SwiftKey launches assistive app for users with special needs

'Symbols' will allow non-verbal folks to communicate more easily.

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Andrew Tarantola
December 10th, 2015
SwiftKey launches assistive app for users with special needs

SwiftKey released a new app on Thursday designed to give users with learning disabilities (those living with autism, for example) a non-verbal means of communication with friends and family. The app, called Symbols, allows these users to construct sentences using a series of images rather than words. It's driven by the same prediction engine that powers SwiftKey's popular keyboard app. What's more, Symbols also takes time and date into account when recommending specific symbols to further simplify routine communications. Plus, the app can be heavily customized to suit the user's specific needs including the addition of custom images and categories, speech-to-text and audio playback.

"The communication opportunities that this app will provide are amazing," said Charlotte Parkhouse, a Speech & Language Therapist at the UK's Riverside School, which helped develop the program. "The flexible use of symbols will allow pupils with severe communication difficulties to express themselves in meaningful ways and the predictive symbol function means that it can be truly personalised. Brilliant!"

Symbols is currently available for Android devices at Google Play.

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