Gwendolyn Tests Tobii and an Act of Kindness Leaves Us Speechless

June 03, 2011 by Victoria Strong

We are speechless. Completely without words. Doors are opening for our little girl and because of an incredible act of kindness, they are opening even faster.

Yesterday we had a trial for the Tobii Eye Gaze Communication Device. This "computer" is able to detect and follow Gwendolyn's eyes and how she moves them. Using her eyes she is able to scan and pause over an image on the computer screen to select it causing the computer to "speak" for her. Basically, it allows her to use her eyes as a computer mouse. There are endless options and possibilities with this -- expressing her needs, wants, feelings; playing games; learning new things; allowing for independence; and eventually, with literacy and maturity, she can write and send emails with it. Wow! I'm all throat lumpy thinking about what is possible.

And Gwendolyn took to it all right away. She was so patient with the set up and so motivated, tapping her finger excitedly while everything was getting ironed out and calibrated. Once the positioning was right, the rep showed us everything and asked Gwendolyn to look at an image on the screen -- and off she went. She started with selecting between two images and that was a breeze for her. The four options were simple. And the six options made her so excited to do more. With every step tasks were asked of her and she passed with flying colors, loving every second of it! We then moved on to a game of Memory (having to match letters underneath cards on the screen) and she loved it -- especially when she won a trophy at the end of each game smile And she then learned how to restart the game on her own while we were busy talking! Awesome!

After the rep left, we were abuzz! This is such an amazing tool and we felt so excited, but we also know the reality of obtaining sophisticated equipment with a price tag in the thousands and thousands ($10,000+ for the whole unit) was going to be a challenge.

Enter a serendipitous gift -- a miracle really. A few hours later someone donated a Tobii device to Gwendolyn. Yes, the actual device we need. It isn't fully complete, but it is pretty darn close and we think this is amazing! It's in perfect condition and was barely used by the person who donated it to us. This is unbelievably generous and the timing is truly incredible. I take it as a sign that this is going to be a really wonderful thing for Miss G.

People (and often strangers as in this case) have been so incredibly generous to our family and we don't take any of it for granted -- ever. It means the world to us and things such as this are giving the world to Gwendolyn. We know Gwendolyn will love this new tool. We know this will help push the barriers SMA creates. We know this is a great new path toward enrichment and autonomy. And we can't wait to share all about it -- if Gwendolyn lets us smile

Talk About It

WOW! That's great! How exciting! Amazing acts of generosity and kindness often leave us speechless. The trade-off is now Gwedolyn can speak! I have a feeling she will have a lot to say. smile
Posted by gettyowl on 2011-06-03 09:17:13
This is incredible. I am so excited for Gwendolyn.
Posted by Stefanie on 2011-06-03 09:20:27
Oh my gosh!!! That is so cool. I was wondering if something like this might work for G. I had no idea they were so pricey; how wonderful of someone to donate it.
Posted by Marina on 2011-06-03 09:21:03
Holy cow. How cool is that? Can't wait for those emails from Gwendolyn..... smile
Posted by Margaret on 2011-06-03 09:23:41
Speechless here as well.Truly amazing.Your girl,and you both,are loved so very,very much!
Posted by Zoey's mom on 2011-06-03 09:25:42
Holy Toledo!!! That is amazing and so, so, generous:) Can't wait until Sunday:)
Posted by Cherisse on 2011-06-03 09:41:55
Hey Guys, that is awesome!! Mary tried almost every eyegaze device on the market and the Tobii P10 is her absolute favorite! It just works! It isn't as small or fancy as some of the rest, but it works amazing and is super easy to calibrate. Congratulations! I bet Gwendolyn will love it! Ryan and Kate (and Mary and Jackson)
Posted by Ryan Nelson on 2011-06-03 11:41:35
That is incredible! The technology out there is just amazing, but you are right, so expensive and out of reach for so many families. What an treat to have someone donate one, I am alwaysso amazed at the generosity of others. Good luck with your new "toy" and can't wait to hear more about Gwendolyn having fun and communicating! Hugs,Em
Posted by Emma on 2011-06-03 11:58:32
That is so amazing! I am so proud of Gwendolyn for being so smart and picking up on how to work it so well. Awesome! Can't wait to hear more about it!
Posted by Lindsey on 2011-06-03 13:58:31
Awesome!! You need to post a video of G using this!! I will love to see her fingers taping and her being able to communicate!!
Posted by Marcela Vallarino on 2011-06-03 15:41:51
I love hearing this! It shows you that there are still good people in the world. What an amazing, generous gift! Go Gwendolyn Go!!
Posted by Tammy Duke on 2011-06-03 17:41:34
Once again Strong family-----you are bringing the human spirit to its best!!!!!! Marvelous!!!! Love this beyond words! hugs to you well.... Lisa smile
Posted by Lisa Prokopetz on 2011-06-03 20:58:49
Hi V! My comment on fb kept failing to post for some reason today but I just wanted to drop in and say how very excited I was to read this post today! It made my day! I have been hoping for a device like this for G and I am so very happy to know that you now own one! What great people to make this donation to you. God is good! I can't wait to see what G does with it. Love you! XOXO
Posted by Theresa Portugal on 2011-06-03 21:46:58
So Awesome!! I can't wait to hear all about everything Miss G is saying!! : )
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Posted by Effeboalo on 2011-06-05 22:09:32
Wow, Wow, Wow!! So amazing! I can't wait to hear Miss G talking!!
Posted by Terri on 2011-06-06 22:23:40
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