Wednesday December 19, 2018
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Talk Different: Autistic child’s mother develops world’s first ‘universal language’ app

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

The world’s first smartphone application which allows people speaking different languages and those incapable of speaking to communicate together, has been created by a French mother of an autistic child.

The app was made available for purchase and downloading on Google Play and Apple Store in nine international languages by Sogeti, an affiliate of French computing giant Capgemini.

Developed by Marie Spitz, the Talk Different app uses 700 images, colours, icons and sounds to create messages based on alternative communication techniques she practised to interact with her daughter Pauline, who suffers from speech depriving autism.

Speaking on the advantages her invention offers, Spitz said, “The key to Talk Different, is the ease and accessibility that allows lost travellers, the vocal-or hearing-impaired or other verbally isolated users to construct messages on smartphones or pads that virtually anyone else will understand.

I have worked for over three years on this project with the goal that Talk Different would be accessible to all, for less than a euro on smartphones, while being very easy to use. The application requires no special training”, she said.

What sets the 99 cent app apart from other language apps is its picture-book simplicity, an intentional contrast to the more complex and confounding tools she used while communicating with her daughter.

Patrick Marquet, project manager at Sogeti said, “Talk Different makes everyday communication easier via an intuitive and fun application. With her exceptional vision and drive, Marie Spitz has invented a new way of communicating for people who may not speak the same language or who suffer from a range of disabilities.”

Spitz founded her MPSLS software company to develop and perfect an application using her insights for medical, educational and tourism communication use after working around her daughter’s speech disability for over a decade.

The users can select drawings and photos of various figures, situations, emotions or ideas, and combine them with colour, sound, text and other evocative content to construct easily identifiable messages or questions.

Spitz is already on the way to develop a different version of the app for health workers and the handicapped.

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Novel Blood Test May Predict Autism Risk in Babies During Pregnancy

These are exciting results as they hint at differences in some metabolic processes that potentially play a role in increasing the risk of having a child with autism

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Pregnancy after breast cancer does not increase a woman's risk of a relapse. Pixabay

Researchers have developed a novel blood test for pregnant mothers that can, with nearly 90 per cent accuracy rate, predict the probability of having a child that will be diagnosed with autism.

According to studies, if a mother has previously had a child with autism, the risk of having a second child with the developmental disorder is approximately 18.7 per cent, whereas the risk in the general population is approximately 1.7 per cent.

In the study, led by Juergen Hahn, Professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York, metabolites of the folate-dependent transmethylation and transsulfuration biochemical pathways of pregnant mothers were measured to determine whether or not the risk of having a child with autism could be predicted by her metabolic profile.

Pregnant mothers who have had a child with autism before were separated into two groups based on the diagnosis of their child whether the child had autism or not.

Pregnancy
Representational image. Pixabay

Then these mothers were compared to a group of control mothers who have not had a child with autism before.

The results, appearing in the journal Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, showed that while it is not possible to determine during a pregnancy if a child will be diagnosed with autism by age 3, they did find that differences in the plasma metabolites are indicative of the relative risk (18.7 per cent vs 1.7 per cent) for having a child with autism.

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“These are exciting results as they hint at differences in some metabolic processes that potentially play a role in increasing the risk of having a child with autism,” Hahn said.

“However, it would be highly desirable if a prediction based upon physiological measurements could be made to determine which risk group a prospective mother falls into,” Hahn noted. (IANS)