A Communication App for Those We Live With Autism

Paloma Basilio

Autism is a developmental disorder which affects verbal and nonverbal communication, emotional senses, and limits interests in children, according to WebMD. Symptoms appear in the first few years of a child’s life.

Although the disease has been affecting children for some time now, it is still not clear why some children develop this disorder and others do not. There is also limited help for families dealing with the frustration of not knowing what their child wants or needs.

Nvate Crowdfunding Pick Aut2Speak autism keyboard communication by Tiffany Khoshaba

The Aut2Speak app will help those with autism to express their needs and wants.
Credit: Kickstarter

Aut2Speak, a company based out of Chicago, Ill., needs funding to help make their vision of helping children with autism a reality. Tiffany Khoshaba, creator of Aut2Speak, developed a digital keyboard to help children with the severe nonverbal form of autism communicate with their family and friends. She came up with this idea “while watching a documentary about autism,” according to the project’s video on Kickstarter.

Everyone deserves the right to express themselves even by the means of technology. Khoshaba explained in the project’s Kickstarter video that 1 in 88 children will develop a form of autism. The risks are higher for boys where 1 in 54 will have it.

“[I] knew that there must be a better way for autistic children to communicate,” Khoshaba said in the video. “If a person searches YouTube for ‘autism typing’ they will find video-after-video of children and adults who are now able to express themselves through keyboard typing. The problem is that the traditional keyboard was designed for and by those who do not have autism.”

The design of the keyboard is straight-forward with images of words related to emotions, letters, pronouns, yes and no, and the endings to words. This makes it easier for the user to create sentences. For example, to say “I am hungry” the user will select the “I” from the letter section “am” from the letter section and “hungry” from the words section.

The keyboard will be available through an application that can be downloaded onto a cellular device as well as on a tablet.

The goal for Aut2Speak is $24,000 by Jan. 31, and it is at $345 as of Jan. 16. Any donation is appreciated, but according to Kickstarter, if backers pledge $25 Aut2Speak will post the backer’s picture on Twitter and a thank you. Backers who pledge $150 or more will receive a shout out on Twitter as well as a T-shirt and mug that have the Aut2Speak logo.

Pledges will help the “development for iOS platform, translation, the website design and hosting, adding a few doctors to their team, advertising, and Kickstarter/Amazon fees,” according to Kickstarter. Aut2Speak wants the application to be available worldwide; therefore they need funds to translate the words into multiple languages. Besides helping Aut2Speak, backers will be providing support to families battling the difficulties of this developmental disorder.

Please visit the project’s Kickstarter page to donate.

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