Verbally - Free iPad App for Speech Disability
Synopsis and Key Points:
Verbally is a free communication aid for people with speech disabilities caused by apraxia ALS stroke traumatic brain injury Parkinsons cerebral palsy autism spectrum disorder or muscular dystrophy.
Main DigestFree iPad app for those with speech disabilities downloaded over 28,000 times and averages 4.5 stars from nearly 100 reviewers.
Unitary, creator of Verbally, (www.verballyapp.com) an assisted-speech app for the iPad, today announced that Businessweek.com readers have recognized the company as one of America's top three Most Promising Social Entrepreneurs 2011. The voting took place as part of a Bloomberg BusinessWeek article featuring 25 for-profit companies that are fixing social ills, chosen according to their overall impact, innovation, and business success.
Verbally is a free augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) aid for people with speech disabilities caused by such things as apraxia, ALS, stroke, traumatic brain injury, Parkinson's, cerebral palsy, autism spectrum disorder, or muscular dystrophy. Since it was launched in March, Verbally has been downloaded more than 28,000 times and is downloaded an average of 210 times per day.
Reviews of Verbally from around the world have been exceedingly positive, with the app having earned an average rating of 4.5 stars from nearly 100 reviewers. Verbally has achieved an average popularity ranking of 21st among nearly 2,000 apps in the iPad medical category since it was launched.
"Verbally is a dream for Speech/Language Pathologists. I use it in so many different ways with different ages and different disabilities. Having instant access to an advanced and easy-to-learn speech aid is a breakthrough for so many with speech disorders, who now have an option besides going through insurance companies and spending thousands of dollars," Catherine Marchand, MSc, LCSP, Speech Pathologist based in Philadelphia.
Approximately 7.5 million people in the United States have difficulties using their voices, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD). User feedback shows that Verbally is being used by individuals whose speech is affected by autism, ataxia, ALS, Down Syndrome, stroke, and cancer, among other disorders.
Verbally is a unique text-to-speech AAC solution that minimizes movement for the user, enabling even those with impaired motor skills to more easily speak unique thoughts and feelings and to participate in conversations. The simple, intuitive design is ideal for literate children and adults with impairments or restrictions on the production of spoken language.
Verbally is different from existing AAC solutions in three core areas:
There are 180 words in the English language that constitute more than 80 percent of what most people discuss on a daily basis. Verbally's Core Words Grid features 60 essential words, which can save users more than 50 percent of the key-strokes required to input sentences on other AAC aids.
A Core Phrases Grid offers a dozen common phrases to enable faster and easier conversation, including phrases often needed by the disabled, such as, "I use this iPad for speech" and "Please give me a moment."
Verbally's Text Prediction Engine learns unique words and names, making it significantly faster to enter personal thoughts and to handle the frequent interruptions that occur in normal conversation, enabling speedier and more active participation in conversations. The Verbally predictions engine can reduce keystrokes by 30 to 40 percent versus other AAC aids.
Ease of Use
Three keyboard layouts allow users to choose the option that's best for their specific needs.
The iPad's Contacts can be synced with Verbally's Text Prediction Engine, so users have easy use of the names of family, friends and colleagues in conversation.
A centrally placed chime bell on the keyboard allows users to easily indicate their desire to participate in active conversations, so they can jump right into the dialog and more easily keep up with the conversation.
Cost & Convenience
Verbally is a totally free app for the iPad. Other commonly used AAC aids cost $10,000 to $15,000 for those without insurance coverage, and several hundred or even thousands of dollars for those with insurance coverage.
The other most commonly used AAC aids are not available in retail settings and must be ordered through their manufacturers, causing wait times of several weeks to months - precious time when one's ability to speak may be quickly degenerating.
Users simply download Verbally from the iTunes app store and use their finger or stylus to tap sentences into the text box. Verbally then speaks the words aloud in a male or female voice.
The iPad is lightweight (1.5 lbs), making it highly portable and discreet
The iPad is useful for hundreds of other things, including surfing the web, checking email, watching movies, reading, and much more.
"We hear positive and encouraging stories on a daily basis from medical professionals and patients who have found their voice through Verbally. We are integrating the most frequently cited feedback into an upgraded premium version available in July, which will include more voice options, customizable phrases and enhanced predictions. All of these features will increase users' ability to speak more efficiently and keep up with a regular conversation. We are encouraged by the initial response from users and we look forward to continuing to help the many people affected by speech impairments through an easily accessible and affordable solution," said Ajay Godhwani, Intuary CEO.
Verbally is compatible with any iPad running iOS version 3.2 or higher. In the coming months, Verbally plans to make the app available for additional mobile devices and in other languages.
About Intuary - Intuary is a San Francisco-based technology company committed to empowering users through intuitively designed products that are affordable to and widely accessible by as many people as possible. Verbally, the first app from Intuary, is a free augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) aid for people with a speech disability caused by such things as apraxia, ALS, stroke, traumatic brain injury, Parkinson's, cerebral palsy, autism spectrum disorder, or muscular dystrophy. Verbally is the only free iPad app that provides a complete assistive speech solution for creative communication. Its unique, simple design allows users to communicate quickly and effectively in any setting - enabling self-expression, and most importantly, conversation.
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