Alps Tutorial House is a tutorial center that caters to elementary school students and children with special needs. It is owned by Teacher Lodi, an occupational therapist based in Iligan City. She aims to not just to educate children academically but also provide an inclusive classroom setup where neurotypical and neurodivergent students co-exist.
On January 27, 2023, we invited the parents of Alps Tutorial House to talk about the importance of assistive technology and augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). As the CEO and co-founder of Pic-A-Talk, I shared to them my personal experience growing up with my sister Lea and how she came up with different ways to communicate with us. She started with hand leading and then pointing. Through her different therapies and SPED classes, she learned to write, and eventually found that searching images on Google was the most effective method for us to understand her.
I showed the parents a demonstration of the different capabilities of Pic-A-Talk and its significance to the child’s language development. I taught them how to upload new words and categories to expand their child’s vocabulary as well as how to change the app’s layout and preferred language. Although this is a high-tech AAC, I reminded the parents that they would still have to be actively assisting and monitoring their child in using the app to ensure effectiveness.
The parents showed interest in the application and began downloading it through Google Play Store. I assisted the parents as they created their accounts and explored Pic-A-Talk on their own devices. They provided us with a couple of suggestions to include in the application as well as very insightful feedback.
One of the parents expressed her gratitude for the application noting how rare it is to find apps created for children with special needs. Another talked about how useful Pic-A-Talk will be to her non-verbal daughter with autism since she is already quite tech-savvy. At the end of the day, we had a heartwarming conversation as we talked about each family’s experiences. The sense of community was truly felt in this small circle and we hope that next time, the circle will expand.