For children with speech problems, there is nothing more awkward than lugging around bulky educational devices.
The Apple iPad looks set to change that, with the introduction of a specialised software application aimed at people with speech difficulties.
Titled Proloquo2Go, the software is proving to be one of the fastest growing apps – and for good reason.
Uploaded onto an iPad, the software allows users to directly touch images and speak the words associated with them. Children are also led through stories to teach them basic speech patterns.
Many speech apps have been available on traditional computers and smaller touch screen devices, but parents and therapists say tablets offer children more options.
They’re small enough to be portable and easily tucked away, eliminating some of the embarrassment children might feel.
Speech therapists say there are a few changes they’d like to see to the iPad to make it even more friendly for children with disabilities, including the ability to have parents lock the apps so children can’t delete them, and adjustments to make it less likely for people with motor problems to open apps accidentally.
Why not be the first to engineer some of these ideas? Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers are planning to study what else can be done to improve tablets for people with autism or speech difficulties.
For example, the devices could use location data to deliver options for speaking that depend on a particular place such as a restaurant, shopping centre or school.
Or they could take advantage of technology that can simulate speech based on just a few syllables of a person’s voice.
Such apps have the potential to cash in on a very lucrative business, so why not be the first to come up with an iPad-inspired educational breakthrough?