I’m on TED!

I made a presentation at TED last month (and blogged about it). Now my TED video has gone live!

Check it out if you are interested in my “day-job” as an inventor of devices for children with autism.

For those of you who would rather read a summary, I talk about how most current approaches that help children with autism to communicate work by short-circuiting the ‘verbal pathway’ through the ‘visual pathway’. Most children with autism are really good at remembering pictures, but not so good at language (words, phrases and sentences).

There are a bunch of tools out there that help autistic children communicate by using pictures instead of words. For example, the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) is a way of communicating by using pictures to represent ‘operant words’.

But the limitation of pretty much every communication tool out there is that they provide a way of representing words using pictures; they have no way of representing grammar.

A year back, I invented a way of representing ‘meaning’ pictorially – this includes words, but also (crucially) includes grammar. So I came up with a completely language-independent system of communication. I call it FreeSpeech.

I also came up with a way of translating this system (FreeSpeech) into English.

This is still from the lab; we haven’t made a product out of it yet. But hopefully, that will happen soon enough… and then it will be worth the endless hours of burning the midnight oil!

Here’s the video:

My TED talk



2 thoughts on “I’m on TED!

  1. Congratulations on your TED presentation. I found it to be tought provoking and very interesting. How does the program work exactly if you don’t mind me asking? In what do you enter the input? Nonetheless, I think it is a great idea and wish you the best with it.

    1. Hi, and thanks for your comment! This will eventually run on a device like the iPad. Touchscreen devices like tablets and smartphones are much easier for children with autism to use than computers because the cognitive burden and abstraction is much lower. I’ll keep you informed when we put out a beta version.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s