We are symbolsend. We are a mobile app that allows non verbal users the ability to be able to communicate with their social and healthcare circles remotely without having to physically be there.
This last year has shown us that the need to communicate with our loved ones has never been so important. We have all got use to using 'Zoom' or 'Teams' and now these fit into our everyday life. But if we take a step back and think about our neurodiverse community, then isolation and the inability to communicate with those we love is nothing new and is commonplace. We as a society have not come up with a solution that addresses this, but we believe that we have come up with a solution.
I started Symbolsend because of my son who is non-verbal. When not physically in the same room as him I was unable to communicate with him, and as a parent that is a very hard thing to comprehend. We all want what's best for our children but I am not able to find out his wants and needs whilst away from him. I tried to find a solution to tackle this but soon realised there wasn't one out there so I decided to create one.
Many non-verbal individuals use a visual based language where an image is used instead of a written word. My son was no different so he needed the ability to use his symbols to create his sentences/phrases and then be able to send them to those around him. Our app allows that but we had to take it further to suit the needs not just of users like him but their family as a whole and ensure that everybody is able to understand each other quickly and clearly. Therefore the app will convert their symbols into text for a neurotypical user. Equally they can send a 'text' message to a symbol user and this text will be converted into symbols for our non-verbal users. This is the first time that symbols can be used remotely to allow communication.
Results So Far
So our app is almost complete and it will be available on Android, Apple and Amazon devices. We already have people asking us when it will be ready as they are wanting to use this for their own families. Our son is enjoying using the test version and is now able to communicate with us freely as and when he chooses. That ability is something that most of us take for granted but for us and our family that is a huge step and will be for many other families out there.
What will the funds be used for?
It is important that we as a business constantly adapt to provide more families with the opportunity to communicate. With the money raised we are going to look to research the ability to put a video chat function in to the app which can utilise the symbols at the same time. Whilst this wont happen straight away, the funding will be a great start in that journey and add another layer to this new way of communicating for families.