PURPOSE : Based on the bioecological model by Bronfenbrenner, this paper will provide a broad
perspective on factors that need to be taken into account in order to facilitate communication
and participation in preliterate children making use of electronic Augmentative and Alternative
Communication (AAC) systems accessed through eye gaze. METHOD : Two case studies of
children who have been provided with the technology described are presented. The case
studies were analysed using the four nested systems of the ecology as a framework to describe
not only the environment, but also the processes and interactions between the persons and
their context. RESULTS : Risk and opportunity factors are evident at all levels of the ecology.
CONCLUSIONS : While a good fit between the person and the technology is an essential starting
point, additional factors pertaining to the partner, the immediate environment as well as meso-,
exo- and macrosystemic issues (such as societal attitudes and funding sources) have a
significant influence on benefits derived. In resource-limited environments, the lack of support
at more distal levels of the ecology (meso-, exo- and marosystemic levels) seems to be a factor
that differentiates these environments from more resourced ones.