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    Posted March 14, 2014 by
    NabeelaJ
    Location
    Ypsilanti, Michigan
    Assignment
    Assignment
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Tech talk

    Road to Communication with Mobile App

     
    We, are parents of son with Autism, PDD-NOS. He had cardiac arrest at birth time and later was diagnosed with Autism. Since then, we knew that we will have challenges but were not sure about the level and severity.
    As years passed by, his major challenge was communication, he was not able to talk and express what he wants, his language is severely impaired due to speech dyslexia. We tried different communication methods like PECS and other big and bulky communication boxes but he did not like to use, and they were very hard to configure. All his elementary school age, we kept on trying different options. We learned sign language with him, but when he would go out to mall and he would ask some one a simple question like where is the restroom using sign, nobody would understand him. All this experience was very heart breaking. We just have hope that one day there will be something that will help him.
    When he started his middle school, in 2009, one day we noticed that he liked to play on iPod touch, we took this opportunity of exploring more into iPod as a communication device. It seemed to be a good candidate for communication device, it was light weight, easy to carry and fun to use. As we researched about the apps for communication, we found few apps that were very complicated and expensive too. I have BS in Computer Science , and I was working as a web programmer with small businesses. I decided to learn iOS programming and create an app for my son that would be easy to use and easy for us parents to configure, and most of all it would be affordable to all special needs children. It should not cost hundred of dollars to try assistive technology app.
    In March 2010, I released the first version of the app, 'My Words' with the very basic features and the app was available to download from iTunes App store. Several people downloaded and gave me feedback about how they liked it or did not like it and that helped me a lot in improving the app. We kept on trying it with our son and best iof all he seemed to like it. With time, lots of updates are done to the app and now the app has many features and it costs only $4.99 to download from iTunes. People are using the app on their iPods and iPads and it is helping a lot of people all around the world.
    'My Words' app is a simple, easy to use app, that helps non-verbals communicate. It can be configured to keep a list of words and phrases with pictures and sound. When the user wants to communicate, he/she can simply tap on the picture and the app says it for him/her. The sound can be recorded in any language, hence it can be used in any part of the world. The care taker or parents can create their own custom list or download existing talking flash cards from mywordsapp.com
    Another great feature is the ability to share talking flash cards from one device to another. If I record some new vocabulary, I can share it with my son's teacher by simply uploading it to the server and she can download on the classroom iPad.

    Few years ago when we were travelling to Florida for a family trip, our son wanted to tell something at the airport, but we could not, and he started to throw a tantrum, he started to make loud noises and we could feel all the people staring at us . Last year, when we went on the trip, he took out his iPhone with My Words app and was able to show us what he wants, we were over the moon and our eyes were filled with tears of joy.

    We hope to increase the awareness of helping non-verbals with the augmentative affordable communication app that can provide a life changing experience for special kids with Autism or speech impairment.

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