App launches to help special needs children communicate

This week sees the launch of the iComm, a groundbreaking and innovative new iPhone application specifically designed to assist in the communication, learning and development of special needs children and pre-speech toddlers.

This unique application officially launched yesterday, Wednesday 24 February, from the company, Mia’s apps. The app is free, with the potential to upgrade to a larger version which gives the user more categories and the ability to add sound files.

Mia’s Apps is the brainchild of Martin Brooks who is only too familiar with the challenges facing physically disabled children and their parents. Martin’s five year old daughter Mia was deprived of oxygen at birth and suffered irreparable brain damage, leaving her completely physically disabled. Although cognitively bright, Mia’s physical disabilities prevent her from talking, making communication very difficult.

The iComm offers children a communication system using both written and spoken words and personalised pictures. The iComm is the only communication device on the app store that has a free version and one of the very few that allows you to add your own pictures or sound.

The advantage of being able to add your own content is that children become much more engaged and motivated to communicate because they recognise the pictures and sounds you add. All content is presented in easy to find categories, with nine categories available in the free version and 20 in the upgraded full version.

Brooks had already investigated a number of alternative communication systems, but they tended to be either expensive, bulky or impersonal. Brooks set to work to create something to help his daughter and children like her. With the help of a software designer amongst others the new app, specifically designed for the iPhone, was built and is now available through Apple’s app store.

As soon as development was complete it became apparent that this app had a much greater application than just for special needs children. Martin realised he had created a communication device for a much larger audience; able bodied children who are not yet talking properly, but have a burning desire to communicate their needs.

All parents have played the guessing game when their toddler is expressing frustration at being unable to state what they want, whilst using the one communication tool they have got – crying (loudly!). The iComm solves that frustration by giving parents and toddlers a personalised, portable, affordable communication device, directly available on your iPhone.

Users can also upgrade from the free version to a full version which provides many additional features including 20 categories, audio files and more picture storage. With this version, children can learn about shapes, colours and letters with the content provided and there is a category which allows you to record your child’s favourite songs or nursery rhymes, so they can hear them as often as they want – even if you are busy doing something else. The cost for the full version is just £15.99.

2010 will see Martin and Mia’s Apps develop further ‘technology for tots’ with many more apps specifically designed to increase the enjoyment of children’s lives. To find out more about the remarkable new iComm and to view a video tutorial visit www.miasapps.com