Technology Gives Young Boy A Voice

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – For nine-year-old Andrew Patitucci, music was once the only form of expression. Born with cornelia de lange syndrome, the developmental disorder affected his size and speech.

“It was very difficult for him. There were times when he and I were so frustrated because he would be trying to tell me something and I would have no idea what he was saying,” said Beth Patitucci, Andrew’s Mom.

Unable to tell his mother when he was hungry or in pain, Andrew often threw tantrums and had problems at school.

“It was very frustrating, heart breaking,” Beth said.

That is, until an iPad application provided Andrew with a voice.

With proloquo2go, Andrew selects icons, words and phrases, which are then read aloud by the software.

The app also features a keyboard, which allows users to communicate exactly what’s on their minds.

It’s something speech pathologist Dina Weitzman says makes a big difference.

“They’re able to have relationships with their families. They’re able to communicate with their doctors, which is important. They are able to often times talk over the phone, which they were not able to do before,” explained Weitzman.

At $189, she says the app is a good alternative to typical augmentative and alternative communication devices. Not only are they much larger, they cost between $5,000 and $8,000.

“As long as they have the physical ability to use it on a smaller device, absolutely. It’s a much cheaper option than a dedicated AAC device. So, it’s more accessible for people to get and quicker to get,” said Weitzman.

But for Beth, it’s about more than cost.

“Having this device enabled him to say I’m here, I can hear you. I know what’s going on. And I have thoughts and I have feelings and he gets to express them.”

So far, proloquo2go is only available on the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. You can purchase and download the software on the app store.

Reported by Nicole Brewer, CBS Philly

More from Nicole Brewer

One Comment

  1. mercedes says:

    This is awesome!! My two year old daughter also has Cornelida De Lange Syndrome & works with an IPAD with therapist. Im not so sure that this App will be as handy as it it for Andrew since her brain didnt form normally so shes mentally challenged and also has severe hearing loss & severe vision loss. Does Andrew has any hearing or vision loss? also does he have any mental problems? please let me know thankyou and im so happy for you guys to finally have a great way to communicate Andrews thoughts and feelings!

  2. Jessie Keller says:

    Yay for Andrew and yay for Proloquo2go. My son uses an iPad and an iTouch with P2G on it! Love the guys that created P2G. Keep talking Andrew. You deserve to tell the world what’s on your mind :)

  3. Quinten Cash's Mom says:

    Our 3 year old son was recently diagnosed with Velo-Cardio-Facial Syndrome and Apraxia of Speech. We just got the I-Pad and the I-Pod Touch-4th Generation(with a built in camera) with the Prologue2Go app and it’s going great! At his age and his inability to read yet, it’s going to take some time to fully understand it’s function and use it to it’s full potential. But for now, it’s nice because you can customize it with personalized pictures, so he can see what he wants to say. MUCH better than those huge, heavy, bulky, expensive ACC devices that scream handicap. These make your child “cool” and more like every other kid carrying around the newest thing in technology. FYI-the Otterbox cases(for both the I-pad and I-pod) are awesome and the most durable cases we could find. I highly recommend them, especially if small children will be handling the devices.
    Having your non-verbal child tell you, “I love you Mom”…PRICELESS!

  4. Brittany McClellan says:

    look at my cute lil cousin, i cant wait to come over and be able to talk with him :)

  5. tracey cloyd says:


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