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Autism spectrum disorder, which affects more than 500,000 U.S. children and millions more worldwide, can make verbal communication a challenge. With support from Microsoft External Research, two U.S. academic researchers are developing mobile device software that can enable individuals with autism to communicate more effectively. Using pictures as a form of communication helps many children with moderate or severe autism to compensate for their limited verbal skills. However, the task of forming sentences with paper cards on an adhesive strip can be cumbersome. Researchers at Claremont Graduate University and Old Dominion University are developing software that allows children with autism to easily create picture-based messages on a mobile device.
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