Livox Gives a Voice to Special Needs Kids

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Kids with severe autism or cerebral palsy may have a very difficult time communicating. (KFSN)

Kids with severe autism or cerebral palsy may have a very difficult time communicating. Assistive devices are available, but those are often sophisticated to use and expensive. Now, a Brazilian inventor has partnered with an American hospital to introduce an inexpensive tool to help special needs kids express themselves.

Music and dance are soothing to four-year-old Anna Stinson. Anna has autism, and has not formed many words.

Angelique Hall, Anna's mother explained, "I'd see the pain in her eyes. Because she's literally trying to tell her mommy something, and she knows her mommy doesn't understand."

But for the past few months, Angelique has opened a window into Anna's world, using a specially designed app, displaying images that are personal to her.

Anna often repeats the words she's learned on the device. Angelique says in several months, her daughter has gone from one word, to short phrases.

"Livox means liberty through voice," CEO, Founder and Creator of Livox Carlos Pereira told Ivanhoe.

A Brazilian engineer, Pereira created Livox five years ago to communicate with his daughter Clara. Clara was born with cerebral palsy.

"We have a deep understanding of the needs of people with disabilities and how to transform those needs into software," Pereira said.

Livox has more than 20,000 users in Brazil. Now, Florida Hospital in Orlando has partnered with Pereira to test the system with their pediatric rehab patients.

"It provided access to a group of patients who weren't getting it because of the cost, and because of the types of tools available in that space," Ashley Simmons, Director of Innovation Development at Florida Hospital in Orlando, Florida said.

Angelique Hall is hoping the hands-on touch and talk technique will make all the difference for Anna.

Livox is available to download on the Google Play store. The software costs $250, but users in the Florida Hospital trial are provided the app for free to download on their personal tablets. Pereira says because Livox is considered an alternative communication device, it's important that families work in consultation with their speech therapists when using it.

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