A medical application for handheld Apple devices is helping people with speech disabilities carry out their everyday errands by communicating with a few easy clicks of the screen.
Developed by Toronto-based technology company My Voice Inc., TalkRocket Go has helped over 10,000 people worldwide including Bill Scott, who recently suffered a stroke.
"After my stroke it was difficult for me to understand why I couldn't communicate — there was a lengthy period of adjustment," said Scott with the help of his iPhone.
Before discovering the app Scott would walk around with a book full of phrases and pictures which he would point to when trying to communicate.
Now with a few taps of his iPhone screen he can order his favourite donut from Tim Hortons or ask a bank teller for money from his account.
"Socially it lets him integrate into the community," said his wife, Bonnie Scott. "It helps at home with family, it helps with friends, (and) it's just a great substitute for his natural communication."
Government rebate for app
My Voice CEO Alexander Levy developed the app in 2011 after seeing a gap in the market for devices for people with speech disabilities.
"It's unbelievable. We've had so many instances since we've started where we've had an email or a phone call about how this has changed someone's life," Levy said.
Since being created, My Voice has responded to demands from users by adding French phrases and a special function that allows people with motor disabilities to tap anywhere on the screen to talk.
'It has given me increased confidence in handling social situations on my own' —Bill Scott
TalkRocket Go has enabled Scott to be able to read to his grandchildren again.
"It has given me increased confidence in handling social situations on my own," Scott said.
TalkRocket Go was also recently added to Ontario's Assistive Devices Program, meaning users can ask the Ministry of Health to help pay for the app and Apple device.
The $99 app is available for purchase through Apple's App Store and is compatible on both iPhone and iPad devices.