PicBoard has already been developed as a Windows based application and is used to create and print communication charts. It is a âlow-techâ Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) solution that has many uses, including supporting children with cerebral palsy and adults who have had a stroke. PicBoard has also been installed in several hospitals in Ukraine, for both adult and young clients. The Mulberry Symbols used with Picboard can be found on the Straight Street website.
The original version of PicBoard was written in Borland Delphi (for Windows platforms). Due to the increasing use of many other platforms ( e.g. Linux, Mac, PDA/smartphones), the Paxtoncrafts Charitable Trust now feel the software needs to be rewritten as a web application to reach a wider audience.
While some 'high-tech' solutions exist to help with communication (such as dynamic speech output devices), many clients are not able to use these (for example, many pre-school children with such disabilities), so an interactive web based tool that can support the development of customised speech charts, communication books and wall signs etc can be invaluable to many individuals, families, friends and therapists.
The major benefit of making this AAC solution a web application will also be the collaborative nature of producing charts. Currently, individual efforts are made by therapists at each PC, but this project will allow charts to be stored to a global library for everyone to peruse. The time devoted to producing such charts is very time-consuming and this will become a rich resource for therapists.
This project will use the combined benefits of Open Source and Open Content to bring an important resource to clients who cannot access such communication tools due to cost barriers. JISC OSS Watch will be advising on this aspect of the project.