New technology helps autistic kids make connections - KCTV5

New technology helps autistic kids make connections

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

A group of autistic children are learning to communicate with the help of technology. 

For the past year, the Marian Hope Center has been using tablets to help those kids learn how to use their voice.   

Having the new tablets has been a blessing for the children, but it didn't come cheap. 

Theresea Sonderman, a speech language pathologist and the chief information officer at the center, said while this has been a major expense that they have been fortunate with grants and other awards. That includes a $5,000 contribution from AT&T, which will be used to purchase even more tablets.

"A lot of our kids are trapped inside themselves. They are bright kids. They have so much they want to say but they don't have the words to say it," said Angie Knight, cofounder and executive director of the center. "Our main goal is to build confident, competent children."

She said the tablets give them the tools to communicate.

"When we stop looking at the autism and start looking at the person, it's just unbelievable what these kids can do," Knight said.

Sonderman said that finding motivation to use language can be difficult for those with autism and the tablets have been the key to unlocking their vocabulary.

"We're able to take whatever app is motivating for a kid and incorporate it into a therapy session to meet a goal," Sonderman said. "It gives children who don't have a voice a voice. It gives children who have difficulty communicating verbally another way to communicate."

AT&T and Autism Speaks are also hosting an app idea submission contest to find new apps for the autism community. You can vote on the finalists on Facebook. Click here.

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