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Verbal Victor Engages Autistic Children to Speak

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Diane Niemann

on 23 May 2014

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Transcript of Verbal Victor Engages Autistic Children to Speak

Children ages 3-5 on the autism spectrum or with a speech delay
Since antiquity, communication and dialogue have been seen as the crucial components in the creation of knowledge. Communication technologies, however, seem to be changing their nature.
Putting the
Puzzle Pieces Together
Using Verbal Victor
to Engage an
Autistic Child
in Conversation
Break skills down into small components, teach each component separately, use repetitive drills, and lots of practice. (Grandin)
If you have a three-year-old with no speech who is showing signs of autistic behavior, you need to start working with your child now because doing nothing
is the worst thing you can do. (Grandin)
There must be a direct association between the fixation and the new request. (Grandin, 2008)

Remember a basic principle in working with autistic individuals: an obsession or fixation holds huge motivation potential to the child. Video games are one such fixation shared by many individuals on the spectrum. He will work at learning new things or new activities to gain access to his video games. (Grandin, 2008)

As a society, we equate intelligence with language. Smart people are verbal people; verbal people who can express themselves better than most are assumed even more intelligent. People who can’t use language well are perceived as dumb. (Grandin)

Autistic people may have fewer input channels to open to receive information, or their connections may work like dial-up rather than high-speed Internet connections. They need much more time to switch gears between different tasks. (Grandin)
Common sense (and a long history of research on verbal learning) dictates that presenting the same material twice will result in students learning more than presenting it once. By separating the words and pictures, we can expose learners to each step twice. Visual and verbal modes of presentation are posited to be separate routes for delivering information to the learner. Separated presentations will result in more learning than integrated presentations – as measured by tests of transfer. Two separate exposures to the same material are better than one. (Mayer)
Present words and pictures near rather than far from each other. Relevant phrases may be placed within the illustrations themselves. On-screen words should be presented next to the part of the graphic as they describe. (Mayer)
Allen, M.W. (2007)
Designing Successful e-Learning: Forget What You Know About Instructional Design and Do Something Interesting.
San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer Publishing.

Belli, B. (2012).
The Autism Puzzle: Connecting the Dots Between Environmental Toxins and Rising Autism Rates.
New York, NY:
Seven Stories Press.

Charlop, M. H., & Haymes, L. K. (1994).
Speech and language acquisition and intervention: Behavioral approaches.
Belmont, CA:
Thomason Brooks/Cole Publishing Co.

Charlop, M. H., & Trasowech, J. E. (1991).
Increasing autistic children’s daily spontaneous speech.
Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis,
24, 747–761. doi:10.1901/jaba.1991.24-747.

Charlop, M. H., Greenberg, A.L., & Tomaino, M. (2013).
Adapting the Picture Exchange Communication System to Elicit Vocalizations in
Children with Autism.
Retrieved from http://download.springer.com/static/pdf/28/art%253A10.1007%252Fs10882-013-9344-2.pdf?auth66=1400183560_a8bf2cbdcf0e2a1ac7b37a4b94790454&ext=.pdf

Helpguide.org (2014, March).
Helping Children with Autism: Autism Treatment Strategies and Parenting Tips.
Retrieved from http:/

Hooda, S. (2012, September).
Verbal Victor: Inventor Of App To Talk With His Disabled Son Finds App Helping People All Over The World.
Retrieved from www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/9/21/verbal-victor-iphone-app_n_1898112.html

Gale Opposing Viewpoints [Producer]. (2012).
Concerns About a Link Between Vaccines and Autism Are Unfounded.
Retrieved from

Gilb, T. & Raskin, J. (2012).
A nearly one page summary of design rules.
Retrieved from http://www.mprove.de/script/02/raskin

Grandin, T. (2002, December).
Teaching Tips for Children and Adults with Autism.
Retrieved from http://www.iidc.indiana.edu/

Grandin, T. (2008),
The Way I See It: A Personal Look at Autism & Asperger’s.
Arlington, TX: Future Horizons, Inc.

Mayer, R.E. (2009).
Multi-Media Learning
(2nd ed.). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Melillo, R. (2012).
AUTISM: The Scientific Truth About Preventing, Diagnosing, and Treating Autism Spectrum Disorders – and What
Parents Can Do Now.
New York, NY: Penguin Group (USA), Inc.

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New Data from Claremont McKenna College Illuminate Findings in Autism.
Retrieved from http:/

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Researchers discover a potential cause of autism.
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Veletsianos, G. (2010)
Emerging Technologies in Distance Education
. Edmonton, AB: AU Press

An interface should be effective, habituating, reliable, efficient, and tested. Also be attractive. (Raskin)
Learning events must be memorable to influence behavior.
Context, challenge, activity, and feedback can each be designed to enhance memorability.
Contextual stories can make learning experiences both meaningful and memorable.
Spacing practice sessions over time sustains skills. (Allen)

Chelation therapy is a technique which involves the administration of chelating agents to remove heavy metals from the body.
The goal of PECS is to teach nonverbal persons to communicate by
exchanging pictures.

