Technology has many benefits and what can be more heartwarming than seeing it act as a tool to aid those with autism express with as much as ease. To give those who are unable to speak a voice.
A new short film by Apple which was released on Saturday — entitled "Dillan's Voice" — shares the story of 16-year-old Dillan Barmache who cannot speak, but has plenty of thoughts to share. Dillan maybe non-verbal and autistic but "Dillan's Voice" tells his story in the teen's own words. How? Through the use of technology that is accessed with ease and paired with novel apps.
Dillan types his story out on an iPad, sharing his perspective. The words are then spoken aloud thanks to an AAC or augmented and alternative communication app.
The Apple film — which celebrates Autism Acceptance Month — is from the viewpoint of the 16-year-old and a departure from the presumed notions one holds of autistic individuals, especially ones who are non-verbal.
"Autism Acceptance Month is dedicated to the stories of people like Dillan. His words remind us how important it is to ensure everyone with a voice can be heard," says the company.
"Dillan's Voice" shares how he has been using his iPad as a tool for communication since the last three years. In 2014, how Dillan deployed the technology to his advantage went viral after the teen deployed the iPad and an AAC application to give his poignant Middle School graduation speech
In this course, the technology has gone on to become an integral aspect of Dillan's day-to-day life - whether he is socializing, is at school or merely conversing with Tami Barmache, his mum. However, things weren't always this rosy for Dillan as he reveals that much of his childhood was spent struggling connecting with others. Being non-verbal, Dillan was unable to speak as one traditionally does.
"So many people can't understand I have a mind. All they see is a person who is not in control," says Dillan in the film.
However, with the iPad and AAC apps as his trusted companions, Dillan has now broken away from the shackles that previously bound him.
"At school, I now can have a conversation. I can share [answers to questions] with my classmates to amaze them that this totally awkward and sometimes strange guy is as smart as they are," says Dillan.
Check out "Dillan's Voice" below.