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App to help children with communication problems released

du, Dubai Autism Center and Flagship Projects promoting Babnoor app

The Babnoor app is intended to help children who have communications difficulties.
The Babnoor app is intended to help children who have communications difficulties.

Du and the Dubai Autism Center and Flagship Projects are working together to promote a mobile app to help children with communication problems.

The Babnoor app, developed by Flagship Projects, is an Arabic language cloud-based application for children with autism, hearing and speech difficulties, Down's syndrome, cerebral palsy, trauma injuries and similar ailments, to help them communicate. The app is intended to complement and eventually replace the traditional physical, visual and pictorial reference cards for children with special needs.

The app has been customised for local Arabic dialects and cultural standards. The content of the Babnoor App is validated by speech therapists, and it follows the standardised and globally accepted picture exchange communication system (PECS).

Sara Ahmed Baker, Autism Program Head at Dubai Autism Center, said: "The App offers a holistic approach to communicating with these unique children, who will now have continuous access to a powerful communication tool. Using the App will reduce dependence on physical methods and therapy, and we hope that at least 50% of children with special needs will adopt it wholeheartedly."

An initial batch of 130 tablets preloaded with the App, will be presented to the Dubai Autism Center in the 2015/2016 academic year. Additional batches of tablets will be distributed throughout other autism centers in the UAE during the course of the year.

"At du, we believe that seamless communication, enabled by technology is a basic human right. The Babnoor App accords autistic children this basic right on an intelligent platform offered in their dialect of choice. This will go a long way in meeting the communication requirements of children with special needs in the UAE," said Hala Badri, executive vice president, Brand and Communications, du. "This initiative is an essential ingredient to the continued steps taken by UAE organisations in working towards the Smart City vision, and our continued support of initiatives like this one is a natural extension of our unwavering commitment to the UAE community and all of its people."

The App is adaptable and can be customised to suit both institutional and personal needs based on the level of competency required. In addition, it provides the institution and the developer the option of improvising and further customising the App based on usage patterns and statistics collected, thus offering an improved product.

"We are extremely proud of the high levels of technology and customisation that has gone into creating the Babnoor App. We believe that it will revolutionise the way in which special needs children communicate and become an integral part of their lives - it will give them voice. Our hope is that it will reduce feelings of isolation that these children often experience and pave the way for them to integrate successfully into mainstream life," said Shadi Alhasan, chief executive officer, Flagship Projects.  

Five percent of revenues derived from du's Emirati Plan will be sourced to fund the Babnoor App, giving citizens the opportunity to be indirectly involved with this incredible initiative. The Babnoor App will initially only be available on iOS.