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It has allowed those who never had a voice or a way to communicate to have one now. These technological products have enhanced communication skills and gave those with disabilities opportunities they never thought they would have. One example of assistive technology that has changed lives is a program called LAMP: Words for life. LAMP stands for language acquisition through motor planning. LAMP is an app that can be used on the iPad. This app allows those with a disability the chance to communicate with the world.
LAMP improves a person’s vocabulary and communication skills they may not have.
One of LAMP’s main goals is to improve the communication needs when it comes to a child with autism. There are five components to LAMP: readiness to learn, shared engagement, consistent motor patterns, auditory signals, and natural consequences. All five of these parts are all about making connections for the person using LAMP. Readiness to learn is all about the person wanting to learn and being ready to.
Shared engagement is about focusing on vocab that interests the user. Consistent motor patterns are about using the path of the words to create automaticity. When the user practices and learns the pattern on LAMP, then using it will become automatic and more comfortable for the user. Using 1-3 buttons can lead to learning these words that can be pushed and spoken.
Auditory signals are about finding the words in a pattern. For example, click the people button and then click family and then choose the person whose name who want to speak.
The non-verbal person can hear the word and communicate it without every speaking a word. They can relate to asking for something and when hitting the right button, they get what they asked for. Finally, natural consequences is when there is an immediate award if the user selects the right button. For example, if the user is asked what they want, and they click “I want water”, then they should get the water right away. If the user is asked what color something is, and they click the right button there should be an immediate reward. A big component to LAMP is the user seeing immediate action once they click a button just as if they were using a voice to speak.
After understanding these five components that make LAMP successful, then comes the use of the app. First, the child learns the core words such as a, go, help, my, more, it, finished, out, the and many more. Learning these core words can lead to bigger words, phrases and sentences. For example, if the student is lining up to go somewhere, they can use words such as go out or play. If they are learning something academic, they can use their core words such as want, stop, or no. A user of LAMP can use it in school, at home or out in the community. The more the person uses it and learns it, the more vocabulary there will be on the program. One benefit of this program is that it can be customized to the user’s needs. Specific people, places and things can be put on the iPad that the user would see or use every day. When going out to eat, the user can use this program to order their meal. If the user has a question at a store, the user can use the program to ask.
There are over 3,000 words that can be added to the program as the user becomes more comfortable using it. When a student is using the program, someone that plays a pivotal role is the speech language pathologist. The job of the SLP is to help with communication skills and that is where LAMP comes in handy. When using LAMP, the person is able to learn individual words and then build sentences. Using LAMP, it allows a person to communicate what they want or what they need just by pressing buttons on the iPad. Research has shown that LAMP has increased communication and enhanced vocabulary. However, one negative to this piece of assistive technology is cost. Not only does the user need an iPad, but the cost of the app is $299.99 (possibly $149 with a coupon code).
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