Information Technology & ROSHNI Contact Person: Swati Chakraborty, Head; Kamal Bhaumik, Deputy Head

National Resource Centre for Augmentative and Alternative Communication

IICP established, Roshni, the National Resource Centre for AAC (NRCAAC) in Kolkata. Roshni is a symbol of light - the light of knowledge that will enable persons with complex speech and communication disorders to break away from the shackles of silence. This is the only specialized centre, first of its own kind that has been set up in the eastern region of the country to cater to the needs of users with complex communication needs. AAC is a term used to describe a broad range of communicative behaviors and methods which support and enhance speech attempts of people who are unable to talk. AAC includes methods ranging from simple techniques to complicated devices that are assistive technology.

In order for the users to use technology meaningfully a conducive infrastructure needs to exist. We realize that the main challenge is to create interest and perception that culturally appropriate, economically viable assistive technology (AT), if universally designed, can be useful not only for people with disabilities but for all, especially for all students in the pre-primary and primary level in mainstream schools.

Roshni displays and demonstrates all AAC and AT resources developed in India and standard devices commercially available for users, parents, trainees and professionals. It caters to the users with complex communication needs and loco-motor impairment such as stroke patients, brain and spinal injury patients, throat cancer patients, persons with autism, aphasia, learning problems and multiple disabilities. The key strength of Roshni is a very strong team of professionals and pro-active AAC users. Roshni has a strong research base, with software developers and designers dedicated to the cause and experienced AAC users who are involved at every stage of development. It has strong links with national and international technical institutes and universities. Roshni has worked with IIT, Kharagpur (one of the premier technical institute of India) for collaborative research and development. We have completed three AT projects with IIT (all these projects have come through Media Lab Asia). The in-house software development team also has developed two AT software with funding from Yooralla Society, Australia.

At Roshni we offer the following range of services

      • Assessment of individual needs
      • Providing customized solutions with help of low-tech and hi-tech resources for users with technological support
      • Training for the professionals, users and families. We also disseminate a range of resource material in Hindi, English and Bengali, developed by IICP. We provide tailor-made need-based training for the target groups.
      • Providing solutions for inclusion in school and workplace (for users, schools and employers)
      • Research and development of low-tech and hi-tech resources in the form of
        • Various Multimedia software
        • Alternative access options
        • Communication hardware
        • Voice Output Devices
        • Training and Teaching Material(Free downloadable demos of multimedia software and easy to use resource material are available on the web.)
      • Field-testing of devices and software with suggestions for modifications
      • We have free web based training modules available
      • Roshni uses and develop lo-tech and hi-tech resources to provide opportunities for inclusion in regular activities including education and employment for the users. The non-technical resources are in the form of printed displays and books that facilitate communication for users at various levels of needs and cognition.


Low-tech & high-tech communication aids at Roshni




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Communication Displays

A range of communication displays in print. These are displays for daily needs, general social conversation, specific need based conversation, chat books, communication dictionaries, topic based displays and spell boards etc. to satisfy needs of users to provide customized solutions.

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Language Development

A range of material for language development and participation in classroom for young users. These are books of rhymes, story-books, reading kit etc.

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Language Development

A range of material for language development and participation in classroom for young users. These are books of rhymes, story-books, reading kit etc.

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Kathamala

A 16 message (64 messages in version II) VOCA can be used by picture / picture word / text users at any level for social communication, lectures and classroom participation.

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Gupshup Album

a small, easy to carry around, album with 10 leaves for inserting photograph / picture / picture words or text cards. Can be used for social communication. Can be used as a chat book, home to school messaging; making choices in outdoor situations eg. Restaurants, shopping malls etc. ; as a jokes book, story book, to talk about memorable events , or as an introduction to oneself.

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Adapted Toys

Battery-run toys adapted to be operated with switches are also available.

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IPSC

Indian Picture Symbols for Communication to make displays with standardized culturally appropriate and language independent picture symbols. You can design your own displays as per your requirement.

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GupShup Software

Can be used to prepare digitized displays (in the form of a matrix) with pre-recorded speech .The software has scanning options for the switch-users so that the user can speak out a chosen message to participate in classroom. It is being field-tested at the moment with mainstream schools. The software uploaded in a windows-based tablet PC can be a wonderful tool for inclusion.

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Micro switches: Avaz: Akash Tablet

Micro switches are used by users who have problems in using a regular keyboard/mouse. Adapted mouse for switches are also developed.Avaz: An android tablet. Vaani on Akash tablet, the software helps prepare digitized displays with pre-recorded speech for android tablets