Like a lot of autistics, I sometimes lose my ability to speak clearly. Usually from being tired or stressed or in shutdown. But can still usually type ok. So when I heard about a free app designed for that very eventuality, I had to try it out.
The app is called Emergency Chat and is available for both iOS and Android phones. When you open it, you get a message that reads:
I gave you my phone because I can’t use it process speech right now, but I am still capable of text communication. My hearing and tactile senses are extremely sensitive in this state, so please refrain from touching me. Please keep calm, and proceed to the next screen that has a simple chat client through which we can communicate.”
Luckily, this message can be edited so you can get it to say whatever you want. Because,while the default is well written, it may not apply to everyone. For example, I am going to remove the heading of Meltdown because it’s not accurate. I cannot communicate even by text during a meltdown. Perhaps Shutdown might be better for me?
The next screen you get is a simple chat interface that works really well. You can adjust a few things, like font size, in settings. Here’s what it looks like:
I’ve messed around a bit with it, chatting to my daughter, but haven’t tested it during a time when I’ve “lost my words”. But so far so good. It’s easy to use and could be quite useful. At least it’s one more option in my toolbox.