Think you had a good Christmas? I guarantee you it was not as good as Victor Pauca's who received something he's been wanting for years - The ability to communicate his thoughts and feelings!
The five-year old boy from Winston-Salem, North Carolina suffers from an extremely rare genetic disorder called Pitt Hopkins Syndrome, that he shares with only about 50 people in the world. This condition makes him unable to do things that most of us take for granted, including being able to talk.
When his parents searched for devices to help him, they discovered that what was available was either too low-tech - One even required a paper printout, or too expensive, costing thousands of dollars. That's when his father, a computer science professor at Wake Forest University, decided to collaborate with his students to develop something to help him. And, in this age of smart devices like the iPhone and iPad, it of course made sense to create an app that would be not only cheap to develop, but also deploy, so that it could be used by anybody in need.
The VerbalVictor app allows parents to select an image and record in their voice, the activity associated with it. For example, a photo of a park could be accompanied by 'I want to go out and play'. Once all the phrases and pictures have been recorded, all the user has to do, is press on the picture to communicate the message he/she is trying to convey.
Mr. Pauca believes that this will not only open up the mind of his child, but also others suffering from similar issues and, make life easier and better for everybody - without costing too much. Also, because the application uses the parents' voice and is accompanied by rich graphics, he believes it will appeal to the kids. Given the positive response he has received from parents since Verbal Victor was added to the App store last December, he is definitely on the right path!