Swiftkey Symbols

Swiftkey symbols

Have you seen this new app for those with Autism Spectrum Disorder or with learning disabilities?

I have just come across it and wanted to share my initial thoughts. A free app for people to use that helps them communicate more easily is a positively fabulous idea most especially as it seems to be linking into the users choices/expressions or ‘routine-based activity’ to bring forward images for them quickly. And as they explain this as an example for Autism is beneficial.

It’s good to have a whole range of words a pictures to choose from in order to better ‘speak’ in sentences as oppose to just one word or picture or indeed phrase as on the PECS boards, this I think is a brilliant idea! However, I’m not as convinced as the speech and language therapist linked to this project is.

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Firstly, the pictures and the words are so small you almost have to squint to see them and secondly, to me more importantly, are these symbols really what the child/adult means / wants to say or needs. On many occasions I have been witness to for example a child  communicating through these apps and have found myself feeling that there is a whole big universe of language underneath this ‘symbol language’ that perhaps is more vital.

The non-verbal, the kinaesthetic the affective resonance that comes through attunement that one needs to understand and appreciate to truly communicate with the child/adult with learning disabilities and or autism. On some level I feel these apps ‘take something away’ from the professional going that extra mile into that universe of deeper sensing and relationship.

"Some young children with ASD may however have a good command of the spoken word, especially in relation to a topic that interests them. Although the language may appear sophisticated, on closer examination, there will often be a lack of clear understanding. They may take things literally and conversations may be very one sided." 

Autism Cymru

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