A Picture Based, Voice Output Text-Messaging System for Individuals with Significant Disabilities.

Text messaging is a common communication tool used by young adults, and individuals with more significant disabilities may have difficulties accessing this mode of communication. The EZPic2Txt app utilizes text-to-speech software, pictures/picture symbols, and touch screen technologies to make electronic communication accessible. The development of the app shall be discussed as well as the results of field-testing the app and implications for families and practitioners.

Objectives:

1. A summary of the existing research that has been conducted with regard to modified instant and text messaging technologies for individuals with moderate to severe intellectual and developmental disabilities shall be presented. Participants will be able to synthesize the existing research in this field and have an understanding of the short-comes of the existing research, thus understanding the rational for the development of this specific app and the need that it seeks to fulfill.

2. Participants will learn how to utilize these technologies, specifically how to program the app, how to access all of the different features (voice output, picture/picture symbol based messaging, confirmation of completed messages, touch screen accessibility features, etc).

3. Specific information/research on the link between increased instances of electronic expressive communication and levels of personal safety and levels of independence for this population will also be presented. Participants will be able to discuss the link and develop strategies to further foster independence for this population.

David Lojkovic and Michael Behrmann