Technological development opens up for new possibilities for creating aids for people with disabilities. A new project at Linnaeus University will develop an app that will make it easier for children with speech impairment to communicate independently.

Thousands of children in Sweden partly or wholly lack a spoken language. This is the case for, for instance, many children with autism or Down syndrome.

Many of these children use various aids to communicate. However, despite the technological development, many children lack good digital tools for independent communication. Research also shows that it is important for children to use tools together with parents, teachers, assistants, and other people close to the children, so-called modelling.

“Mobile technology has great potential. Therefore, we will develop an app that will motivate both children and adults close to the children to use mobile technology more frequently and to work with modelling. Our goal is to enable more children to take part in society”, says Mattias Davidsson, senior lecturer in media technology and project manager.

The app has been given the name TriMo, which stands for Mobile motivating modelling. It is an app for Augmentative and alternative communication, AAC, a term meaning that insufficient speech or language is supplemented with different types of aids or other ways of communicating.

The project TriMo AAC is funded with SEK 2 million by Vinnova and runs until July 2020. Linnaeus University leads the project and is developing the app together with the company IUS innovation. Dart Centre at Sahlgrenska University Hospital contributes with expertise within disabilities, Luleå University of Technology with expertise within norm-creative innovation, and Kristianstad municipality with knowledge about and feedback from special schools.

“One of the project’s strengths is that four out of five contact persons have experience of the needs. I have a son who has Angelman syndrome, which, among other things, means that he entirely lacks a spoken language. We have in-depth knowledge about what the needs are and good ideas on how to meet these needs and improve existing solutions”, says Mattias Davidsson.

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