Picture that!

black and white pictogram of two peple. one is talking, one is making a sad face (Picture: iReports)
A picture can say more than a thousand words: when communications fails (Picture: iReports)

The new iPicto app for iPhone, iPod Touch and the iPad can quickly provide support and clarification in communication with people with intellectual disabilities and/or reduction in communication.

So this helps for example people with autism, Asperger, dementia, brain damage and/or in rehabilitation with a large data base of more than 4,500 pictograms and visualisations, clearly classified into 37 categories.

The pictograms are quick to look through with a simple finger or thumb movement and to show to the other person what you want to say. iPicto helps to ensure that the person can understand something quickly, without you having to struggle for words.

iPicto allows saving or sending the pictograms/visualisation by mail. With this, affected people can even communicate over the web or the phone more clearly.

For those who do not know yet if this suits them, they can test the light version of the app for free. The full version is still very cheap; it only costs $ 1.99 in the Apple iTunes.

After the app is downloaded, iPicto will be directly applicable. Easy use helps to ensure that you can quickly and effectively choose an icon. This makes it easy for many everyday situations to react to things, where you or the others are not understood.

Because simple images often speak louder than words, it can be a very valuable addition to recognition and understood.

Pictures of use

The MyHandicap team tested the iPicto for you and had great fun with it. With its simple black and white graphics, the app is greatly usable by autistic people too who live the “less is more”. Some pics have coloured backgrounds, such as green for positives and red for negatives which makes the pictures even clearer.

However, for full communication, for example by email, some written words are still necessary to give a context. Very useful here is the “alfabet” function that offers big letters. On the iPad, it is possible to add a text directly under any pictogram.

iPad and iPhone with opened app showing many different pictograms (Picture: iReports)
iPicto offers over 4000 different pictograms (Picture: iReports)

Many more categories are available in the full version such as the numbers, which come along with dots for visualisation, or animals, Food & Drinks, Emotions, weather and many more.

The visualisations designed by the Belgian company Sclera VZW. Bart Serrien, caregiver in the day centre, had the idea to redo the old pictograms on computer which they already had at the centre.

Together with his brother, Sam Serrien, who was working at an IT-company, Bart started up Sclera VZW. You see, the content quality of iPicto is guaranteed.

The visualisations are clear, simple and appealing to use. This will be complex issues at a glance. Complex communications and/or messages are suddenly very easily done.

The only bad thing about this app: Old iPhone 3G is overwhelmed by the mass of data. Newer versions of the i-series, however, are perfectly suitable for this communication devise.

Thank you, iReports, for providing MyHandicap with this article.


Text: M. Plattner / iReports

Pictures: iReports