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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

App called Proloquo2Go whets appetite of non-verbal child

App called Proloquo2Go whets appetite of non-verbal child

MONTREAL — Banana, orange or pudding? It's snack time and 6-year-old Connor has a choice to make.

But he is autistic and doesn't communicate verbally, so understanding his daily wants and needs has often been a struggle for his parents, Enzo and Carmie (who don't want to identify their son by using family names).

For about six months, the family tried a Picture Exchange Communication System, which involved placing laminated images on a Velcro strip to express requests or responses. But Carmie said its success depended on them to always have the right images on hand. "I had all these little pictures in a big box . and I'd have to change them . I got so fed up with it." Connor's own frustration at not being understood often led to tantrums.

"When I didn't know what he wanted, I felt helpless," Carmie says. "That was the hardest part."

They're now trying a communication tool that's considerably more user friendly. The family bought an iPad and an app called Proloquo2Go a few months ago, and it's helping them connect with Connor. They learned how to use the app from Andrea Prupas, whose company, Inov8 Educational Consulting, trains families of special-needs children, schools and other organizations in assistive technology tools.

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