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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The "Gab n Go Harness" Story

Kristen Lazuka is a pediatric nurse who provides care for children with complex medical needs and developmental delays. Kristen created the "Gab n Go Harness" to meet the needs of a patient, an active little girl who did not have normal speech due to craniofacial deformities. She used an iPod touch with an AAC app, but it her busy personality created a problem. The iPod had to be held by her aide, who needed to remember to grab it every time the girl moved around the school, both in the classroom and out.

Kristen and the child’s occupational therapist began looking for solutions "We spent a lot of time online," Kristen said. "We knew the market for AAC apps for mobile devices was exploding, and expected to see many different products for accessible communication options. That was not the case. There were bulky speaker boxes, which were too heavy for her to put on a regular lanyard. For accessibility reasons, the armbands were not appropriate for this population of children."

An even bigger problem with using an AAC app on these devices was the lack of a solution that had a forward facing, easily heard and understandable speaker. "Communication partners were always asking us, 'What did she say?' It was very frustrating," Kristen said. Faced with with the lack of viable options, Kristen developed her own solution, the Gab n Go Harness. "I am thrilled to be able to make these already well developed devices and apps really work!" Kristem said. "The huge gap that existed is now closed, putting communication where it belongs – in the child's hands."

Kristen has a personal as well as a professional interest in AAC. She adopted her second child from Romania, and at 14 months, he was non-verbal and diagnosed with autism. By 18 months, he used both sign language as well as PECS for communication. He received his first AAC device when he was 6, and soon began speaking. "It was an amazing process to watch as he grew. He is now 13 years old and an effective verbal communicator," Kristen told us.

You can learn more about the Gab n Go Harness for iPad touch and iPhone at by watching this video, or go to Safe n Sound Mobile.

Safe n Sound Mobile is not affiliated with Assystx LLC, makers of TapToTalk. The information in this post is not an endorsement of the Gab n Go Harness by Assistyx.

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