SwiftKey launches assistive app for special needs kids

SwiftKey released a new app on Thursday designed to give users with learning disabilities (those living with autism, for example) a non-verbal means of communication with friends and family.


Early intervention with parent-led autism therapy reduced children’s symptom severity years later, a new clinical study suggests. Chicago Tribune. BSIP / Universal Images Group

Andrew Tarantola, Engadget December 10, 2015

The app, called Symbols, allows these users to construct sentences using a series of images rather than words. It’s driven by the same prediction engine that powers SwiftKey’s popular keyboard app. What’s more, Symbols also takes time and date into account when recommending specific symbols to further simplify routine communications. Plus, the app can be heavily customized to suit the user’s specific needs including the addition of custom images and categories, speech-to-text and audio playback.


“The communication opportunities that this app will provide are amazing,” said Charlotte Parkhouse, a Speech & Language Therapist at the UK’s Riverside School, which helped develop the program. “The flexible use of symbols will allow pupils with severe communication difficulties to express themselves in meaningful ways and the predictive symbol function means that it can be truly personalised. Brilliant!”

Symbols is currently available for Android devices at ▶︎ Google Play

Source engadget


Parent-mediated social communication therapy for young children with autism (PACT): long-term follow-up of a randomised controlled trial, Pickles A, Le Couteur A, Leadbitter K, Salomone E, Cole-Fletcher R, Tobin H, Gammer I, Lowry J, Vamvakas G, Byford S, Aldred C, Slonims V, McConachie H, Howlin P, Parr JR, Charman T, Green J. Lancet. 2016 Nov 19;388(10059):2501-2509. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(16)31229-6. Epub 2016 Oct 25. Full text, PDF

SwiftKey Symbols – the assistive app for good by SwiftKey. SwiftKey Symbols is a symbol-based assistive communication app for non-verbal individuals with special needs. Swiftkey. Youtube Oct 31, 2016

Also see
Parent-led autism therapy shows lasting benefits Chicago Tribune
Parent-led early intervention for autism is the first to show reduction in symptom severity through to ages 7-11 Science Daily

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