Nonverbal Kids Learn to Converse with iPhone Apps


Expressing your needs is difficult enough as it is for those who are verbal.  For those individuals who are classified as nonverbal, it has been near impossible to communicate until the recent development of mobile phone applications (apps).  These apps feature assistive technologies built around augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) app designs that allow for fluid gestures and movements to dictate the intended communication of the nonverbal individual to those they are aiming to converse with.  The iOS App Store has worked diligently to create a platform for AAC apps to flourish and assist those nonverbal individuals with the tools that they need to communicate with the world.  Let’s look closer at how nonverbal children use AAC apps in their daily life as a supplement to their continued quest to further their language growth.

Nonverbal Children

Most articles that cover nonverbal children are those that focus on the ties that nonverbal children most often carry from symptoms related to Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  According to a study by Boston University, about 30% of people diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) "never learn to speak more than a few words."  Since nonverbal children with ASD can’t easily express their needs or their thoughts, they are more likely to have tantrums and engage in other self-destructive behaviors.

Nonverbal autistic children often have difficulty with language and relate better to objects than people, which can make it especially hard for their siblings and parents to get to know them on a deeper level.  A recent pilot study found that nonverbal autistic children could improve their verbal abilities when their parents actively engaged them in conversation during play.  This translates well to a mobile phone solution that focuses on encouraging the growth of the individual’s social communication skills via safe environment.


Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) App Design

Nonverbal children can easily utilize Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) apps on mobile devices to help them learn, articulate and communicate with others.  AAC technology aims to help nonverbal individuals by giving them a simple and practical tool to guide their conversations with parents, educators, and others. These applications don’t just focus on getting the nonverbal individual to communicate.  They also focus on allowing the individual to grow their social and cognitive language skills.

AAC technology allows individuals to be as independent as they would like to be.  It allows them to get involved and play a greater role in their communities. The Apple iOS App Store has provided AAC apps a platform to help them reach their main demographics and help them.  The store’s model has prioritized AAC apps as they continue to provide an inclusive app store culture for those who desire accessible apps.  

Closing Thoughts

Nonverbal children long to communicate with the world.  Even though these individuals lack the language skills necessary to vocalize their wants, they have the cognitive skills and motivation to persevere.  AAC apps that are developed for use on the iOS App Store strive to provide nonverbal children the chance to fulfill their dreams and subdue their anxiety all within an intuitive platform and inclusive community.

If you have access to an iPhone or Apple Tablet, you and your child can begin learning social communication behaviors instantly via the Speakprose app! Doesn’t that sound exciting?