For users with neurologically-based impediments to speech and language formulation—and their loved ones…
On some level, we all crave connection. We want connection with our children, our family, and our friends. We don’t merely want to share our basic needs; we want to share our ideas, experiences, and circumstances. We want to share more than our surface feelings; we want to share from where they come. We want the security of knowing we can be understood.
Augmentative and Alternative Communication (see “about AAC”) tools provide some help in that direction. The NIH’s National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) provides an overview of many assistive devices available.
On the “easy” side of the spectrum are simplistic icon-driven applications with little innovation in the past 25 years. On the “hard” side are expensive, high-tech systems with a steep learning curve.
Users on each end of the spectrum have solutions—but what about those of us in the middle?
A working solution
Bridges App© is a mobile application by ACT that empowers users to formulate unique, complete sentences that express specific, complex thoughts. Using fast, progressive phrase-building with an easy-to-master user interface, Bridges App© permits users to access the full possibilities of language formulation.
Who can use it? Bridges App© is effective for users from adolescence to adulthood suffering from neurologically-based impediments to speech and language formulation. Users are intellectually mature, rational, and expressive—for example an adolescent stutterer, a retired factory worker struggling with Alzheimer’s, or a veteran with severe brain trauma.
Bridges App© users are aware of feelings and concerns, but they are unable to express them. The app mitigates mental or physiological obstacles to speech formulation and increases the users’s range of expression and connection with others. Essentially, Bridges App© strips away the stress of formulating a phrase or a sentence. The user is guided to a coherent sentence that expresses emotion in a mature, grammatically correct manner.
What can it “say”? This question arises because of the limitations of most AAC products. These products feature an array of icons that relate to specific concepts, and users must use a deductive process to select a concept that most closely matches their need (usually limited to words and phrases anticipated by the app designers).
No limits. Bridges App© expresses what the user needs to communicate. The app uses a web-based semantic cloud of literally thousands of action and emotion concepts. The app guides users to specific, situational statements and requests using a uniquely inductive process.
As users acclimate to the process, the app anticipates higher-level suggestions based on the user’s history. Furthermore, it prompts the user to create not only a statement or request, but also to explore motivation. This means Bridges App© can be used as an educational and therapeutic as well as a communicative tool.
The end result is a grammatically correct compound sentence that expresses not only an emotion, but a recipient of that emotion, as well as the underlying reason behind that emotion. Bridges App© not only express practical needs, but also deeper psychological emotions.
ACT is interested in how you might use Bridges App©. Please contact us with your questions.