WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - Purdue researchers have developed an iPad app geared towards teaching children with severe autism how to communicate with others.
The name of the app is SPEAKall! It's designed to help children with severe autism learn to convey basic commands and how to talk.
Purdue University speech, language, and hearing sciences professor Oliver Wendt came up with the idea, and Purdue's Engineering Projects in Community Service or 'EPICS,' developed it.
It's a point and drag style app that displays pictures of everyday objects like crayons and cereal. Also, it contains descriptors such as different colors.
A child can point to a command, object, and description and the app will read the thought out loud.
"It teaches them how to communicate and in reward most of the time, a professor in the clinical will actually give them rewards," said SPEAKall! Development Team Leader Nick Schuetz. "If they say, 'I want cracker', a professor will reward them with a cracker. So, it's very unique"
SPEAKall! is customizable. Any picture can be added to the image library and captioned. The app will create the flash card style image and pronounce what the word is.
Best of all, the app is free and downloadable just like another free app.
"The easiest way to do it would be to go to your iTunes account, log on, and type in SPEAKall!" Schuetz said.
The hopes are that this app will be the breakthrough communication technology for current and future families with autistic children.
Shuetz said SPEAKall! is just one of several apps created by the university to help people with special needs.
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