There are many types of assistive technologies for speech and language disorders available on the market today. With the range of needs, technology can help communicate with others, hear what others are saying and emergencies.
There are many other uses for this technology ranging from non-verbal autism to every other communication disorder out there.
Assistive technology available
Here are the main types of assistive technology available:
Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC):
These help people with speech and language disabilities develop their language skills and communicate. Examples can range from visual aids that include sign language, communication boards, to speech-generating devices.
Assistive listening devices (ALD):
These create an amplified sound that will transmit the sound to the individual and help reduce distracting background noise. This would include hearing aids and personal amplifiers to internal cochlear implants that help improve the transmission of sound to the individual.
Devices that alert
These are devices that emit loud sounds and can connect to the phone or can be part of an alarm system that can produce a beacon or other alert to the individual to let them know something is going on.
These systems are worn by the individual and use connected alerting devices using infrared light to amplify sounds. Using infrared systems cannot transmit through walls, making them a good choice when private and sensitive information is shared, as it is a closed system that stays inside the hearing aids or internal cochlear implant.
These help reduce unwanted background noise when some of the other systems may be unavailable, such as in a car. Cell phone-sized devices help boost sound while reducing unwanted background noise.
Hearing loop systems
These are also known as induction loop systems where the transmitter converts sound into electromagnetic energy which has four main parts.
The four parts of a hearing loop system include:
- A central source (microphone, television, etc.)
- Sound converter or amplifier
- A network of fine wires that are placed around a room or under the carpet or floor
- Receiver (headset, etc.)
These systems are capable of broadcasting amplified sound through radio signals. These can be used in larger areas, such as a presentation, where the presenter uses specialized devices, 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 it depends on the individual and what they are using the device for. Since the devices range from roughly the size of a cell phone that the individual can carry, to specialized devices and software for people with speech difficulties and hearing loss, it depends on the reason. for which the devices are used.
This may seem like a pretty big decision, but can be helped by speech therapists, an occupational therapist, and/or your child’s doctor. These professionals are able to make references and know what must be taken into account when making this choice.
There are also augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) assessments that can assess an individual’s skill level and needs. These ratings can be a key point to consider when making this decision.
Takeaways and key points
There are many different devices that help support people with speech disorders and hearing loss. The needs and services that these technologies provide have a wide range and can be covered by an individual’s insurance and/or school.
I would recommend talking to a speech therapist, occupational therapist, or your child’s doctor for recommendations for devices and what they think might benefit the individual based on their needs.
There are AAC assessments that can be referred that could benefit your child and help find the device that would best support the individual. These assessments will take into account what your child is doing, their skill level and many other aspects.
Reviews and benchmarks are a key and important part that can help determine which device will perform best. Also, which brace will provide the most support and enable success, as the child’s lifestyle and skill level were taken into consideration when finding the best brace.
It is always important to maintain open communication between you and your child’s doctor and any other professionals who are part of the team helping with the development and support of the individual.
Autism Parenting Magazine does not endorse or promote certain devices, therapies or services. These decisions are best made by the person’s parent and/or guardian and the child’s doctor.
It also helps to connect with other parents and professionals through support groups. These support groups can be in person or online, social media is another great place to look.
There are so many options and opinions to consider. As long as the information and feedback comes from people you trust and who have had to make the same decisions, it can certainly benefit both the parent and/or guardian and the person who needs the device. support.
It can also be helpful to have training and work with people who have had the professional development and experience with the devices and talk to them and recommend them. There are usually a myriad of opportunities for parents to receive additional training in their area and can be found in doctors’ or therapists’ offices, in support groups, online and on social media. etc
As always, verify the source of any training or referrals you receive with your child’s doctor and therapists. Keeping this communication loop open is so important and can make decisions like which device is right for your child much easier.
Hobbs, K. (2021). Assistive communication devices for children with autism. https://www.autismparentingmagazine.com/assistive-technology-autism/
National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. (2019). Assistive devices for people with hearing, voice, speech or language impairments. https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/assistive-devices-people-hearing-voice-speech-or-language-disorders
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