A Pictorial Mobile Application for Improving Communication Skills in Non-Verbal Autism

Samir Abou El-Seoud, AbdelGhani Karkar, Jihad Al Ja'am, Omar Karam


It is estimated that as many as 25 percent of individuals living with autism spectrum disorders are non-verbal. That is, they cannot functionally communicate with others using their voice. Despite that substantial fraction, we still know very little about these individuals, their abilities, and their needs. "We still know very little about the cognitive capabilities of nonverbal people with autism, and how best to help them learn to communicate," said Geri Dawson, Ph.D., Autism Speaks chief science officer.
Non-verbal people with autism are usually unable to communicate normally using natural languages. They can, however, learn to communicate through specific symbols and images. Special education instructors have adopted this method of communication to teach non-verbal people with autism. They introduce the symbols and images to them through different methodologies. This learning process appeared to be effective but it is very long. The process is carried out manually and requires a lots of times, dedication, and resources. The instructors should find the materials in different formats and circumstances. They should repeat the lessons several times and normally in a face-to-face framework. We propose in this paper a mobile-based application that allows non- verbal people with autism to learn and communicate with their surroundings using a smart device. They can then be taught to use specific symbols and images through the smart mobile phones. They can form simple words and sentences to express their feelings and needs. The application is flexible and allows the addition of new contents very easily. To assess the progress of the users, different exercises and puzzles are proposed. These allow the users to improve their skills and to continue learning outside the classrooms.


Learning, Autism, Mobile-based Application, Smart Mobile phones, Non-verbal.

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International Journal of Interactive Mobile Technologies (iJIM) – eISSN: 1865-7923
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