At the recent Geneva Centre International Autism Symposium we were overwhelmed by the response to the Widgit Health symbolized communication tools. So we’re pushing full steam ahead to localize and manufacture them for Canada.
There are 4 purchasable tools designed for easy non-verbal, symbol supported communication of key health and medical information:
First Responders Book: Designed for EMS, nurses, doctors and other health professionals this 20 + page book can be used for providing personal information like medications recently taken, details of pain and injury, food consumed, describing an accident scene etc. Printed on washable, tear-resistant paper – it’s essential for any First Responder.
But parents and caregivers of individuals on the autism spectrum that we met at the symposium were immediately attracted to this piece for personal use. “My kid is going into the hospital for several days – I need this,” said one parent, disappointed that we only had one British demo copy at our booth. She described how difficult it is for her child to be understood and for her kid to understand what was going on during her hospital stays. Too often physical restraint was resorted to in order to complete a medical test. She felt readymade visuals easily accessible in a book, could really help take down the anxiety of the hospital environment and make the whole experience easier.
First Aid Book: A simpler, less detailed version of the First Responders book, ideal for any environment that deals with the broad public – schools, libraries, universities, arenas, theatres even bars or restaurants.
Patient Communication Sheet: Wash it, disinfect it, even run it through a dishwasher, this one sheet is designed for the bedside of any patient with communication challenges. It contains, basic common comfort requests (food, drink, book, television, painkillers etc.) plus ways to communicate essential health information such as pain characteristics.
ICE (In Case of Emergency) Card: All the essential information – contact info, medications, allergies, health # — plus a quick communication board for emergencies for the non verbal individual, folded up to fit in the wallet.
It takes a lot of experience to develop products like these that really work. Widgit has a symbol vocabulary of over 40,000 words crafted over 20 years. They worked with a number of medical organizations and medical professionals (including Royal Berkshire, Sheffield Childrens and Great Ormond Street hospitals) over the past 5 years to design these resources and new health specific symbols.
If all goes well Bridges should be able to start shipping these pieces within the next few weeks. Stay tuned!