Autism App Adopted by Clinical Institutions

SpeakAllis an iPad therapy app that is specifically designed for children and adults who have little to no functional speech skills, especially in the area of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). The app allows them to acquire initial symbol vocabulary and learn the process of constructing simple sentences. It can be customized to each child or individual learner’s specific needs by allowing the instructor or caretaker to use recorded audio of their own voice as well as custom images from your iPad library. The app uses these photos and graphic symbols to represent what the child wants to say and helps them construct sentences accordingly.

Developed at Purdue University, this app is now being adopted for use at speech and language clinics at San Jose State University in California and the University of Central Florida in Orlando. “The SpeakAllapp is a major technological advancement in the available AAC tool kit for use with children with autism,” says Chad Nye, executive director of the University of Central Florida Center for Autism and Related Disabilities, “the system is easy to understand, learn, adapt, and deliver and should be in the professional tool kit of anyone working in the field of autism or other language interventions. The transparency of the actions make the stimulus and response items a practical application that can be individualized for each child.”

Clinicians are impressed by the apps clean layout of the app, especially since they have been looking for ways to figure out the issue of sensory overload with dynamic displays that are hard to work with. To much sensory information can create stress and anxiety for an autistic person struggling with speech development and further hinder their learning process. Communication is one of the biggest issues that children and families with autism face because they don’t have enough verbal speech to meet their day-to-day communicating needs.

A free version of the SpeakAllapp provides usage of up to 20 graphic symbols, two activity sheets, and one learner’s profile. The premium versions of the app include access to four different synthetic voices, data tracking and managements, unlimited symbols, unlimited activity sheets, and unlimited learner profiles.

Shema Kolainu takes full advantage of apps that can be used for speech therapy, especially ones that use clean visuals and auditory cues to help facilitate language production. In fact, one of our very own non-verbal students said his first words and first simple sentence, “want iPad,” just this past month. Integrating these newfound technologies into our therapy practices are an important part of creating a strong foundation for the children and students we work with. Innovations and advancements in technology will be covered in depth on Day 3 of our 2014 ICare4Autism International Conference.

Get more conference info & tickets here

Get more info on SpeakAllhere

 

Nonverbal Autistic Teen Masters Written Communication & Advocates For ASD Education

 

 

 

 

If I told you a 16 year old wrote a book that is being assigned in university classrooms, would you believe me? Maybe. What if I told you that 16 year old is a nonverbal autistic?  Ido Kedar, a California teen with Autism Spectrum Disorder, has escaped the “solitary confinement”[i] of his body through mastering the motor skills necessary for communication tools like IPad apps. Ido is now able to express his feelings, opinions, and self-interest—insisting on inclusion in a regular education program and challenging experts’ assumptions about his condition. Ido describes the difficulty of his silent half-life saying, “It was terrible having experts talk to each other about me, and to hear them be wrong in their observations and interpretations, but to not be capable of telling them.” i

Ido advocates for integrated education through his blog and book, “Ido In Autismland,” and leads by example as an honor roll student. In his blog post Truth Over Theory, Ido describes his conversation with an open-minded professor as refreshing because, “more often, I think, people get used to their theories and stay there their whole professional careers.”[ii] Ido’s book has been assigned to college classrooms and is available on Amazon. In the personal statement of Ido’s Blog, he states his intent is to “help other autistic people find a way out of their silence too.”

Ido’s story was featured as an NBC News special, in which Ido was interviewed and able to respond via IPad, more articulately, in fact, than many people his age. The insight Ido has provided into the mind and condition of nonverbal autistics is monumental for the future of education and intervention strategies. Ido’s literary voice is unique and engaging—a true joy to read. Through his advocacy efforts and personal successes, Ido is altering the stigmas associated with autism. In an interview with NBC News Ido asserted,  “I want people to understand that not speaking is not the same thing as not thinking.”i

At Shema Kolainu, we believe all children have a voice. With understanding and support, we can hear the voices of all of our children too— whether through mediating tools like tablets, their own vocalization, or caring attention to the nuances of their behavior. Share your stories of communication barriers and successes here!



[i] Lin, Daisy, and Bruce Hansel. “Autistic Teen Uses Tech to Break Silence: “I Escaped My Prison”” NBC Southern California. N.p., 35 Apr. 2013. Web. 06 May 2013. <http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/Autistic-Teen-Writes-Book-on-an-iPad–204775591.html>.

[ii] Kedar, Ido. “Truth Over Theory.” Ido In Autismland. N.p., 13 Feb. 2013. Web. 06 May 2013. <http://idoinautismland.blogspot.com/>.

 

 

Share Your World With Autistic Children with New iPad App

The iPad has become a commonly used tool for allowing those with speech-language impairments to communicate and helps to teach those with special needs.  Searching “Autism” in the iPad App Store produces 902 results, a number which has been increasing quickly.  The popularity of using iPad apps for this purpose is not surprising given that traditional alternative and augmentative communication (AAC) dedicated devices cost up to $15,000. Continue reading