There are many different types of assistive technology for speech and language disorders on the market today. Given the diverse needs, technology can help in communicating with others, hearing what others are saying, and dealing with emergencies.
There are many other uses for this technology ranging from nonverbal autism to all the other communication disorders out there.
Available Assistive Technologies
These are the main types of assistive technology available:
Augmentative and Alternative Communication (UK):
These help people with speech and language disabilities with language skills and communication. Examples can range from visual aids such as sign language, communication boards to speech generating devices.
Hearing Aids (ALD):
These create an amplified sound that transmits the sound to the person and helps reduce distracting background noise. These range from hearing aids and personal amplifiers to internal cochlear implants that help improve the transmission of sound to individuals.
Devices that warn
These are devices that make loud noises and can be connected to the phone or can be part of an alarm system that can send a light signal or other alarm to the person to let them know something is happening.
Worn by the person, these systems use warning devices linked to infrared light to amplify sound. Using infrared systems cannot transmit through walls, making them a good choice when sharing private and sensitive information as it is a closed system that remains within the hearing aids or inner cochlear implant.
These help reduce unwanted background noise when some of the other systems may not be available, like in a car. Devices about the size of a cell phone help increase sound while reducing unwanted background noise.
hearing loop systems
These are also known as induction loop systems, where the transmitter converts sound through electromagnetic energy, which consists of four main parts.
Four parts of a hearing loop system include:
- A central source (microphone, television, etc.)
- transducers or amplifiers
- A series of thin wires laid around a room or under carpet or flooring
- Receiver (headphones, etc.)
These systems are capable of propagating amplified sound through radio signals. These can be used in larger areas like a presentation where the presenter uses special equipment like a microphone and the person has a receiver on a special channel to hear the speech.
Click here to register now!
Which device is the best?
This is a question that is best answered and depends on the person and why they are using the device. Because devices range from about the size of a cell phone that an individual can carry to specialized devices and software programs for people with speech difficulties and hearing loss, it depends on why the devices are being used.
This can seem like a pretty big decision, but it can be supported by a speech therapist, an occupational therapist, and/or your child’s doctor. These professionals can make recommendations and know what to consider when making this choice.
There are also supportive and alternative communication (AAC) evaluations that can assess a person’s skill level and needs. These ratings can be an important point to consider when making this decision.
Takeaways and key points
There are so many different devices that 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 speaking to a speech therapist, occupational therapist, or your child’s doctor for recommendations on devices and what they think might benefit the individual based on their needs.
There are AAC ratings that can be referred that could benefit your child and help in finding the device that will best support the individual. These assessments take into account what your child is doing, their ability, and many other aspects.
Ratings and recommendations are an important part that can help determine which device works best. Also, which device offers the most support and allows for success as the child’s lifestyle and skill level have been considered in the search for the best device.
It is always important to keep the lines of communication open between you and your child’s doctor and any other professionals that make up the team who will help in the development and support of the individual.
Autism Parenting Magazine does not endorse or promote any specific device, therapy, or service. These decisions are best made by the person’s parents and/or guardian and the child’s doctor.
It also helps to network 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 input comes from people you trust and who had to make the same decisions, it can definitely be beneficial for both the parent and/or guardian and the person who needs the tool.
It can also be helpful to train and work with, talk to, and recommend people who have the professional development and experience with the devices. Typically, there are countless opportunities for parents to obtain additional training in their field, which can be found at doctor’s or therapist’s offices, support groups, the internet, and social media. etc.
As always, verify the source of any training or recommendations you receive with your child’s doctor and therapist. Keeping this communication loop open is so important and can make decisions like choosing the right device for your child that much easier.
Hobbs, K. (2021). Assistive communication devices for children with autism. https://www.autismparentingmagazine.com/assistive-technology-autism/
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. (2019). Aids for people with hearing, voice, speech or language disorders. https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/assistive-devices-people-hearing-voice-speech-or-language-disorders
Support Autism Parenting Magazine
We hope you enjoyed this article. To help us create more helpful information like this, please consider purchasing a subscription to Autism Parenting Magazine.