For children with speech and language difficulties, the focus can sometimes be on developing speech. But what happens while we are waiting for speech? The child’s language is often left behind. More importantly, they are left without a reliable means to communicate with others.
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Research clearly indicates that meaningful interactions between a child and their caregiver provide critical learning experiences that form the foundation of the child’s development. (Sameroff & Fiese, 2000).
Children with speech and language difficulties deserve to have meaningful connections with others. They need a means to express their thoughts and feelings to others around them. AAC(Augmentative and Alternative Communication) is an excellent solution that enables children with complex communication needs to have a voice and to be understood.
Reduces Anxiety and Behaviours
Gokul* is a kid with Autism who threw things at others when he got frustrated. As he grew older, he was becoming more aggressive. His parents were struggling to figure out the cause of his aggression.
Shweta* is a kid with Cerebral Palsy who screamed when she got angry. Her parents wished they could understand what she was going through.
Lack of communication is one of the major causes of challenging behaviours. Children are essentially trying to tell you something through their behaviours.
Using an AAC app like Avaz reduces anxiety and behaviours. Avaz app has a Quick button with which children can say phrases such as ‘angry’, ‘I don’t want it’, ‘Go Away’, ‘Leave me alone’. Since communication is quicker and easier, children feel understood and less anxious. You can program words that your child will need and add images so that app truly becomes your child’s voice.
We experience several emotions throughout the day. So do children with special needs. In fact, they may become overwhelmed with extreme emotions.
It may be difficult to put together words for children to express emotions. Pictures are easier to understand. Because tapping a picture takes less mental energy for children to convey a thought.
If you ask, ‘Are you sad?’, it may take a lot of effort for the child to understand what ‘sad’ means and what you are trying to ask.
This is where the pictures in Avaz can help. You can take a photo of a sad person or import a ‘sad child’ photo from the internet and add it to the app. Now, all you need to do is tap the picture.
The child sees a visual representation of ‘sad’.
The child hears ‘sad’ spoken out
This helps them make the connection between the word and meaning faster, thus helping them in expressing emotions.
Every parent wants their child to become self-dependent
Children with special needs may need support to develop independence. Communication is vital to independence. Children should be able to communicate with other caregivers and people in the larger society.
For that to happen, children with communication difficulties need an aid such as Avaz app. Having a tool with which they can talk to others gives them the confidence to engage in social interactions.
Avaz app has a keyboard with prediction abilities, so as the child grows, the app can be used for language development and academics too. This helps children acquire literacy and also express what they have understood.
But Will AAC Prevent A Child From Speaking?
On the contrary, experts say that AAC can help in speech production.
According to Sedey, Rosin, & Miller, 1991; Millar, Light, & Schlosser, 2006,
AAC use does not affect motivation to use natural speech. In fact, it can help improve natural speech when therapy has a multimodal approach that focuses simultaneously on natural speech and AAC use.
Avaz is an AAC app that speaks out when you tap a button. When you tap ‘apple’ it speaks the word out loud. The more children listen to this audio reinforcement, the more likely they are to imitate it and develop speech.
Several Avaz app users have developed clear speech and moved beyond echolalia with consistent use of the app.
*Names changed on request
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