A Glanaman volunteer who helps audit Carmarthenshire businesses and public service bodies to ensure they are making communication easier for people with learning disabilities, has received a new iPad to help with his work.
Nicholas Watkin Evans, aged 50, has cerebral palsy, which affects his speech.
Thanks to a donation from Kidwelly-based Burns Pet Nutrition, he now has a dedicated communication application to support his volunteering work.
The Pro Lo Quo 2 Go app is a communication support tool that gives a voice to people with speech difficulties by tapping symbols to create words or phrases.
Nic, one of the first volunteers to work with Hywel Dda University Health Board’s Speech and Therapy Department through the Volunteering for Health project, said: “Using the iPad and app will really help me in environments where people are not familiar with my communication and speech.”
Nic supports the department with their Total Communication policy - a way of communication with people with learning disabilities – via communication aids, symbols and signs, gestures, facial expressions and more.
Across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire, the University Health Board and its volunteers train staff, carers, service users and their families on the approach, as well as local businesses and service providers.
Nic co-chairs the Carmarthenshire Total Communication meeting, held several times a year, and also helps the Speech and Language Therapy Department to complete an annual county-wide audit of private and public organisations to ensure they are working towards making communication easier for people with learning disabilities.
Nic and Specialist Speech and Language Therapist for Learning Disabilities Yvonne Bruton-Miller recently went to visit Burns Pet Nutrition to thank them for the donation and show them the device first hand.
Owner John Burns said: “We are really pleased that we have been able to help Nic and to see him in action with his aid.”
Everybody enjoyed listening to Nick talk about his experiences and they witnessed first-hand how the iPad has changed his life .Nic enjoyed meeting the dogs on site and took home some food for his own cat Flossie.
The communication app on the iPad can be programmed to allow him independent communication in a wide range of environments and he is looking forward to expanding his volunteer role for Hywel Dda University Health Board.