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What assistive technology is available for speech and language disorders and how does it work?

There are many different types of assistive technologies for speech and language disorders available on the market today. With a group of needs, technology can help in communicating with others, listening to what others are saying, and in emergencies.

There are many other uses for this technique ranging from nonverbal autism to all other communication disorders that exist.

Available assistive technology

These are the main types of assistive technologies available:

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC):

These help people with speech and language disabilities with language and communication skills. Examples can range from visual aids including sign language and communication boards to speech-generating devices.

Assistive listening devices (ALD):

This produces an amplified sound that transmits the sound to the individual and helps reduce distracting background noise. This may include hearing aids and personal amplifiers to internal cochlear implants that help improve sound transmission to the individual.

Devices that alert

These are devices that emit loud sounds and can connect to a phone or they can be part of an alarm system that can sound a light signal or other alert to an individual letting them know something is going on.

infrared systems

The individual wears these systems and uses connected alarms using infrared light to amplify the sounds. The use of infrared systems cannot travel through walls which makes it a good option when sharing private and sensitive information because it is a closed system that stays inside your internal hearing aids or cochlear implants.

Personal Speakers

These help reduce unwanted background noise when some other system is not available such as in a car. Cell phone-sized devices help increase volume while reducing unwanted background sounds.

Hearing loop systems

These are also known as induction loop systems where the transmitter converts sound through electromagnetic energy which consists of four main parts.

Four parts of the hearing loop system include:

  1. Central source (microphone, TV, etc.)
  2. Audio adapter or amplifier
  3. A group of thin wires that are placed around the room or under the carpet or the floor
  4. Receiver (headphone, etc.)

FM أنظمة systems

These systems are able to spread amplified sound through radio signals. They can be used in larger areas, such as a presentation, where the presenter uses specialized equipment, such as a microphone, and the individual has a receiver on a special channel to listen for speech.

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Which device is the best?

This question is best answered and depends on the individual and why they are using the device. Since devices range from the size of a cell phone an individual can carry to specialized hardware and software for those with speech difficulties and hearing loss, it depends on why the devices are being used.

This may seem like a rather big decision but it can be helped by speech and language pathologists, occupational therapists, and/or your child’s doctor. These professionals are able to make referrals and know what to consider when making that choice.

There are also augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) assessments that can assess an individual’s skill level and needs. These evaluations can be a key point to consider when making this decision.

Takeaway and key points

There are many different devices available that help support individuals with speech disorders and hearing loss. The needs and services provided by these technologies have a large scope and can be covered by insurance for the individual and/or school.

I recommend speaking to a speech-language pathologist, occupational therapist, or your child’s doctor for recommendations on devices and what they think can benefit the individual based on their needs.

There are AAC assessments that can be referred that can benefit your child and help find the device that will best support the individual. These assessments will take into account what your child is doing, their skill level, and many other aspects.

Reviews and referrals are an essential and important part that can help determine which device will work best. Also, which device will provide the most support and allow for success because the child’s lifestyle and skill level have been taken into account when searching for the best device.

Finally

It’s always important to keep communication open between you, your child’s doctor, and any other professionals who make up the team to help develop and support the individual.

Autism Parenting Magazine does not endorse or promote specific devices, treatments, or services. These decisions are best made by the parent and/or guardian and the child’s doctor.

It also helps to connect with parents and other professionals through support groups. These support groups can be in person or online, and social media is another great place to look.

There are a lot of options and opinions to consider. As long as the information and input comes from those people you trust and have had to make the same decisions, it can certainly be beneficial to both the parent and/or guardian and the individual who needs a support device.

It can also help with training, working with individuals who have professional development and experience with devices, and talking to and recommending them. There are usually countless opportunities for parents to receive additional training in their area and they can be found in doctor or therapist offices, in support groups, online and social media. etc.

As always, double-check the source of any training or recommendations you receive with your child’s doctor and therapists. Keeping the communication loop open is very important and can make decisions like choosing the right device for your child a lot easier.

references

Hobbs, K.; (2021). Assistive communication devices for children with autism. https://www.autismparentingmagazine.com/assistive-technology-autism/

National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. (2019). Assistive devices for people with hearing, voice, speech or language disorders. https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/assistive-devices-people-hearing-voice-speech-or-language-disorders

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