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Communication Help for Kids and Adults with Autism
Tap to Talk gives my son options
Imagine how frustrating it would be to never be able to verbalize you wants and needs. Your power of choice limited by your inability to speak and your interaction with the world around you contained. This is how it is for many children and adults affected by autism.
For my son, who is now 20 years old, this has been his struggle since he was two and a half when his language literally disappeared. For a while we tried sign language but this was difficult for him due to his delayed fine motors skills. We tried PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) but the carrying around of the cards in various settings proved cumbersome and my son hid the picture cards every chance he got. Although we had limited success with sign language and PECS we were able to piece together a sort of “language” between the two that helped me understand my son’s needs at least in part. We tried a couple of speech devices at school but his exposure was never enough to determine whether or not he would start to use.
More recently, many people with autism have benefited from quickly developing technology. With the development of the iPad, tablet pcs and smartphones, as well as the various e-readers on the market, we now have some great options. There is a great program called Tap to Talk. http://www.taptotalk.com/
We first downloaded the free version of Tap to Talk on my android phone. We worked only with one request, “I want to watch a DVD.” As his interest grew we expanded to a small tablet pc. Still sticking with the free program, however, if this turns out to be something my son will use to communicate, a much expanded version with the ability to be personalized can be purchased.
Of the programs we have tried to help my son communicate, this is the most visual. It has been our experience that he responds much better to visual materials. We are very hopeful and so very eager to offer all the options available even on the free version, but, we must take it slow so as not to overwhelm or frustrate him even more. We want this to be fun for him, not work. The idea is to help eliminate the stress of not being able to speak, not add to his stress. With that in mind, we jump whole-heartedly into the new experience, and pray for success.