Calibration

This post probably won’t make much sense to anybody who is not familiar with an eye gaze communication device. If you have no idea what I’m talking about – sorry! But to anyone that DOES or is GOING to have one – this post is for you!

Last week Nathan had 0 success with his eye gaze. I thought maybe he just had a bad couple of days so I gave him a few days off the device to see if resting would help. Today he had therapy with Mrs. Ronna and it was terrible. He had no control, could hardly even select a button, couldn’t navigate himself around. I was having a series of heart attacks as I watched, wondering what had happened to Nathan that made him lose his control. In those 10 minutes I cannot even begin to describe all that went through my head – did he have another neurological insult, does he now have issues controlling his eyes, what if he can never use it again, etc etc etc. We even tried motivating him to make selections by offering him chocolate and he still wouldn’t do it! I don’t think DEVASTATED even begins to describe how I felt. And Nathan – he was SO UPSET.

Finally I had a stroke of inspiration. Since things couldn’t get much worse, I decided to recalibrate his eye tracking. What this means is that the device needs to get familiar with Nathan’s retina and how his eyes move and function. It makes him follow something on the screen, and based on how he tracks the object, it is able to better attune itself to Nathan’s specific eyes.

Nathan did the calibration beautifully and he got an almost perfect score – 5 on the left, 4 on the right (0 being perfect). I noticed his previous score was 150 on the left, 138 in the right.

As soon as the new calibration was applied, WHAM. He was flying! He flew through the pages and selections as if he was a starved man. He asked for chocolate, he made his Buzz lightyear move back and forth, he showed us Mr. Potato Head’s eyes and ears, he talked about daddy and called mommy when I walked out of the room. Then Owen came out of his office and asked Nathan to turn on the TV. I have never seen Nathan respond to a command with SO MUCH speed! It takes 3 steps for him to turn on the TV – On the main category page he has to select “Fun at home”. Then he has to select “Watch TV”. Then he has to select “TV on”. He literally went through the 3 steps in 3 seconds! He was showing off his skills and making it clear that WE were the ones with a problem – not him! My heart sung with joy as I watched him show off his skills.

I’m not sure how the device lost its calibration but I was sure happy to have recalibrated it so Nathan could continue talking to us. I wish I could describe the joy in his face when he realized he once again had control!

I thought I should write this post to all current and future eye gaze users – calibration is everything! Bad calibration can mean bad access, good calibration good access. Make sure your child’s calibration is ON!

Comments

  1. Lol….been there done that! And have experienced the heart attack too

  2. Makenzie’s trial eye gaze device is shipping out on May 23rd! I am so excited to see if it works for her!

  3. AWESOME!!! Thank God that you are the Mommy that you are – and that you thought to check it.

  4. http://Margo says

    Hooray for the all powerful Mommy Instinct!

    What a relief Nathan must have felt when you finally re-calibrated it for him.

    I wish Moxie’s vision was better. This would be a great tool for her.

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