Assisted communication for those in a community who could not speak, had for generations consisted entirely of traditional devices and methods such as books, boards, gestures, and symbols. But the advent of the digital age invariably brought about a global demand for analog assisted communication methods to be converted into software and become readily available online. The challenge was to adapt proven analog methods to suit various upcoming digital and smart devices whilst also making them cheaper and easy to use for the general public.

‘Athuru Mithuru’ is a revolutionary Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) application that aims to give those without a voice, the ability and independence to communicate with the world around them. The first of its kind in Sri Lanka, the app is available in English, Sinhala and Tamil for absolutely free, and gives children and adults affected by speech impediments a voice at the tap of a picture. It is a user-friendly app which enables caregivers, therapists and educators to bring out the maximum potential in the case of children while also offering independence to its adult users.

Athuru Mithuru is easy-to-use and customizable. It is also device independent allowing users to change devices with ease, as preferences are stored on an external server and can be used as a backup. The app also allows users to record their own audio and upload pictures that might not be part of the pre-programmed data available on the app, giving them a personalized experience.

The app was launched on 2nd April 2018, parallel to Autism Awareness Day, and reinforces Dialog’s commitment to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals which aim to build a sustainable future for all by 2030, achieved by reducing inequalities (Goal 10) and focusing on industry, innovation and infrastructure (Goal 9).