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Eye Gaze Boards (e-tran)

Eye Gaze Boards

What They Are

An eye gaze communication board (also known as an e-tran) is a vertically held/mounted board, made of plexiglass or sturdy paper with a window cut in the middle, that enables children with severe speech and orthopedic impairments (i.e. children who are unable to speak or use their hands to point out pictures or symbols on a communication display) to communicate by focusing their gaze on selected items displayed on the board.

Again, this strategy, if a match for a student’s needs, skills and existing strategies, can further expand a multi-modal communication system.

What They're Not

Limited to the four quadrants! Items can be displayed in any configuration and can be encoded to provide more choices on each board.

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How They Work

When the eye gaze board is held up at eye level to the child, the child and his/her communication partner should be able to make eye contact through the open window.

Several steps may be involved in the training process, including:

  • Learning to scan the items available on the board
  • Learning to fixate eye gaze on the desired item
  • Learning to look back at the communication partner to confirm the selection

Adapted from Goosens and Crain, Augmentative Communication Intervention Resource, 1986.

Elle looks at all her choices and then makes a selection by looking at the word and then looking back at the teacher. She confirms her choices by saying ‘yeah’.

Courtney uses a generic eye-gaze communication board to answer multiple choice questions about 8th grade literature. For students who are able to use four symbols to represent multiple meanings, this method provides some nice flexibility – especially for testing and spontaneous discussions.

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