the physical therapy of the children with cerebral palsy under PCPI. Indra will be providing a computer unit, installed with the Headmouse and Virtual Keyboard, to support the physical therapy sessions of the organization.
Indra is also working closely with the organization’s therapists so that the softwares will be fully utilized by the patients during their therapy sessions.
Indra hopes that with this therapy, the cerebral palsy patients in the future will be able to use the Headmouse and VirtualKeyboard for its intended use – that is to operate and navigate a computer. Indra aims for the patients to have a more independent interaction with technology – exploring the internet, communicating through email or instant messaging, or using other computer software for education or employment.
The Indra Accessible Technology computer hub with the Headmouse and Keyboard was recently turned over to PCPI during a ceremony prepared by Indra. After the ceremonial turnover of the computer hub, Indra gave an overview on how to use the Headmouse and Virtual Keyboard. Indra employee volunteers then assisted the therapists and caregivers in teaching the cerebral palsy patients on how to use the two softwares.
PCPI believes that the technology will help on the therapy of the children as the kids will be able to concentrate and eventually manage their head movements, and they will be motivated to do that as enjoy doing things on the computer like drawing, coloring, etc.
For Indra in the Philippines, this is just the start of reaching out and partnering with PWD organizations to promote their Accessible Technologies. Indra believes that the technology that will be accessed should be available in the first place, and the company is very much willing to make that possible. With PCPI, Indra not only provided them additional tools for therapy, but also the medium to make it possible.
Individuals or groups interested in creating a program with Indra’s Accessible Technologies may contact Charissa Venturina, head of the Accessible Technologies program of Indra in the Philippines, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And with that, I would like to salute Indra for coming up with this technology to help PWD and PCPI for taking care of people with cerebral palsy. May God continue to bless you.