Hear My Voice

Speak without Speaking

Imagine what it might be like to have all the words of language in your head but cannot ever have them spoken with your voice. Imagine the stress, anxiety, and irritation one must feel to not be able to express yourself like your other peers .

There is a resurgence of a form of aiding individuals to use their hands on devices to help with this. 25 years ago it was brought from Australia to America but was quickly put under wraps thinking the facilitator was doing the typing. Now with Ipads, Syracuse University has brought facilitated communication up to timely fashion and HEAL has connected with the trainers for our kids with autism here in Northeast Florida,
The HEAL Foundation - Healing Every Autistic Life, wants to give kids with autism the power of communication through Assistive Communication by putting iPads in ESE classrooms around Northeast Florida. Founder of The HEAL Foundation, Leslie Weed, noted the benefits of the technology when she bought an iPad for her daughter Lanier, who is nonverbal and profoundly affected by autism. "With the iPad, Lanier began to communicate with her family, siblings and teachers, through a technique called "Assistive Typing, Lanier began to speak to us through the iPad," Weed continued, "Her teachers were astonished at how much she knew and her level of intelligence,"

By raising funds through HEAL, the goal is to eventually put an iPad in every special needs classroom in six school districts in NE Florida. The initiative is called iHEAL - iPads Helping Enrich Autistic Lives. HEAL has partnered with Apple to launch the initiative. Together, are introducing new learning opportunities through Assistive Typing and the ability to communicate to those who have learning disabilities and are non-verbal.

Earlier this Year HEAL sponsored a seminar to introduce to families whose children are non-verbal, Assistive Typing. Since the seminar dozens of non-verbal school aged students have been communicating to their families for the first time in their lives.

Assistive typing (or Supported Typing) is a form of alternative and augmentative communication (AAC) used to enable people with disabilities and communication impairments to express themselves by pointing (e.g. at pictures, letters, or objects) and, more commonly, by typing (e.g. using a keyboard or iPad). The method involves a communication partner who may provide emotional encouragement, prompting techniques, communication supports (e.g., monitoring to make sure the person looks at the keyboard and checks for typographical errors). The support person may slow and stabilize the person's movement to prevent impulsive pointing or to prompt the person to initiate pointing. In absolutely no way should the facilitator ever move or lead the person- only providing resistance, organization and encouragement is the support persons role. The primary goal is always less dependence on the facilitator and eventually independence, if possible. Through tested and proven best practices and structured training standards, this method has helped over 30 individuals in the Jacksonville, FL area in the past year.


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