A typical problem faced by persons with the communication disabilities like autism, is inability in communicating. The kind of muscular coordination required for speaking is affected along with other higher order functions, which makes the person unable to express herself.

We find children with mental challenges as the most seriously neglected segment of humanity. The ICT workshops aim at helping them by exploring the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs), computers, low cost smartphones etc., as a prosthesis of a new kind.

Appropriate use of simple technologies like Camera Phone, touchscreen computers, netbooks accompanied with appropriate software can help people with communication disabilities immensely by providing them a way to both receive and contribute in the communication.

From our effort in adapting such technology for persons with communication disabilities, we realize that, such solutions have to be unique and should be designed taking into account the unique limited abilities and disabilities of the child.

Why ICT workshops?

The number of children with mental challenges is large and is growing at an alarming rate: Approximately 1% of children have an Autism Spectrum Disorder1, while an estimated 2 to 5 percent have an auditory processing disorder2. Such children invariably face hurdles in communication and learning.

Since they, like most children, are attracted towards computers3 our aim is to explore the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) as a prosthesis of a new kind. We will attempt to propagate the use of such interventions in Asia, where there is great reluctance to even admit that the problem exists. Government apathy is sadly also widespread: in India, for instance, they refused to recognize autism as a disability under the Persons with Disabilities Act, “as doing so would shift attention and resources away from those whose need is greatest.”4 Hence, in this project, we also propose to examine government interventions in some Asian countries, and make recommendations for improvement.

How children benefit?

  • improvement in the abilities of the child and the caregiver to communicate with each other and with others in the society.
    This boosts the confidence of the child.
    Caregiver gets more time for her other works.
  • The child could independently interact with service providers, teachers, doctors.
  • If the child is very good at photo editing, or publishing or programming, it would be easier to find an appropriate livelihood for the child later.