Recently I had the honour of beeing part of a project called iFalar.

It was developed by Joana Rombert and Tiago Proença dos Santos and they invited me to develop the 450 symbols/illustrations of this amazing and revolutionary application. 

 

The iFalar application is intended as a tool for children with severe communication difficulties and language with various neurodevelopmental disorders. Works like an augmentative communication system as well as a stimulation program for oral and written language.

With the application italk we hope children can communicate in a more functional way, during their day, conveying to others what they want and even how they feel.

Why use the augmentative communication system italk?

Children’s communication difficulties compromise their way of interacting with others and subsequently their social integration. Their life becomes uninteresting, with little action or power over the environment in which they are involved. They don’t have as many opportunities to explore, play or chat with others and therefore have difficulties in learning and acquiring new skills.Augmentative strategies and techniques are used to develop communication skills of the children who have difficulties in understanding and fail to produce oral language.

The augmentative communication aims to enhance the skills of these children, through the use of other forms of communication such as gestures, facial expressions, objects, symbols, characters sets, writing and use of electronic devices. The means of augmentative communication to choose should be in accordance with the abilities and skills of each child.

Thus, with the possibility of using an augmentative communication system, the child ceases to be a spectator to participate actively in the communication, thus improving their quality of life.

Main objectives of italk:

• Develop and enhance the communicative intent

• Enable communicative exchanges with others

• Expand and consolidate common use vocabulary;

• Develop communication skills such as: initiate, maintain and end an interaction more consistently; wait their turn; make requests and respond to requests in a more conventional way;

• Develop an understanding of simple commands

• Decrease bad behaviors as a result of a more effective and functional communicationInstructions:Before interacting with the child, the adult who will program the boards, must navigate the various menus to become familiar with them and understand the effect of each selection.

This application is divided into three main areas: settings, pictures and calendar.

The Settings menu is where you can set the image of the homepage and configure boards and calendar.

Configurations: Homepage

• In the Homepage we can find boards and calendars which were previously set by the adult and the child will have access. Only frames that are active will appear.Settings: Boards

• When setting boards, one should write the name of the board or add pre-defined boards. Then choose the background color of the board. For each board one can define between one to six cells associating a visual and auditory stimulus. You can select a custom image from the camera roll or library symbol, record a sound, word, phrase, or go to the pre-defined library of sounds. After programming each cell click save.

• Photos must be taken with the camera roll ipad.

• Boards that have been set can be active or not. One can build 4 tables and only activate one for working with the child. The child accesses the menu through the homepage.

• For the communicative and cognitive profile of each child, it is suggested that a picture of the child's preferences is used; gradually other images can be introduced later on.

• Personalizing with photographs and familiar voices is allowed an infinite number of times and at the same time makes it more personal and close to the interests of the child.

Settings: Calendar

• When configuring the Calendar, one must select the day of the week, choosing between one to three activities per morning, afternoon and evening. The choice of images and sounds follows the same methodology as the configuration boards.

• The calendar which was set will appear on the homepage, but only the day of the week of the actual timetable.

• At any time you can request print screen and keep the same organization on paper and be able to work cwithout the touch device.

• Using the same graphics of the tables, you can customize your child's daily activities, increasing its organization and reducing anxiety by breaking routines, by impregnating the symbols in a practical sense and real life experiences.

 

Contents:

450 symbols and basic vocabulary

25 semantic categories

30 environmental sounds

 

 

 

For more information please contact:  joanarombert@gmail.com

 

Copyright: Joana Rombert e Tiago Proença dos Santos, 2014

iFalar