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New Indian Innovation-Avaz-A Voice Box Device for children with Speech Disabilities

Autistic or children with Cerebral Palsy, are often non-verbal or minimally verbal. For them, communicating even basic wants is an uphill task. After meeting these specially abled children, Ajit Narayanan-Founder of Avaz The Voice Box, said, “It’s not like they had nothing to say, but saying it was a challenge.” It took many a prototype, but Avaz, in the form, of a lightweight tablet, came into being in 2010. The Avaz App was launched in 2012.

Avaz

  • AVAZ provides a ‘voice’ to a non-verbal child, allowing him/her to communicate with friends, family and teachers.
  • With pictures and words on the tab, the kids had found a way to communicate, almost independently.
  • As soon as Avaz App was launched, US went on to become the company’s largest market.
  • Autistic kids can’t really grasp the meaning of words; to them it is just a random collection of sounds. Pictures, on the other hand, are easier to understand. While some kids might be able to type out words, because of motor disabilities, even that becomes a challenge. The AAC (augmentative and alternative communication) app, thus, gives children a way to communicate with a series of images, with the option to add more pictures and words.
  • With the help of an intervention tool, parents act like therapists. This had special significance for India as unlike the US, which has 150,000 speech therapists, India has just 1,800.
  • The app is available in several Indian languages.

FreeSpeech

  • FreeSpeech helps autistic kids communicate complicated sentences.
  • Ajit Narayanan was inspired by an ancient scholar called Panini, who had set the linguistic standards for Sanskrit, by summing up in about 4,000 rules the science of phonetics and grammar. He converted Sanskrit into a computer language capturing all the intricacies.
  • FreeSpeech allows users to create sentences in any context.
  • With FreeSpeech it is easier to pick up a language, be it Hindi, German, Spanish or French, because the engine follows the data structure of thought and not language.

Sources: Outlook Business

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