Most people with Down syndrome have some degree of speech and language disability. An additional diagnosis of speech apraxia makes speech especially difficult. For some individuals, because of low muscle tone, it can be hard to enunciate certain letter sounds or combination of sounds. For the most part Kayla does a fairly well job of communicating and getting her point across. Sometimes she is better understood when the listener knows the context. Sometimes we still have to do 20 questions to try and figure out what she is saying....hence my post about Ms Frog had a Baby Snake!
There are assistive communication devices out there that can be programmed with sentences for the individual to press so they can ask and answer questions, but I don't think I've ever seen a solution to speech disabilities like Talkitt.
Talkitt is a software application, not a separate communication device, that allows people to easily communicate using their own voice. It "translates unintelligible pronunciation from any language into understandable speech." How amazing and empowering does that sound? For people who have a hard time being understood, to finally have their voice heard and understood?!
So just how does this work? By recognizing the user's vocal patterns and speaking their words in an understandable language allowing them to communicate easily with anyone and in any language they use. It is compatible with smart phones and tablets and in the future on laptops and computers.
Watch the video below for examples of people with speech disabilities using Talkitt and how it easily translates for them:
They have launched a crowdfunding campaign with a goal to raise $40,000 and are half-way to their goal, with a little over 2 weeks left for the campaign. This campaign page is full of information about Talkitt - go check it out for more details...it's really fascinating!
One of the questions near the bottom of the page asks, "Will it work with very severe speech disabilities?" and the answer is "Definitely. It works with any spectrum of speech severity from mild to extremely severe due to our innovative pattern recognition software."
If you donate to this campaign I like that one of the "perks" you can chose (the $25 level) is a gift from Cameron's Chocolates - chocolates made by a group of volunteers with genetic disorders and undefined cognitive or physical disabilities.
The projected date for the product release is for beta testers to have access in the 1st quarter of 2015 and released to the public in the 2nd quarter of 2015. Can you imagine how much of a game changer this has the potential to be for people with speech disabilities?
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