The AbleChat app is an application for an Android Smartphone. AbleChat uses the Able to Include Accessibility Layer to translate written text into pictograms. This allows users with literacy problems to chat using pictograms and their contact persons to write in plain text. This way, AbleChat allows people with IDD to create messages independently via the smartphone and send and receive messages in an understandable way.
As this app is meant to be used on a smartphone, the number of pictos that can be selected is rather limited, but personalized. Of course, there will be a larger overlap between the chosen pictos, all want to be able to say hello, to use notions like ‘I’m OK, ‘I like this’, ‘How are you’?, etc. But, for example, Bart (cf image of his keyboard below) wants to be able to mention horses, as he is working at stables. So that’s one of the pictos he needs. Using such pictos carers and users can exchange messages. In the image below a carer is chatting with an user, the messages received are in blue, those sent in yellow. A picture in front of a message marks the sender. In this case, the carer, Jo, asks when Toon, the user, will come home: ‘wanneer kom je naar huis’. Toon replies that that will be at 8 o’clock (‘acht uur’).
The users, and their family, are very enthusiastic about the new app. One mother told us that this was the first time her son was able to send her a message telling that his favourite football club had won the match with 3-1!