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New apps offer possible autism breakthroughs

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November 9, 2010

Proloquo2Go is an iPhone/iPad app that helps autistic children to communicate with others

Proloquo2Go is an iPhone/iPad app that helps autistic children to communicate with others

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

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

About the Author
Bridget Borgobello Bridget is an experienced freelance writer, presenter and performer with a keen eye for innovative design and a passion for green technology. Australian born, Bridget currently resides in Rome and when not scribbling for Gizmag, she spends her time developing new web series content and independent cinema.   All articles by Bridget Borgobello
12 Comments

Scandalous price tag. A cynical attempt to exploit parents with autistic chidren. Before I read the end of the article, knowing Apple's propensity to maximise turning a buck at every conceivable opportunity, I knew this was going to have exorbitant price.

Parents with autistic children will pay anything to make their lives easier and Apple know this.

I just hope more philantropic app developer brings out and Android version.

Risso
9th November, 2010 @ 09:01 am PST

I agree that the price is scandelous. However, I would tend to lay that blame at the door of AssistiveWare who owns the app.

leaton
9th November, 2010 @ 10:08 am PST

You think USD 189 is expensive? You need to grow up and see what the real cost of medical care and support programs tuned for autism. You're willing to pay 50USD a month for a limitless cellular package but not 200 for your kid one time? Stupid comments.

Rocky Stefano
10th November, 2010 @ 05:36 am PST

Check out iPrompts and AutismTrack, two apps to help families dealing with autism. www.iPrompts.com.

Dan Tedesco
10th November, 2010 @ 06:29 am PST

This is VERY cheap compared to standard AAC devices like the Dynavox which is around $7,000 and until recently was about the only choice.

BBKing2010
10th November, 2010 @ 06:55 am PST

One doc has had a very high success rate wrt curing autism via heavy metal detoxing. I would do this first and foremost. One in 36 young boys are on the autism spectrum. IMO, vaccines are the primary cause and need to be avoided like the plague.

Dean Mindock
10th November, 2010 @ 08:25 am PST

GREAT

Jorge Elizalde Bedos
12th November, 2010 @ 07:58 am PST

The price tag for Proloquo2Go is well worth it. A Dynavox AAC device can cost between $4,000 and $10,000. This program gave a venue to my son to communicate, he learned to use it within days and has been surprising us ever since. Between the IPad and the Proloquo2Go app, the pricetag was under $800. For what we have experienced so far, this is by far the best program that has worked for him.

Ivelisse Garay
5th December, 2010 @ 02:19 pm PST

Another option is the AACSpeechBuddy (http://www.aacspeech.com).

It is an AAC app using PECS and text-to-speech technologies. The big difference is it has a data sharing component.

All of the configuration (menus, icons, sounds, etc) are controlled by an account on the website. The sets can then be loaded to any number of remote devices, and can be shared with others.

Once the data has been download to the device, a network connection is no longer needed for operation. Supports iPhone, iPad, iTouch, Android 1.6 , and any Java

capable machine (Linux, Mac, Windows).

Facebook User
18th March, 2011 @ 03:16 pm PDT

I wish Proloquo2Go apps is available at nook color. I would love to get one. I just can't afford to buy the Ipad.

love2kids
11th May, 2011 @ 12:35 pm PDT

AAC Speech Buddy- Is an augmentative and alternate communication app as well. It seemed a bit more user friendly for me with the same type of function as Discover my voice. I also like how they have some default settings that you can use right away with the app. The best part is that you get to share your created, customized, personalized speech sets with others. If you have a child using Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), the website also provides over 2000+ images that your child may already recognize and best part is that these images are FREE! Being a teacher, I liked this app because what they learn at home can then be used and shared in the classroom. (For those learning to generalize their behaviors across settings, this is great!) These speech sets can also be shared from desktop applications for free and runs on Mac/PC/Linux. This app by Code Dimensions runs about $27.99 and has some very positive reviews

Don McCarty
15th November, 2011 @ 01:26 pm PST

Recommend Picture AAC app (http://heartyspin.com/solutions/pictureaac), I find it has a good balance of simplicity and functionalities. It's like a modern iPad/iPhone/iPod version of those PECS communication book with velcro. Picture AAC app include training levels that show just 1 picture to help phase in use of PECS on iPad and a training level that shows 2 pictures to help train differentiating between pictures. It allows add own pictures, record own voice and sorting the pictures.

WMLee
6th February, 2012 @ 11:58 pm PST
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