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Evaluating a personalizable access technology: SwitchApp - Clients


Access technologies can be deeply important for the quality of life of many people with motor conditions. We have created an access technology called SwitchApp for people with complex communication needs. SwitchApp can be personalized to recognize users’ unique vocalizations, keywords and/or facial movements, and can use these cues to control a computer. We want to test the usability and performance of this technology for employment-related tasks. This information will help us improve the user experience of SwitchApp for many different users.

Call to action

Are you a young person who uses buttons, switches and other access technologies to communicate and get things done? Consider participating in our research study to help us evaluate a personalizable access technology.

Who can participate

We are looking for young adults who:

  • are between 16 and 30 years old,
  • have a motor impairment that makes it difficult or tiring for them to using standard technology interfaces (e.g. mouse, keyboard, touchscreen), due to cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, spinal muscular atrophy, a motor neuron disease, cervical spinal cord injury, or any other condition,
  • are able to reliably indicate yes/no,
  • are able to independently communicate, read, and write in English (including by using augmentative or alternative communication (AAC) methods),
  • have a stable comfortable seating position,
  • have sufficient vision to identify visual prompts and text in SwitchApp,
  • have functional hearing,
  • have no medically refractory epilepsy and/or seizures triggered by light stimulus,
  • are able to consistently control facial movements and/or produce a few keywords/sounds, in a non-fatiguing manner,
  • currently use or have previously used an access technology (e.g., a switch or joystick) in an independent, functional, and regular manner (at least 3 times a week), i.e. currently are or previously have been proficient and regular switch or joystick users,
  • currently use or have previously used single-switch scanning, step scanning, or multiple switches, with a communication or writing software (e.g., Communicator 5, the Grid), proficiently and regularly (at least 3 times a week),
  • have a caregiver, family member, or friend who is able to communicate, write, and read in English, and wants to participate in the study.

Funding agency

Accessible Technology Program - Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada.

What's involved

Participants will attend two sessions of 1.5-2 hours at Holland Bloorview to personalize SwitchApp. This will involve recording and reviewing audio/video clips of simple activation tasks (e.g., blinking, saying “next” or “go”). Next, participants will attend a 1-1.5 hour testing session at Holland Bloorview where they will be asked to use SwitchApp to complete employment-related tasks (e.g., opening programs on a computer, typing a short text). Finally, participants will provide their impressions and feedback about SwitchApp during a 45-minute follow-up interview, which will take place either at Holland Bloorview or virtually. During each session, we will record audio and video. Participants will also be asked to complete multiple questionnaires throughout the study.

Interested in participating

If you are interested in participating in this study or have additional questions, please contact Fanny Hotzé at or 416-425-6220 x6459. Contacting us does not obligate you to participate in the study.

Additional information

Version date: April 5, 2024

eREB# 0625 - Expanding digital access and employment readiness through a personalizable access technology: SwitchApp

Deadline: March 31, 2024 or until 10 participants have been recruited

Learn more about this study