Giving children the best start in life
A Parents Perspective: Laura's Story
The transcript below has been taken from Laura’s interview with Radio Humberside on June 2017. You can listen to the radio interview here:
What did you make of the app when you tried it?
It gave instant results. It was absolutely amazing. My son at 4 years old, he has a number of disabilities, but he couldn’t even put two words together, when he started in Reception, so he’s always been under Speech and Language however within 10 minutes of getting to grips with this app, I was left with tears in my eyes. I have never seen such a big jump in progress.
Really that good?
It was amazing!
What does the app do then? Talk us through how it works.
Basically it’s a storyboard. You go on a day out. Everybody’s got a smart phone/iPhone, taking photos. So I let my son use my phone to take photos of his day. Then we get back to the table. Choose the photos, because he has got autism, visual elements are really good to help with his conversation skills. So we choose 4 pictures. I will say a sentence that I want Corbyn to repeat and because he’s got that visual prompt, he’s not losing his words He’s listening to how it is said from myself and then he can repeat it as well. So what it means is, with my son having autism, he’s very one-sided in conversations, so when he’s telling his stories to people, he’s wandering into his own little world but this just keeps prompting him because he’s chosen the photos that mean something to him – it’s not like I am trying to force him down a route so its making his language really free which is a massive massive step for my son.
Have you noticed that that has continued even when you are not with the app, just doing day to day things with your son?
Yeah – because now we’re actually at a time that he’s clicked that the visual prompts are something that can guide conversations so you can tell the difference when you’re trying to have a conversation there’s no memory of that image whereas now he’s going to books, he’s finding pictures or he’s even doing his own drawings but the app is really really good and it’s modern, it’s up to date.
You must be thrilled Laura. How worried were you before?
I’ve gone round the NHS and every single clinic because my son’s got a mixed range of disabilities and I’ve cried many nights, I’ve worried for his future but I’ve always said as long as my son’s happy, that’s the main thing and this app is giving him independence. He speaks to his family overseas every Sunday and I used to have to guide him in conversations and he’d get upset and cry many times because he couldn’t find his words well he uses this app and he can prompt himself and you can see in his smile that he feels so independent… it’s amazing to see. I get goosebumps thinking about it.
Wow. It’s overwhelmed you. It’s changed your lives hasn’t it? It’s not too much to say that?
No. It has and such a basic teaching method.
It’s simple. We used to get many bits from Speech and Language, board games and stuff to do that helped with the speech and sounds. We never had something that would help with conversation and distance talks and then this came along. I used to teach English as a Second Language and it was the same basis using repetition, visual prompts. I never thought why I have never used this approach with my son. Yet they’ve created this app, fit for 2017, kids like taking selfies and pictures and then they can put it to storyboard and you can make it as basic or as complex, as the child progresses but not only does it help with communication if you child is like my child on the autistic spectrum when he does get older and he wants to go to the shops to get some milk and bread he can set this app up so when he goes to the shops he doesn’t forget what he wants so he doesn’t have that meltdown and get overwhelmed by everything. It progresses as the child or person gets older as well. So it’s amazing.