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New Technology Helps To Give A Voice To Disabled

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Imagine not being able to speak.

For many people living with disabilities, that is a reality. However, there is technology to help give those people a voice.

Vic Valentic, 42, has cerebral palsy. He can't speak on his own, but for the past four years, he's had a voice.

Valentic can form sentences using a high-tech communication device, but it provides him with more than just words. It gives him freedom.

"It allows him to communicate as spontaneously as you and I would communicate now," Mark Street said.

Street has worked for PRC, which is the company that makes the device, for over a decade.

"It's amazing to be able to see both children and adults communicate and have that ability to grow over the years. It's quite rewarding," Street said.

Communication technology is even expanding to the world of apps. One app called Tap Speak was developed by a man right here in Pittsburgh.

"It's an app that does everything from simple communication boards to complex phrase speech generation, full scanning support, it uses external switches," Ted Conley said.

The software can be downloaded on an iPad and is far less expensive than some of the other high-tech devices.

Conley came up with the idea because of his 4-year-old son who has cerebral palsy.

"We don't really understand the impact sitting in our offices, developing things and answering help calls, but when we come to conferences we see people in wheelchairs, we see parents, we see therapists, they all say, wow, this app has made such a huge difference. It just blows me away," Conley said.

All of the technology is on display at a conference being held by the International Society of Augmentative and Alternative Communication at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

The organization is on a mission to make communication possible for everyone.

"It gives them so much freedom. It gives them such a better quality of life, that everyone deserves," Franklin Smith with the ISAAC said.

For more information visit ISAAC's website at:


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