iConverse: an app that can improve lives

April 19th, 2011

Recently, the Japan earthquake and tsunami revealed how helpful iPhone apps can be in a time of crisis. People were able to locate emergency services, shelter and reconnect with missing loved ones. Organizations were able to disseminate information to the masses without relying on traditional models of communication. In short, apps may have been responsible for saving many lives during the crisis.

So how can apps make a difference on a daily basis?

One app developed and designed by Xcellent Creations, Inc. aims to improve the everyday interactions for young children with communicative disabilities and toddlers who have yet to develop precise language skills. iConverse is specifically designed to make lives better in that it enables communication that was laborious or not possible before.

An educational, Augmentative Alternative Communication (AAC) tool, iConverse is available as an app on the iPhone or the iPod Touch. Having such an app available on pocket-sized devices means users can better control the discretion of their interactions. No longer are bulky and cumbersome devices necessary for school-aged children affected with communicative disabilities to express their needs.

By simply touching one of the six icons assigned to basic needs, the app produces a visual and auditory cue to a teacher, parent or caregiver that expresses the user’s need.

iConverse is also customizable. Pictures and text can be changed and assigned as icons to better suit the individual user. If a computerized voice is too impersonal or there is need for another language, voice recordings can be associated with icon buttons.  With that sort of customization,  a child can hear, “I’d like a drink” in their mother’s voice.  What’s more is that iConverse has truly made a lasting positive impact on the lives of the users.

One user, Aldo, wrote:

“Thank you for making such a nice app for my autistic child! Let me introduce myself, I live in the Netherlands with my eight year old son who can not talk, but understand the meaning of [pictures]. For a while i was looking for an app where i could upload [pictures] and images and add voice in my own language. And I finally I found your app.”

Another user, Eric, remarked:

“Excellent work. I’m a psychologist specializing with ASD kids, and have a lot of interest in your software. I purchased it and began using it with students today.”

Yet another user, Dirk, said:

“Thank you so much for your great application.  My 14 year old autistic son has been mute from birth.  His school district is way behind on technology and won’t pay for any new devices.  The one he used was about 8 pounds and about the size of a shoe box.   As parents we could tell he was embarrassed to carry it around.  Even with mainstreaming, people still stare.  You have changed my son’s life.  I will be looking forward to your updates.  I hope you are able to add more phrases to your wonderful and life changing program.”

With a goal of making communication easier for special needs individuals, iConverse excels. The latest version of the iPhone and iPod Touch iConverse app is currently available in the Apple App Store.

Also anticipated in 2011 are web based versions of iConverse along with a web community and an Android iConverse app.

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