Published: 05/09/2017 08:52 PM
We often hear and believe that actions speak louder than words. But the opposite can indeed be true, for words can be pretty powerful. Language strengthens relationships, motivates people to communicate and keep conversations going. Yet for many children with autism who have complex communication needs, it is often easier to use sometimes challenging behaviors instead of language for self-expression. Technology makes it possible to reverse the pattern by giving a voice to their words and bringing welcome change to their everyday interactions.
The irony here is that children with autism may show little or no interest in using a communication device, whether they push it aside, play with it like a toy or simply ignore it. Let’s consider how this common behavioral challenge can be surmounted and how the newly launched Tobii Dynavox Indi with Snap + Core First can be part of the solution.
Lack of interest in using an augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) device often translates to a lack of motivation for doing so. Young people just want to fit in, which can be tough for anyone. It becomes harder still when the inability to speak sets them apart from their peers. The gap widens when technology meant to mediate the communication deficit also stands out—for the wrong reasons. A device could have multiple parts—separate speakers or a bulky case, for instance. It may look out of place or be awkward to use. Many AAC devices contain a wealth of vocabulary, but why bother if you can’t get to it quickly and easily?
Indi, the world’s first speech-tablet made just for communication, is all about freedom of self-expression. Besides its great look and feel, the device has deep inner beauty that lies in its Snap + Core First symbol-based software. Together, these groundbreaking products bring motivation as well as power to break everyday barriers of anxiety and silence. It takes a mere minute to get Snap + Core First up and running, so your child or student has almost immediate access to language for any situation, wiping away the frustration of knowing what they want to say but not having the words to do so.
The all-in-one Indi serves as both bridge and motivator, blending in with popular technologies that so many kids use. Snap + Core First, meanwhile, redefines the user experience, providing an abundance of fresh language content where and when you expect it. All the content is research based and centered around three pillars of communication success—engagement, literacy and growth.
Like a grand fountain of language, Snap + Core First meets users where they are, pouring forth the amount and kind of vocabulary needed in the moment—no more, no less. Organized by parts of speech, the software is very intuitive and easy to navigate. It keeps core words and quickfires (familiar phrases like “Come here!” and “No way!”) with engaging corresponding symbols in the same location on every grid you create, no matter the size. Relevant vocabulary is at your fingertips as conversation topics change. This means individuals using Snap + Core First and communication partners can talk about anything without hesitation or fuss. Given that language provides ongoing incentive to do so, it’s important for an AAC system to be filled with names of people who are important to the child/student, words and phrases to support his/her frequent activities, talk about personal likes/dislikes, ask for help and request breaks throughout the day. Snap + Core First has language for all of that and more. It keeps positive and negative comments handy for each topic, taking communicators beyond making simple requests into new realms of self-expression so they can give compliments (“That’s so cute!) or complain (“I don’t like the way it looks.”) with equal finesse. Snap + Core first contains editable mini-schedules, social scripts, visual timers and other behavior supports.
Ongoing support for parents, teachers and other communication partners is available through the Pathways companion app, which can be downloaded free of charge. Pathways includes step-by-step directions for the software, expert tips and knowledge, fun learning activities and other practical resources to help children with non-verbal autism or late talkers more fully embrace all the good things Snap + Core First offers along the road to success in communication and in life.