The primarily intended users of Voice4u is individuals with autism. Autism is a disorder of neural development that is characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior. These signs may begin before a child is about three years old. Autism affects information processing in the brain by altering how nerve cells and their synapses connect and organize. Autism has a strong genetic basis, although the genetics of autism are complex and it is unclear whether autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is explained more by rare mutations, or by rare combinations of common genetic variants.
One of the characteristics of ASD is the development disorder of person’s ability to communicate and interact with others. However, because children with ASD could recognize, analyze and comprehend visualized information sufficiently, various icons or visual images are encouraged to be utilized for communication. The importance of visual aids for interpersonal communication would be equivalent to that of wheel chairs for people who cannot walk.
- "About Autism" (Autism Society) at http://www.autism-society.org/.
- Jennifer Krumins, “Educational Planning for a Student with Autism: Bring on the Visuals!” (Selfgrowth.com) at: http://www.selfgrowth.com/.
- "The 5 W's of Visual Support" (Kidaccess, inc.) at http://www.kidaccess.com/.
Why Smartphones & Tablets?Conventional communication-aids devices and tools available in the market have been either expensive or inconvenient, or both. For instance, if a family with a child with ASD wanted to purchase a communication-aid device, they would usually seek coverage by their medical insurance for the cost because the device would cost more than a few thousand dollars. Consequently, it would nominally take 2~6 months to obtain approval by the insurance, prior to which they would need to visit their speech therapist several times to obtain the therapist’s assessment which is normally required by an insurance company. Furthermore, it would usually be necessary to incur attorney’s fees to negotiate with the insurance company because insurance companies would not approve such a high cost without resistance. In addition to such difficulties to obtain insurance coverage, conventional AAC devices are:
- Unfriendly user interface
- Lack of portability
- Difficult to personalize for each use case
- High learning cost
- TEACCH (Treatment and Education of Autistic and Communication related handicapped CHildren) program at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine. See http://www.teacch.com/.
- PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System™) offered by Pyramid Educational Consultants, Inc. See http://www.pecs.com/.
Advantages of Voice4uVoice4u is a revolutionary AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) application that helps individuals to express their feelings, thoughts, actions and things they need, as a solution for learning and communication for autistic individuals, children and other adults with developmental disabilities, stroke and/or traumatic brain injuries, and people around them. Unlike conventional communication-aid devices, Voice4u is:
- Easy user interface
- Easy to personalize for each individual user
- Easy to learn without incurring additional cost
- No specialized device to carry around
- Compatible with many devices including iPhone, iPad, iPod, Kindle Fire, NOOK Tablet
- "Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) Diagnostic Criteria" (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) at http://cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/hcp-dsm.html.
- Guide to Home Remodeling for Disability and Special Needs: http://www.expertise.com/home-and-garden/home-remodeling-for-disability-and-special-needs