Technology Supports for Communication and Independence

Technology platforms such as Google Home and Amazon Echo are giving speech pathologists a means of facilitating independence, natural reinforcement, and motivation for individuals with communication challenges. These platforms provide support, organization, and information. Given a single phrase (E.g. “Alexa start my day”), the platform can transmit everything from the day’s schedule, to weather reports and news headlines to keep people informed and organized in their daily lives.
For individuals with special needs, accessing this amount of information in a traditional sense would require a significant amount of time and effort. People with communication challenges may live more socially restricted lives, causing a sense of disconnect in the world around them.

With smart-assistant technology, users can interact and keep informed. Smart-assistant technology allows for functionality. Children and adults with limited mobility depend on these systems for turning on lights, controlling their home temperature, and maintaining security systems, tasks which would otherwise be physically exerting and daunting. The video components allow the potential for service providers to gain remote access to their clients, limiting the amount of time and physical effort required for consultation. Those with limited verbal skills can be supported by smart-assistant technology. Emergency notifications (e.g. alarms/alerts) can be set up as a one-hit access for contacting emergency personnel or care providers. In addition, the platforms are said to give a number of practice opportunities for speaking for those who are gaining experience in communicating their needs.

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