iPhone Changing Lives of Autistic Children - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

iPhone Changing Lives of Autistic Children

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Kristen Guilfoos
NewsChannel 10

Amarillo, Texas - It's being used to help kids with autism, kids who are behind on speech development, people with traumatic brain injuries and stroke victims.

New technology is helping revolutionize speech therapy. Apple's iPhone, iTouch and iPad are quickly gaining the attention of the medical community... Local speech pathologists say they've seen first hand the difference this new app can make in the lives of those who have trouble communicating what they're thinking.

WT's Associate Professor of Special Education says, "That's one of the defining characteristics of autism and other communication disabilities is communication problems. But the iPad, the iPhone the iPod all give them a way of communicating that can be personalized. It sets them free. It gives them a voice."

The app is designed to let them tell others what they're thinking... They touch the picture of what they want on the screen and the app says it out loud... Things like "I want to watch TV", "Hello. My name is Kristen" or "I'm hungry."

Speech Pathologist Donna Phillips says, "They have several very realistic voices that are male, female and children's voices and the child can then using touching that picture to communicate that message."

The most basic version of this app costs seven or eight dollars, but the most high-tech version runs around $200... Significantly less than the ten thousand dollar price tag that came with previously used large computer systems.