Students at the Purdue University have developed an iPad app that aims to give autistic kids a voice. Dubbed SPEAKall!, the app basically allows for those with severe speech impediments to form sentences by dragging and dropping images or touching them in order to construct sentences on their behalf. On top of that, the app also aims to help autistic children learn how to talk. Launched last November, the app has seen a download of over 3,300 times. According to Oliver Wendt, an assistant professor of speech, language and hearing sciences:
“Fifty percent of children with severe autism are non-verbal, meaning they don’t develop speech or language skills needed to communicate [...] One strategy to get the children started with functional communication is a low-technology approach where they learn to pick up a graphic symbol card and exchange it for a desired item. The last couple of years, we have been looking at how to move children on to more sophisticated solutions, such as speech-generating devices that facilitate natural speech and language development.”
The app will also allow caretakers or educators to record their voices and add their own images, allowing even more flexibility and slightly more complex sentences to be created. The app has also been tweaked for children with down syndrome. Head on over to Purdue’s website for additional details or drop by the iTunes App Store for the free download.