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New “Verbal Victor” App Helps Disabled Communicate – iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch

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Professor Paul Pauca at Wake Forest University and his students have developed an app for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch that will make a difference for people with communication disabilities. His son Victor has a rare disease called Pitt Hopkins Syndrome which slows down his speech development, and this fueled Paul’s desire to make an app for people with communication problems. Paul has named the app the VerbalVictor after his son of course.

The app helps Victor communicate by simply touching the corresponding button which than triggers the device to play recordings that help vocalize what he wants to communicate. Some individuals feel more comfortable using a familiar voice, therefore parents, friends, and caregivers can record phrases suitable for the user.

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VerbalVictor will be one of many communication aids that distributors will be working on. You can view and download the VerbalVictor app on the Apple website that is usable with the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad here:  http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/verbal-victor/id411749775?mt=8

We should start seeing more  products similar to the device, resulting in improving the quality of life for everyone that benefits from such phone and computer applications. Technology will only keep growing and positively affecting people with disabilities.

Iphone Apps for People with Disabilities

The iPhone has many apps (applications) for people with disabilities. With so many applications available, sometimes it can be difficult to wade through the possibilities to find something truly helpful. We’ve put together a list of the best iPhone applications for people who are disabled including some health applications for general use.

I. Proloquo2Go A downloadable application that is a full featured communication solution for those who have difficulty speaking. It has a default vocabulary of over 7000 items, and uses up to date icons and symbols. Traditional communication devices cost thousands of dollars. Users are finding that this iPhone app is fantastic. There is a debate going on between users about the fact that Medicaid and Medicare will not cover the Proloque2Go, but will cover the larger and costlier devices. Many believe that the guidelines need to be rewritten to include new technology.

2. ISpectrum Color Blind Assistant by Wishbone Apps – An application for the colorblind, ISpectrum names any color. It has over 500 colors in its library. iSpectrum uses your camera to zoom on the items you need.

3. Sign Smith ASL by Vcom3D – In three different versions, Lite (includes 20 signs and is great for beginners), Essential (100 signs) and Ultimate which includes 1,200 signs. They are all in 3D, and are easy to understand so that you or a loved one or friend can learn sign language.

4 Sign 4 Me – American Sign Language beginners can start learning right away on their iPhones. A 3D animated character demonstrates the signs, with 11,500 words in the dictionary. All you have to do is type the word, sentence, or phrase to see it signed.

5. Learn Braille by Paul Ziegler – This application helps anyone with regular sight learn and master Braille. The program helps you learn Braille with standard letters and symbols as well as Braille in Japanese, Hebrew, Korean and Chinese.

6. VoiceOver screen reader is now a standard feature on iPhone 3GS. It’s the world’s first gesture-based screen reader. To hear a description of something, you touch the screen and can then use a multitude of gestures like a drag, flick or double tap to control the Voice Over.

7. TecEar Music Link T-coil inductive ear loop. Not an iPhone app, but certainly something that can be used with the iPhone to make using all of the applications easier. This ear loop creates clear audio without adding any noises or feedback.

8. SoundAMP allows you to instantly improve your hearing. SoundAMP is an assistive software application that turns the iPhone into an interactive hearing device. Using the microphone or a headset with a microphone, it amplifies nearby sound so it is easier to hear.

Health Apps for the iPhone

While there are many assistive technology type iPhone applications for people with disabilities, the iPhone is also unique in that you can use it to manage your overall or general health. There are applications to track your sleeping schedule, organize your diabetes medications and glucose levels, help with fertility if you are trying to get pregnant, and record your current medications, doctors names, and emergency contacts in case you are unable to speak for yourself. These iPhone applications can be a great addition to your every day health routine.

1. Glucose Buddy – Diabetes Helper by OneAppOneCause – This application is a smart, easy and effective way to track your blood glucose, food, exercise and medicine. A convenient way to record all of your healthy steps in one place, and help manage your medical care.

2. Pillboxer by Nixwire – Track all your medications, vitamins and supplements in one place. This helpful application includes a full database of 11,000 FDA approved medications, visual pill box icons that let you track the medications taken during the week, a web reference to look up detailed information about your medication, notification if you’ve missed any scheduled times and much more.
The benefits of this type of technology go much further than convenience for an iPhone app to remind you to take your medication. Having assistive technology encourages people to accomplish these things on their own, which increases motivation and self-esteem.
While there are already many iPhone applications to make life easier for people with disabilities, new software is always being developed. The hope is that in the future, both insurance companies and the government will realize the amazing potential of this new technology, and leverage it to help those with disabilities lead even more active lives.