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Leading the assistive technology revolution

Leading the assistive technology revolution
National Star has, for the past 50 years, been one of the front runners in the use of assistive technology for people with disabilities.

In 1997 we hosted the first national conference on how people with disabilities can benefit from new learning technologies.

Speech and Language Therapist Jon Brough has seen huge progress in assistive technology since joining National Star in 1981.

The POSSUM – which is Latin for ‘I am able’ – typewriter was an electric typewriter connected to a large screen which learners could control with a switch. It was the first time mechanised switches had been used to make computers accessible to people with disabilities.

The first eye-gaze communicator, which learners control with eye movement, came to National Star in 2006 and cost £14,000. They needed to be plugged into the mains, so couldn’t be attached to a wheelchair.

Now assistive technology is far more portable – an iPad can be used as a communication device – and more affordable.

Jon is currently working with a learner who, through his eye-gaze attached to his chair, can control his TV, open doors and turn on lights.

National Star works with every learner to develop an individual programme that enables them to make the most of assistive technology.

Find out more

Find out more about National Star’s assistive technology assessments or contact the Admissions team at or on 01242 534928.

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