College News


New Research: Autism and the iPod App
Since hitting the iTunes store in April 2009, one iPod touch application has been quickly catching on as a way to help people who have difficulty speaking – especially children with autism. But Proloquo2Go, as it’s called, has little if any research data to prove how well it works with that population.
This spring, a pair of researchers from the MSU College of Education began testing the app, a much cooler and more portable alternative to traditional voice output communication aides (VOCAs), with local elementary-aged children who have autism spectrum disorders (ASD). They have 10 iPod touches loaded with the $190 app, which will be pre-set with icons of the students favorite objects. The device “speaks” words, phrases or sentences for the user based on how they select various available icons.
Hopefully, assistant professor of special education Summer Ferreri says, the study will give up to 10 non-verbal students a new means to communicate and determine whether Proloquo2Go can effectively serve their needs. She and doctoral student Sean Strasberger are also interested in how using the app can help reduce problem behaviors and possibly even lead to first-time verbalization.
“It’s a big issue of awareness, and funding, for many parents,” Strasberger said. “I’m sure there are thousands of families who could benefit from new forms of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) like Proloquo2Go and have no idea.”
Find out more about Proloquo2Go at: