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: