Sunday, May 23, 2010

Taking On Autism With Technology.

Tonight on CNN Newsroom with the fabulous Don Lemon we discussed Speaks4Me. Check out my full article to learn more.

Stephen Lodge is the father of a severely autistic 11 year old boy named Callum who cannot communicate. Callum is able to use a small amount of sign language but for years it was mostly guesswork to try to understand Callum’s cues. It was very difficult for Callum’s parents to watch him struggle – was he upset, tired, hungry?

Speech and language professionals said Callum was incapable of using a high-tech communication aid, but that just did not add up to Callum’s father - afterall he had been using his 15” LCD touch-screen at home to play his favorite Disney DVDs and access the Sesame Street website for years. So Callum’s dad took matters into his own hands. With 15 years of programming and engineering skills and all of his savings Stephen hoped to create a solution – not just for Callum but for thousands of other parents with autistic children.

Stephen created Speaks4me - a revolutionary breakthrough in gadgetry designed to help children with autism, a disease affecting 1 in 110 children. By using drag and drop technology on a portable, lightweight, touch-screen tablet, Callum is able to string together thousands of images and form sentences that the program then reads aloud. The program uses picture images that Callum cognitively understands, such as “drink”, “toilet”, “toast”, etc. Stephen unveiled the prototype of Speaks4Me on Callum’s tenth birthday.

The device can be used not only by the autistic but also by any nonverbal child or adult. The team is also creating new specialized devices for those disabled by stroke, cerebral palsy, motor neuron disease or muscular dystrophy.


  1. Giving new meaning to " a picture is worth a million words"
    Well done.

  2. What a wonderful idea this is. I have several friends who have autistic children and this would be of great value to them. It's amazing what technology can accomplish these days.

    Nice job on "We Mean Business" too. I had never seen it before today and that's what brought me to the blog. Great information.

  3. Hey thanks Al! Yes, it is a GREAT product.

    Sorry I missed your message!



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