Graciela is an extremely bright, articulate and sensitive 12 year old girl with autism. Because she has very little control of her body she presents as an extremely dysfunctional individual. But don’t underestimate this kiddo. She gets it all and her goal is to attend MIT and change the world for autistics. I believe she is going to change the world!
Until her mother discovered a technique called RPM; Graciela was locked in her body unable to communicate to the world how bright she is. RPM is a communication method which allows her to spell out what she wants to say by pointing to letters on an alphabet board. It has opened up her life but it’s a slow process and she’s dependent on a few individuals who know how to use the system with her. Graciela has been asking her mother to help her find her own "voice" and be able to use a tablet to independently communicate when her mom can’t help. She wants desperately to chat with friends and have a voice that speaks aloud for her. She loves her I-Pad so she wanted something she could do on her tablet.
Graciela and her mom came to me to look at apps that might work for her. Knowing she has limited motor planning skill as well as visual issues. She needed to be able to change font size and color as well as background colors of each part of the app. Graciela is a great speller but does not have the fine motor control to touch type. So we knew word prediction would increase her speed if she could choose from a list of words and not have to type each letter. Also because she has above average intelligence she needs access to a high level vocabulary set.
We tried several different text prediction apps and Predictable® was by far her favorite. The visual display is simple enough that she can see the text with some simple size and color changes. She liked the voices available and the ability to add her own unique phrases she frequently uses.
When asked what she thinks about Predictable® this is what she typed:
For many years I have been desperately trying to communicate with my mouth but have been unsuccessful. I kind of wanted to stop trying to talk and that was a horrible thing to put myself through. I learned to do rpm. Have you heard of it? Many people have not and should. It changed my life. The trouble with rpm is that it is time consuming. I am always looking for something that will make me communicate faster. This app has been awesome! Thank you for creating it. I want to really find a way to use it independently.
Author of case study:
Ann T. Leverette, M.Ed Assistive Technology Specialist