Assessment of a Communication Assistive Technology for Individuals with Deafblindness: A Case Study


  • Sylvie Cantin
  • Walter De Abreu Cybis
  • Suzanne Trudeau
  • Frédérique Poncet
  • Walter Wittich
  • Marie-Chantal Wanet-Defalque



The main goal of this study was to evaluate a communication assistance device (CAD) for individuals with deafblindness, based on a braille display notetaker connected via Bluetooth to an iPhone. This study examined the use of this device by a 61-year-old woman living with Usher syndrome with sighted and hearing interlocutors during three restaurant outings.

The study had three specific objectives: 1) To evaluate the participant’s and her interlocutors’ perceptions of their productivity in the communication interaction in real-life situations, without and with the CAD; 2) To evaluate the participant's emotional experience after using the CAD; and 3) To describe how the communication interactions between the participant and her interlocutors work, without and with the CAD. The relevance, utility and interest of such a communication support technology became clearly apparent, along with the enthusiasm it aroused in her interlocutors. Despite the empowerment it provided, the huge differences in some aspects of interactions made without and with the CAD suggest that the constraints introduced by the use of a CAD modify the nature of communication. Four recommendations are made. Any future development of the technology intended for users with minimal experience working with computers and electronic devices should be encouraged.