Technology will help children bridge the communication gap | iHelp Innovations Google+
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Technology will help children bridge the communication gap

It’s important to remember that we communicate in many different ways. We use eye pointing, facial expressions, gestures and body language, writing and oral speech, to name but a few.

Ultimately, when we need to get our needs met, we are going to use whatever seems most efficient at the time. Children will naturally go with a mode of communication that’s easiest, and, when they are able to, verbal speech is the most efficient.

For children who do not have reliable speech, augmenting their speech with technology, low or hi-tech, can be an important step towards building effective communication. This is often referred to as Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC).

When a child’s speech and language development is delayed, they need a way to communicate wants, needs and feelings. This is when technology becomes truly empowering. It gives voice, words and expression to a child and equips them with the tools to access and express it. Children are keen to share their experiences, and if speech is impeded, technology can help them to express themselves.

The iPad is a popular choice in AAC as its mainstream device that adults and children can easily use, and there are hundreds of dedicated AAC apps. These apps use pictures, words, phrases or sentences so that at the tap of the screen, a message is generated.

There are many apps on the market dedicated to generating speech, incl Grid Player and TalkingTILES. It is worth bearing in mind that some may work better than others, especially for children in the earlier stages of language development.

It’s always important to remember that communication happens between two or more people. A child who uses speech will direct a word towards for example — a parent, using body positioning, eye contact and intention, in order to actually send the message. Interaction can be a challenge when using technology to communicate. Pressing a button or using an eye gaze device will generate speech, but children will also need to develop directing the output towards a person.

Switching to a speech-generating device like the iPad or Tablet is hugely advantageous for children and adults who rely on AAC as an effective method of communication.

At iHelp Innovations we can help sort out the options and help determine a solution from a number of devices, apps and software that are currently available.

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