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Ariya Finds Her Voice

Ariya started with Pacekids Programs in September of 2015 in the Early Childhood Services Program. This beautiful little girl has Rett Syndrome, which for Ariya means she is in an adaptive wheel chair, has limited motor skills and is completely non-verbal. When Ariya started working with the Pacekids Speech Team, she began learning how to use an eye gaze technology device called the PC Eye that was generously funded by the TELUS Calgary Community Board. This technology tracks an individual’s eye movements on a screen, allowing them to select wants and needs, express feelings and communicate with others.

The PC Eye gave Ariya a voice. Before this technology Ariya could not communicate with her family, friends or peers. Thanks to Eye Gaze technology, Ariya can communicate with those around her and express her wants, needs and her vibrant personality.

With Ariya set to graduate from kindergarten in the spring of 2017, the Pacekids Speech Team began looking into a permanent solution that Ariya could take on to grade one, however the technology costs approximately $18,000 to $20,000. Without a personal eye gaze device, Aryia would lose her progress along with the voice and ability to communicate that she had so recently discovered. After months of the Pacekids team working with Augmentative Communication and Educational Technology Service (ACETS), Aryia and her family were granted the funding required to purchase a personal device!

Ariya is one of the youngest individuals in Canada to ever receive funding for a personal eye gaze device and that is all thanks to her having the opportunity to trial the technology here at Pacekids Programs. Her success would not have been possible without the generous donation from the TELUS Calgary Community Board and the hard work of her dedicated teachers, therapists and family.

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