There are many different types of speech and language barrier assistive technologies on the market today. Depending on the scope of the need, the technology can help communicate with others, listen to others, and emergencies.
There are many other uses for this technology, from non-verbal autism to all other communication disorders.
Available assistive technologies
These are the main types of assistive technology available:
Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC):
These can help people with speech and language impairments improve their language skills and communication skills. Examples range from visual aids including sign language, communication boards, to speech-generating devices.
Hearing aids (ALDs):
These produce amplified sound that delivers the sound to the individual and helps reduce distracting background noise. This will include hearing aids and personal amplifiers to help improve sound transmission to the individual.
device that emits an alarm
These devices can make loud sounds, can be connected to phones, or be part of an alarm system that can send light signals or other alerts to individuals to let them know what’s going on.
These systems are worn by individuals and use an alarm device connected via infrared light to amplify the sound. The use of an infrared system cannot transmit through walls, so it is a good option when sharing private and sensitive information, as it is a closed system, located inside a hearing aid or built-in cochlear implant.
These help reduce unwanted background noise when some other systems might not be available like in a car. Phone-sized devices help boost sound while reducing unwanted background sounds.
hearing loop system
These are also known as inductive loop systems where the transmitter converts sound through electromagnetic energy with four main parts.
The four parts of the hearing loop system include:
- Central source (mic, TV, etc.)
- sound converter or amplifier
- a series of thin lines placed around a room or under a rug or floor
- Receiver (headphones, etc.)
These systems are capable of transmitting amplified sound through radio signals. These can be used for larger areas, such as presentations, where the presenter uses specialized equipment, such as a microphone, and the individual has a receiver on a special channel to listen to the speech.
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Which device is the best?
This question is best answered and depends on the individual and why they use the device. As these devices range in size from the size of a cell phone that an individual can carry to specialized devices and software programs for people with speech difficulties and hearing loss, it depends on the reason for using them.
This may seem like a big decision, but a speech-language pathologist, occupational therapist, and/or your child’s doctor can help. These professionals are able to make referrals and know what to consider when making a choice.
There are also Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) assessments that assess an individual’s skill level and needs. These assessments can be key points to consider when making this decision.
Points and Points
There are many different devices that can help support people with speech impairment and hearing loss. These technologies provide a wide range of needs and services that can be covered by an individual’s insurance and/or school.
I would recommend talking to a speech-language pathologist, occupational therapist, or your child’s doctor for advice on equipment and what they think could benefit the individual based on their needs.
There are AAC assessments you can refer to that can benefit your child and help find the device that will best support the individual. These assessments will take into account your child’s behaviour, their skill level and many other aspects.
Evaluation and recommendation are a critical and important part that can help determine which device works best. Also, what equipment will provide the most support and success, as the child’s lifestyle and skill level are considered when looking for the best equipment.
It is always important to maintain communication between you and your child’s doctor and any other professionals who form a team to help with personal development and support.
Autism Parenting Magazine does not endorse or promote certain devices, therapies or services. These decisions are best made by the individual’s parents and/or guardians and the child’s doctor.
It also helps connect with other parents and professionals through support groups. These support groups can be in person or online, and social media is another great place to follow.
There are many options and opinions to consider. As long as the information and input comes from someone you trust and have to make the same decisions, it’s certainly beneficial to parents and/or guardians as well as individuals who need supportive devices.
It also helps with training and working with, talking to and recommending individuals with professional development and equipment experience. Parents often have countless opportunities for additional training in their area, which can be found in a doctor’s or therapist’s office, support groups, online and on social media.and many more
As always, double-check with your child’s doctor and therapist the source of any training or advice you receive. Keeping the communication loop open is important to make decisions like choosing the right device for your child easier.
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, speech, speech or language impairments. https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/assistive-devices-people-hearing-voice-speech-or-language-disorders
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