A small scale study has been carried out to determine if eye-gaze technology is a suitable means of access for assessment of cognitive and language development, and has potential for AAC intervention for people/girls with Rett Syndrome (RTT). The authors utilised parts of two studies published in 2006 and 2009 in Italy and USA looking at the cognitive performance of girls with RTT.
The cohort was made up of girls and women who were assessed during Tobii clinics held in several schools, at regional Rett UK family days and at a Rett Clinic in a hospital setting. Using the Tobii EyeGaze Learning Curve as the framework for analysis, following a short session of screen engagement through sensory material, several cognitive and language tasks were attempted under two conditions: Direct instruction ("Look at the .....") and Indirect commenting ("I like her shoes!"); the outcomes were compared with the results of the previous studies.
Of the 40+ individuals tested, more than 90% were able to demonstrate a range of cognitive skills and show previously unmeasured language/vocabulary knowledge
Eye-gaze technology is a valid means of assessment for people with Rett Syndrome, and with further research, could eventually shape practice for AAC with this population.