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Technology Alternatives to Communicate with Nonverbal Children

Posted by: NJ Kids Contributors - April 30, 2014

There are many reasons a child may be nonverbal. They range from neurological to physiological to psychological. As a parent, we want to be able to communicate with our child and, more importantly, help our child communicate with the world around him. Advances in technology coupled with the everyday use of smartphone and tablet devices have given parents opportunities to open a new world of communication for their children.

Autism

The autism spectrum disorder affects a wide range of speech and social interaction development. An autistic child may be entirely nonverbal or may miss body language and affect cues that are important in communication. Autistic children often miss out on the action/reaction aspect of communication. This is where the Microsoft Kinects games become very useful. Kinect is a motion based system attached to the Xbox gaming console. An Australian school has used a Kinects game called Happy Action Theatre to teach autistic children to interact with the world outside of them by linking their movement to outcomes on the screen.

Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Being deaf is very isolating. That isn't a dramatic statement but a comment on one of the aspects of deaf culture. Sign language allows the deaf to communicate but only within a limited signing world. What a signing family recognizes as strong language, the hearing world wrongly sees as nonverbal. New technology that uses the same Kinect system for motion recognition has made it possible to translate motion based language into spoken English. The sensor picks up motion and a translation program turns it into spoken language. The program works in the other direction also, translating English into a simulated person signing on screen.

Neuromuscular Disease

In a study of 129 Swedish children, 100 percent of children with cerebral palsy (CP) had a speech disorder and about one-third of them were nonverbal. Children with neuromuscular disease like CP, muscular dystrophy, or multiple sclerosis do not have the physiological capability to form words, even if the brain is able to create the language. The DynaVox products are designed to allow a child verbal communication by selecting icons that match either words or ideas they . If your child could benefit from the DynoVox systems, take a look at the funding. They have different opportunities to make it affordable even to a struggling parent.

Age Development

Another reason a child may be nonverbal could be associated with their development. Children under the age of two, children born premature or children who have had a trauma in their life can all be nonverbal. Common Sense Media reports more than 75 percent of American kids under the age of eight have access to smartphone or tablet technology, and luckily, there are apps to help bolster developmentally based verbal skills. If you don't have a smartphone, T-mobile's iPhone 5c is colorful and has a great capacity for apps. Simply log into the iTunes store and find apps that match your child's age among the thousands available to enhance language skills. The more a child gets to flex her skills, the better her language will become.

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Posted by: NJ Kids Contributors| April 30, 2014
Subcategories:  Kids, Social Media and Technology | Special Need Tips
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