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iPad App Gives Nonverbal Nepali Students a Voice

Ipad app for disabled
Safal Ghimire, a Nepali boy with cerebral palsy, uses the iPad app to communicate. Photo courtesy of Rob Rose.

Rob Rose, a Rotarian has called for donations of iPads for Special Education Rehabilitation Centre (SERC) for Children with Disabilities to help students with disabilities to learn.

Why it Matters:

  • Rose had brought an iPad to a school in Nepal that teaches students with disabilities, hoping that it would help the school’s nonverbal students communicate in a different way.
  • The outcome was even better, as the students started to learn to speak English. Encouraged by the students finding a new way to communicate, he has now asked for iPads as donations.

How it worked:

  • The iPad went to the Special Education Rehabilitation Centre (SERC) for Children with Disabilities. It had a special $250 app installed called Proloquo2Go.
  • Proloquo2Go displays hundreds of images within images that, when pressed, speak a word and goes to the top of the screen. When told to do so, the app then reads the words at the top in a series, sometimes making a sentence, using a voice the user chooses.
  • “Some of the kids that were totally nonverbal kept pushing the button for, like, ‘orange,’ ‘hello,’ ‘goodbye,’ and they started to repeat the word,” Rose said. “I’m curious to know if kids are going to start to learn how to talk, specifically, from this, which wasn’t one of the features in the program when I went on the website to see how kids were using it.”

What they are saying:

  • “I wouldn’t have gone further if it wasn’t this astounding,” Rose said of the iPad project and his desire to expand it. “With just two weeks of teachers working with some students and seeing the success in different ways than what we expected.”

The Backstory:

  • This is not the first project that Rose has done in Nepal for the disabled.
  • Through his nonprofit, the Rose International Fund for Children, and the Rotary Club of Bellevue, Rob has been working to improve the lives of disabled people in Nepal, for around two decades.

What’s next:

  • For the iPads from the donations, Rose has plans to install more inexpensive apps in at least 20 of them, that are designed to help the children identify emotions.
  • Rose has plans to visit the Washington State School for the Blind in Vancouver in March, with a principal and a teacher from a Nepali school for the blind. The aim of the visit is to have a better understanding of the education system for the blind in the United States.
  • They will also visit Edmonds School District to learn about an inclusive program that provides support for blind students within the district.
  • Rose hopes to end the visit by sending a representative of Washington State School for the Blind to Nepal, all through a “knowledge exchange” grant.
  • To donate a used iPad for Rose’s iPads in Nepal project, you can email him at Rob@trifc.org.

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