Giving a Voice to the Voiceless, Speak for Yourself, LLC Releases “Hold That Thought” Feature on Apple

Affordable and user-friendly, the voiceless are being given the building blocks of speech, and a voice, with the patent-pending Speak for Yourself, (SfY) app on an iPad or Android device. Created by Heidi LoStracco, and Renee Collender, two speech-language pathologists, educators and moms, SfY offers breakthrough Augmentative Alternative Communication (AAC), and continues to make waves among educators, parents, speech pathologists, physicians, and caregivers of non-verbal children and adults.

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Co-Founder Heidi LoStracco with young Maya Neider, who can now speak using the app

Five year old Maya Neider has found her voice with the Speak for Yourself app.

"Speak for Yourself provided my daughter with a voice, and provided me with a chance to get to hear her thoughts (and jokes!), and therefore has given me the opportunity to know her - her thoughts, interests, and feelings," Dana Nieder.

Marlton, NJ (PRWEB) September 26, 2013

Speak for Yourself, (SfY) an Augmentive Alternative Communication (AAC) device, has released “Hold that Thought,” a new free feature on Apple.

“Hold That Thought” allows users to store and save a phrase or thought with a single touch, and then restore it easily if interrupted in a natural course of conversation. Affordable and user-friendly, the voiceless are being given the building blocks of speech, and a voice, with the patent-pending Speak for Yourself (SfY) app on an iPad or Android device.

SfY users have the ability to begin with only one word and grow to a vocabulary of 14,000 words, with no more than two touches to speak any single word. Moreover, SfY verbalizes words and phrases for the user, enabling them to use the device to communicate to others, or to form and pronounce words themselves.

Created by Heidi LoStracco, of Bensalem, PA, and Renee Collender, Marlton, NJ, two speech-language pathologists, educators and moms, SfY offers breakthrough Augmentative Alternative Communication (AAC), and continues to make waves among educators, parents, speech pathologists, physicians, and caregivers of non-verbal children and adults.

Since its launch in December of 2011, individuals with a wide range of medical conditions that impede their ability to speak, including autism, brain damage, stroke victims, genetic syndromes, and neurological impairments have miraculously been given a voice, some for the very first time, by using the app. Whether their speech is permanently or temporarily impaired, SFY offers the chance for all people to be heard. Cost is $199.99, compared to $6,000 and up of previous, far more cumbersome devices in the field.

Says Dana Nieder, blogger, mom of a non-verbal five-year-old, and major supporter of the SfY app, "My daughter, Maya, was only three-years-old when we introduced her to Speak for Yourself, and she took to it immediately. The simple organization and brilliant design of Speak for Yourself will allow the App to grow with her well into adulthood, for as long as she needs communication technology. Speak for Yourself provided my daughter with a voice, and provided me with a chance to get to hear her thoughts (and jokes!), and therefore has given me the opportunity to know her - her thoughts, interests, and feelings - on a much deeper level.”

Featured in a full page article in the Moxie Woman Magazine, August 2013, Speak for Yourself is credited for giving Jessica Kawand, a 21-year-old-New Jersey woman the ability to say “I love you” to her mother for the first time in her life.

Says Jessica’s mother Mary Kawand, “The SfY app is everything that our old Dynavox was not. It's affordable, user friendly, and grows with the user. No one realized how much language my daughter had until she had the SfY app. I think this is because the language is already there and easy for her to access. No longer do I have to guess at what my daughter wants, she is able to find the words to tell me. If you asked me to describe SfY in one word that would be brilliant!”

The app is also gaining popularity in special education classrooms across the states, including a successful trial at The Gateway School for Hearing and Speech, Baltimore, and the Anaheim Unified School, Anaheim, California.

Speak for Yourself creators first noticed a need for an app that would better allow for Spontaneous Novel Utterance Generation (or SNUG,) after the release of the iPad. “We began seeing a shift in the market after the iPad release. Most devices on the market were highly frustrating for nonverbal students and parents. It got to a point where someone was asking us about applications for AAC every day, and we decided that we need a better answer,” recalls co-inventor LoStracco.

Changing the world, one voice at a time, Speak for Yourself is a patent pending “Two Touch” vocabulary device developed by speech pathologists Renee Collender, MA, CCC-SLP, and Heidi LoStracco, MS, CCC-SLP.

For more information, visit http://www.speakforyourself.org. LoStracco and Collender are available for interviews, workshops and training sessions, by contacting Tina(at)TinaBradfordpr(dot)com at 610-248-3460, or at speakforyouselfaac(at)Yahoo(dot)com.


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