Tippy Talk: An app for those living with verbal disability

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We have various mobile apps that make our lives easier. There are apps to keep us in touch with our loved ones. We also have apps that help us work more effectively. However, the most significant breakthrough in mobile app development has to be one that helps us communicate with people who cannot express themselves normally. There is one such app; it is called Tippy Talk, and it helps people with verbal disability to communicate with others.

tippy talk - verbal disability

Tippy Talk was created by Rob Laffan, a student at the limerick Institute of Technology in Ireland. His daughter, Sadie, is autistic; as a result, she is unable to communicate verbally. This meant that she was unable to talk to her parents; it got to the point that her parents had to get her a Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) board. This would help her to point out what she needed to her parents.

However, the PECS board couldn’t do much for Sadie. For one thing, she could only communicate with someone that was physically present. Besides, the picture board does not have that much options. You can imagine how frustrating this would have been for the little girl. Therefore, Rob, her dad, created Tippy Talk.

tippy talk
Tippy Talk interface

The app works somewhat like a cross between the PECS board and a text messaging app. The parent or caregiver would take pictures of objects, people and places that are familiar to the person living with the verbal disability. Then they would apply the appropriate text and add them to the app’s database. the user selects the picture that best describes what he/she wants. The app then sends a text message to the preferred parent or caregiver. This method would work even if the parent were not present with their child. Thus, Rob says he received texts from his daughter telling him how she feels.

This is not quite like verbal communication, but it comes close enough. This is a prime example of how mobile app technology has helped improve our lives. One can see how beneficial this particular app is in taking care of people with verbal disabilities.

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