About the event:
TALK100 Session Two: 12:00 – 13:00
Where ordinary citizens share their thoughts of the importance and impact of Design and Creativity in their world and the world of others.
While Art is about self expression the core of Design is about improving peoples lives. Its also about business and understanding how to use your creative skills to add value to a business, environments, products, systems and even in services like healthcare, education, transport and more.
Join us for an exciting and heartwarming conversation with Dr Sobhaka Chrisenduth a medical doctor practicing in Kimberley; Chris Rowland who will share the profound journey of his son Samuel, who have an undiagnosed condition that renders him profoundly disabled, in collaboration with Sonja & Cris Higham from Speak2Me and how they are using technology to open a new and exciting world for Sam. Speak2Me uses special technology to create an inclusive world for physically and/or mentally disabled individuals through communication.
Speakers for TALK100 Session Two:
- Dr Sobhaka Chrisenduth says “Design and healthcare should not be mutually exclusive for the simple reason that optimal treatment of complex human beings requires a cross-pollination of various fields and disciplines for deeper understanding. Being able to take ideas and transform them into something tangible is life-affirming”.
- Chris Rowland and his wife Anita, both from the creative industry, often have to resort to creative solutions to create the best environment for Samuel in which to thrive, learn, and grow. Samuel has recently started using a communication device that tracks his eye movement and allows him to interact with software.
- Sonja & Cris Higham from Speak2Me believe it is important to integrate technology into their client’s lives to provide a far richer quality of life.
Venue: Main auditorium
Entrance on Corporation Street
Dr Sobhaka Chrisenduth
Sobhaka Chrisenduth is a doctor currently working at Kimberley Hospital Complex in the Northern Cape. She previously worked in rural hospitals in the North West province in Vryburg and Mafikeng. Sobhaka holds a MBChB (bachelor of medicine and bachelor of surgery) degree from the University of Cape Town where she co-founded the Student Psychiatry Society. She has a keen interest in neuroscience and hopes to pursue this at a postgraduate level in the near future. Design and healthcare should not be mutually exclusive for the simple reason that optimal treatment of complex human beings requires a cross-pollination of various fields and disciplines for deeper understanding. Being able to take ideas and transform them into something tangible is life-affirming.
Sonja & Cris Higham from Speak2Me
Sonja Higham studied Physiotherapy at the University of Stellenbosch and then did her community service at a rural hospital in Kwa-Zulu Natal. Through her involvement in the set-up of a Special needs school, she became intrigued with special needs communication and then studied her Honours and Masters in AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) with the University of Pretoria. After moving to Cape Town in 2011 she established "Speak2 Me", as a multi-disciplinary therapy practice focusing on communication with her husband Cris. Cris Higham studied Mechanical Engineering at the University of Natal and has worked in the fields of engineering, computer programming, teaching and business development. Cris is fascinated by technology and got involved with the therapy practice by designing and modifying toys that could be activated by the special needs individuals through switches. He later moved to the design of high tech communication systems, mounting solutions and much more. As a therapy practice Speak2Me focuses on special needs individuals who are unable to use their voice to communicate functionally. We are a team of 5, three therapists and two support staff, seeing clients from young to old, across the greater Cape Town area. We provide individuals with other means of communication, from low tech to high tech systems, predominantly utilising touch screens and eye trackers and specialised communication software and equipment. They believe that it is important to integrate technology into their client’s lives to provide a far richer quality of life.
Chris Rowland - Father to Sam and Creative Director
Chris Rowland is a creative director and a dad, living in Cape Town, with access to some of the best medical specialists in the world. Together with his wife Anita, they have a son with an undiagnosed condition that renders him profoundly disabled. Both coming from the creative industry, they have worked hard to create the best environment for Samuel in which to thrive, learn, and grow - sometimes involving very creative solutions! Being unable to speak, they believed his eyes to be his strongest muscle, and possibly the best connection to what was going on in his brain. Design is starting to unlock that potential. Working together with Sonja Higham using Tobii eyetracking technology, and appropriate software, Samuel was able to start communicating at a level they previously thought was perhpas not possible for him. And this is only the beginning of his journey… Samuel Rowland intro: Samuel is 8 years old and has suffered from an undiagnosed disability since birth. Being unable to speak, or even move his muscles without great effort, he was unable to communicate effectively and found great difficulty moving his arms to use flashcards which were designed to teach him and ultimately help him express his emotions, his wishes, and his needs. Sammi has recently started using a communication device that tracks his eye movement and allows him to interact with software. Essentially using his eye movement as a mouse, he is showing intelligence and understanding - and humour - where previously we were unsure that cognitive ability even existed within him. Technology has allowed him to use his strongest muscles - his eye muscles - to communicate and to play, and it has opened up a world to him that previously seemed impossible to attain. He is incredibly excited about this, and so are we!
Location: Auditorium, Cape Town City Hall, cnr Darling Street and Corporation Street
Corner of Darling and Corporation Street , Cape Town