Children suffering from Autism spectrum disorders, with varying levels of function are students at Sulam’s communications kindergartens. It is almost impossible for these children to communicate with the world around them. They have tremendous difficulties in expressing their wants and needs. They cannot always understand what is wanted or expected of them. Their social interaction with other children is fraught with problems. In short, they are outcasts, locked in their speechless world.
Is it any wonder that they feel frustrated and tense and that every day brings its own version of being in prison?
There are, at present, a number of children who are utilizing an alternative communication method, limited though it is. The children look at photos of objects, and can point to them and exchange them as they wish.
There is another way, however, which has proved to show remarkable results; communication computers and the special GRID program for them. With these computers, the child chooses a photo of an apple, for example. The picture appears on the screen and at them same time, the child hears the computer “say” APPLE. The child learns to associate the apple, with the correct way to say it. As the child’s speech develops, the computer slowly raises the level of speech, so that the child progresses at a steady pace.
Sulam was able to obtain a communication computer on a short trial basis. The results were amazing. Children were eager to use the computer to express themselves. They were happier, less frustrated. In the short time they worked with the computer, the children’s language skills increased amazingly.
There is no doubt that these computers are an invaluable tool in helping these children progress in speech and in maximizing their potential to the fullest. Already in the short time that these children used the computers, Sulam’s therapists were able to see an appreciable difference in their function level. It is of vital and critical importance that this indispensable tool be made available to those who most need it and deserve it.
In order to properly implement the program, Sulam needs to purchase five communication computers. The total cost for each computer and GRID program is NIS 18,330 (approximately USD 5,000).
Director of Social Workers
Sulam Communications Kindergartens
Coordinator, DIR Therapy