iLab Association has created a mobile application called Croatian Sign Language for Children – MIHA in collaboration with parents of one deaf child with autism and the Croatian Association of Deafblind Persons – Dodir.
The unique and free application is completely adapted to children as it assures their understanding in several ways.
- All terms have a video clip where a child or adult, native speakers of sign language, show these signs
- All terms have an image below the video clip to help to understand along with a written word
- All terms have an audio clip
“Primarily, this app was created for children with developmental challenges to learn another effective way of communicating. We use signs on daily basis even with children who hear but have difficulties in verbalizing words. Some of our kids have autism, Down Syndrome, various chromosomal mutations, intellectual difficulties, cerebral palsy etc. Parents can use this app as the first step in communication with their infants and children with developmental disorders, especially if they know early on their child will struggle verbalizing words,” iLab Association says.
The creators say that professionals in health care, social care and education will also find this app to be important in their efforts to learn Croatian sign language which will ultimately ease their communication with deaf patients /students or those with developmental difficulties.
“We advise parents to encourage their typically developing children to use this app, too. They can learn Croatian sign language as a second language and in this way promote the integration of children with disabilities into our community.”
This app will help primarily children with developmental difficulties communicate in a more effective way which will reduce frustrations and anxiety, increase their self-confidence, intrinsic motivation and help their integration into the community. Their parents and therapists /professionals (e.g. in a hospital, therapy, classroom) will benefit from this app, as well, because it will help them understand child’s needs and wants better and it will support child’s learning processes.
The app has been selected for the finals on Moj Zaba Start 2018 funding contest from Zagrebačka bank.
Currently, citizens can vote for the best project to support this amazing project and show support to kids who use alternative ways of communication. You can vote by clicking Glasaj below on the project’s logo:
“We would like to thank everyone included in the project. From the software engineer who made this application; designer who made it look amazing at the speed of light; illustrator for giving a stunning logo; children and their parents who volunteered and signed all the terms; colleagues from Dodir association who welcomed our idea with open hearts; and mostly to the family Đurić who were the brave initiators and are editing 500 videos for the app. We really appreciate the amazing and proactive team effort everyone has put in,” iLab concludes.
About iLab Association:
iLab Association is a non-profit, non-governmental organization that gathers professionals working with children with developmental disorders in three main areas: prevention, habilitation and counseling. In five years of our active work, we are well known for our very individualized approach to each and every child and his / her family. This unique approach is based on the transdisciplinary knowledge our professionals use in their sessions: we look at a child as a dynamic entity of cognitive, motor, sensory, communicative, social and emotional areas interacting with his / her environment (family, friends and community). Thus, our professionals are required to continuously attend seminars within their field of expertise but also in complementary fields, as well. E.g., a physical therapist should show a good understanding in child’s sensory and emotional areas along with their expertise in motor skills and coordination. This approach leads to a faster and more effective development of a child (habilitation process) and higher quality support to the child’s family.
We have been receiving support from the City of Zagreb, Office for Health and Office for social protection and people with disabilities since 2015. Last year, in 2017, we received financial support from two other private companies: HEP and Interkonzalting, which along with the support from the City of Zagreb, raised 45,000.00 HRK. These funds were used to help 104 children who were provided one or more free services in 2017, with the majority being sensory integration therapy.