According to the news editors, the research concluded: “Findings support the potential use of PECS as a component of a treatment package leading to verbal speech.“ (NewsRx)
Analyzing Software
Sequencing Tasks Life Skills Lite Version
– Judy Lynn Software, 2013 produced this
1.0.2 version of showing an autistic child how to wash their hands as one activity
example. A video is shown and then three pictures demonstrating only three step-by-step instructions are given. Simple but the interface is not user friendly. The buttons and graphics are in need of a design.
Preschool Touch – Abby Basic Skills.
Starts with the letter P and three images are
presented, a yo-yo, princess or a drum. When the correct image is selected magic
stars sprinkle in the air and there’s a train at the bottom of the screen with a monkey
as the driver. If you make a mistake the monkey puts his hands over his eyes and if
you’re correct the monkey blows the train whistle. This app is mesmerizing and does not educate so much as entertain a child with autism.
Verbal Victor
Verbal Victor 2.0 is an assistive communication app for people and children with emerging communication needs and developmental delays. Following the design philosophy of the original version, Verbal Victor 2.0 allows teachers, parents and therapists to personalize the content of the app to user's needs using the built-in camera and microphone to create new buttons and sounds. Verbal Victor 2.0 allows the creation of categories and simplifies navigation between them.
Apps for the greater good
Some individuals do not understand line drawings, so it is recommended to work with real objects and photos first. (Mayer)
To understand the mind of a child or adult who is completely nonverbal, without oral, sign, or written language, you must leave the world of thinking in words. I think in pictures; it’s been that way forever for me. (Grandin)
“I believe that this epidemic of autism and other similar neurological disorders is a product of our environment, and that it is a powerful wake-up call to all of us, telling us that we need to care more for our planet and one another. We need to explore the world around us and reconnect, person to person. We need to reestablish a balance between good old-fashioned ideals, thoughts, and behaviors with the convenience of modern technology and information. In short, we need to get back in balance.” Dr. Melillo
The key to successfully engaging with a child with autism is to sense when to “push” to engage and when to back off. Let the child give you permission, wait. (Grandin)
We don’t usually stop and question whether oral motor skills, rather than intelligence skills, might be causing the language impairment.
Student begins to sing and talk through a computer device using cushion-type earphones.
Student progress is made through their own self-discovery of hearing their own voice through instant feedback (replay voice) repeated to the point that they begin to sing and talk out loud without feeling conscience. However, they’re being recorded, which is the fun mystery part for them to get that instant feedback and hear themselves.
The final goal is to get the student to sing and talk in their natural environment without a device.
Verbal Victor 2.0 is an assistive communication app for people and children with emerging communication needs and developmental delays.
Verbal Victor allows teachers, parents and therapists to personalize the content of the app to user's needs using the built-in camera and microphone to create new buttons and sounds.
Verbal Victor allows the creation of categories and simplifies navigation between them.
What an application needs to do to improve a child with autism’s speech?
Application must have:
• No more than 1-2 tasks
• Sequential
• Routine
• Continuous
• Simple
• Repetitive
• Rewards
• Group Activities
• Familiar Images
Dr. Melillo is not alone on the view that we are turning into a left-brain only society. Iain McGilchrist, MD, a psychiatrist and the author of The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World, describes brilliantly how our modern society is drifting more and more toward left-brain type of thinking, which he believes is creating an explosion of neurological disease and unhappy people. “Nowadays we live in a world that is paradoxical,” he writes. “We pursue happiness and it leads to resentment and it leads to unhappiness and it leads, in fact, to an explosion of mental illness….In our modern world we’ve developed something that looks an awful lot like the left hemisphere’s world. We prioritize the virtual over the real, the technical becomes important, and bureaucracy flourishes. The picture, however, is fragmented. There’s a lot of uniqueness. The how is subsumed in want and the need for control leads to a paranoia society that we need to govern and control everything.”
Dr. Melillo believes that our environment and society as a whole have been gradually causing more and more of a shift toward left-brain dominance. It is causing an epidemic of autism and other similar neurological disorders is a product of our environment, and that it is a powerful wake-up call to all of us, telling us that we need to care more for our planet and one another. (Melillo)
Brain Balance Centers tailor programs specifically to each child's unique needs. They integrate physical and cognitive exercises with dietary changes and are able to correct the underlying imbalance and achieve long-term changes in a child's behavior and performance.
There are several speculations as
to why we have an increase in autism:
1) Vaccinations - high levels of mercury
2) Environmental factors
3) Left-brain only society
In any case, there is plenty of evidence that kids with autism have difficulty getting rid of toxic metals. Early exposure to antibiotics, lower levels of glutathione (GSH), an important antioxidant molecule that helps to control oxidative stress and prevent cell damage by aiding the body in processing medications and cancer-causing compounds, and building DNA and proteins.
success story
Easy to navigate
Easy to upload an image or record a voice
Interface friendly
Customized to individual needs
Founder and creator:
Research on learning shows that meaningful learning depends on the learner’s cognitive activity during learning rather than on the learner’s behavioral activity during learning. (Mayer)
Below is the result of using PECS over a period of 108 sessions.
Students improved most in a familiar setting like their home and with someone they felt comfortable with like a parent or regular therapist.
Studies of autistic children have frequently shown very high levels of mercury, with no other source but vaccines found for the exposure. These levels are equal to those seen in adults during toxic industrial exposures.
Several autism clinics have found dramatic improvements in the behavior and social interactions in children from whom the mercury was
memorable (Mayer)
Mr. Pauca's son Victor has
Pitt Hopkins Syndrome, which inspired him to create the application.
"We were surprised that we were selling Verbal Victor all over the world. India, Asia, Africa, Kenya, all over Latin America," Pauca told Huffington Post. "To see people who didn't have access to conventional technology, and are now able to download it all over the world. Now we are even making them cheaper by using a mass market license."
Verbal Victor is now selling all over the world for an accessible price of US$6.99.
by Diane Niemann
for 830 Emerging Technologies
images purchased from www.graphics factory
Image purchased from www.graphics factory
Image purchased from www.graphics factory
Image purchased from www.graphics factory
Image purchased from www.graphics factory
Image purchased from www.graphics factory
Design by Diane Niemann
Augmentative and Alternative Communication
PECS is...
• Cumbersome, bulky
• Specific to needs
• Difficult to access exact card
• New items, need to create new graphic which requires printing, laminating (durability)

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