New apps offer possible autism breakthroughs
iPad and iPod Touch application developers have recently created several programs which help aid the learning and development for children with autism. The success and usability of many of these programs has not only offered a new platform to help autistic children with their education, but can also offer much-needed relief to their parents. Autistic children are said to be adapting to these iPad programs like ducks to water, whilst the supervising parents can finally get some quiet time for a cup of coffee or to simply read the newspaper in peace.
Autism remains to be an elusive brain disorder, with scientists still not being able to understand why a child could be born with the disorder or how it may affect their brain functions. Generally autism is characterized by three types of behavioral disorders, including difficult and anti-social communication, social inadequacy and obsessive compulsive tendencies.
In 2009, the Center for Disease Control in the USA concluded that one in every 100 child born was included in the spectrum of autistic behavior. Whilst the spectrum for autism is relatively broad, where some children may live a relatively normal life but display mild anti-social behavior, other severe cases can be very disruptive for a parent or full-time care-giver.
The new programs offered on the iPad and iTouch platforms, including Proloquo2Go, have been able to help autistic children communicate more clearly with their parents, learn important language skills and provide an activity to focus their attention on. The iPad and autistic programs also offer a portable and a cost effective solution to parents who cannot afford full-time care or other expensive learning programs.
Proloquo2Go is a new iPhone and iPad application that is designed to offer an easy communication platform for people who may have difficulty speaking. The app features natural sounding text-to-speech voices, language symbols and a default vocabulary of over 7,000 words. The current version has adult male/female and boy/girl voices and comes with North American English which can be updated to British English through the Proloquo2Go website. The app allows the user to tap a series of symbols that are then placed into the message box, and the sentence is spoken by the chosen male or female voice. Users can even create and store regular sentences to their library for fast and easy access to commonly used phrases. Typed paragraphs can be automatically converted into symbols and all words are automatically linked to relevant conjugations, plurals or possessives. Other features include...
- Choice of list or grid view
- Support for picture and/or text-based communication
- Close to 8,000 built-in symbols
- Customization options for item size, color, interactivity, restrictions and speech
- One-button addition of new vocabulary items and categories
- Cut, copy and paste of items
- Quick access to recently spoken items for the last 15 minutes, hour, or week
- Typing view for typing full paragraphs
Proloquo2Go is currently available at iTunes App Store for US$189.
Via SF Weekly News