On Thursday, June 15th, I travelled to the new location for the official grand opening of the AAC-IT (Augmentative and Alternative Communication – Interaction and Technology) Lab at the School of Rehabilitation Therapy, Queen’s University, located on George St. in the Louise Acton building in downtown Kingston. The AAC-IT conducts interdisciplinary research to enhance communication, social interaction and participation of individuals who rely on or can benefit from AAC technologies. Their goal is to advance knowledge with relevance to practice.
The team had many different AAC items on display, including low tech items such as picture boards, and high tech items such as eye gaze technology that I was able to try myself as well as a robot arm controlled by eye gaze that I was also able to try out-it was incredible to see this technology in action!
Ongwanada partnered with the School of Rehabilitation Therapy recently in a collaborative study entitled, Voice and Choice. The goal of this project was to explore the experiences of adults with developmental disabilities, their caregivers, and Ongwanada staff to identify factors which can facilitate communication and decision making of adults, and their opportunities for meaningful social participation according to their aspirations and wishes. We are now in the final stages of this meaningful and important research study which will have our findings published in various academic journals. We hope that this is just the beginning of many partnerships with the team at the AAC-IT lab led by Dr. Beata Batorowicz! Congratulations on your new location and all of the hard work that the team involved with AAC-IT Lab does to improve lives of many in our community.
Submitted by: Lori Johnson