The 14th September 2016 marks another first for the Association for Autism (AfA), with the official release of ‘Lao Autism Talks’, a Lao language mobile application, or app, which will assist people with limited speech abilities to communicate using a picture-based system.
The launch was held at the Vientiane Autism Center and attended by representatives from the Association for Autism (AfA), the Lao IT Dev Company, Scope Global, the Embassy of Australia, the U.S. Agency of International Development (USAID), World Education Laos, and other disabled people’s organizations in Laos.
The Lao IT Dev Company built the application designed for tablets and smart phones. Users are able to customise the di
ctionary by selecting from the 1,500-word library organised into 12 categories for easy use. For young children with autism, this app offers the opportunity to give voice to their ideas, needs and wants as their vocabulary grows from single words to using sentences. While the initial focus was assisting children with autism to communicate, the app can be utilised by a wider range people with disabilities; those who are hearing impaired, blind, suffering from an acquired brain injury after road accidents or recovering from a stroke.
“It is great to see the collaboration between Lao organizations, specifically a non-profit association and local company, to create innovative solutions for people with disabilities”, said Alex Zvinakis, Acting Laos Country Office Director.
The USAID-funded World Education Laos TEAM project supports AfA in its mission to represent the interests of persons with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in Lao PDR by promoting their rights, improving their access to appropriate services, and providing them and their families with education, therapy, and training to better equip them to live full and productive lives.
Families who have children diagnosed with autism and on a low income can contact AfA to apply to borrow tablets donated by TRUE Corp, but the app can be downloaded for free by anyone in Laos who has an appropriate mobile device (android device). The app will be available for free download through the Google Play Store on Friday, September 16, 2016. The optimal screen size for the app is seven inches.
To read more about the USAID-funded World Education Laos TEAM project, please visit: http://laos.worlded.org/projects/team/