They can use the app to develop a range of skillsets from math and reading to learning about colors and how to recognize signs, Horton said.
“The kids fell in love with it,” Horton said, adding, “It’s only limited by the imagination of the educator.”
Through using the app, there has been a reduction in children who are misbehaving, Horton said. Kids don’t have to behave poorly to have their needs met.
“I mean, the really cool thing about TalkingTiles with my population is we’ve seen a decrease in the maladaptive behaviors,” she said.
The app operates on Microsoft Dynamics CRM and is a Caretiles application from CoCENTRIX, a company that works to find solutions for the health and human services community.
The tiles surface as different pages in the app, said Bill Keyes, senior vice president of marketing and sales for CoCENTRIX. They could be videos, pictures or words and patients can use them to communicate.
Mississippi is getting ready to expand the app’s reach statewide and plans to implement it with the Department of Mental Health’s ALS and Alzheimer’s unit later this year. With ALS, Horton said, a person’s ability to speak decreases over time. With the app, there are hopes that more people could use it to help them communicate.
A patient’s progress is also tracked so that a patient’s group of caregivers can see their progress and determine the next step, Keyes said.
Another goal of the app is that states can save money on long-term residential care for patients which can be costly. Patients are also given the chance to become more independent.
The tablets that patients can use to access the app are provided by the center, Horton said. The state pays for an annual license for the app, she said, but for patients wishing to continue using the app after the program, there is no cost for the first three months, and after that, the cost is low.
“It’s a program that these individuals can finally have a voice and a say and a choice in their own life,” Horton said. “And it’s limited only by your own imagination.”