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One word at a time: This app helps children on the autism spectrum with speech development

By Yoniel Acebuche Published Apr 02, 2024 6:54 pm Updated Apr 02, 2024 7:58 pm

Vincent Rocha was initially frustrated upon learning his son Noah had Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD, but he continues to draw inspiration from his child to improve his condition.

Noah, who is now six years old, was diagnosed with ASD at the age of two, something that got Vincent emotional.

"During that time as a father I cannot show my feelings, hindi ko pwede ipakita sa kanila na umiiyak ako," he said in an interview with PhilSTAR L!fe. "As a parent of a child with autism, I draw inspiration from the challenges my son [faced]."

It took about two weeks for the father to move on so that he could find a way to aid his son. 

"We're very lucky because we acepted it fast, 'di na kami tumagal ng buwan para i-accept. So when we accepted it fast, mas nakagawa na kami ng action for it," he said.


During the diagnosis, Vincent's parenting life went full circle, as finding a solution to aid his son is not easy. He took three months to book for developmental pedia, three months for a second opinion, and another three months for a third opinion until they were advised that they would need a speech therapist and an occupational therapist.

"Talagang nag adjust, talagang nag-turn around, we made sure that we tried to understand him, hindi lang puro, anak ganito maglaro, ganito tamang maglaro etc, its more on, bakit ba siya gan'on maglaro, paano ako makakaconnect sa kanya. So its very helpful also na may nagpayo sa aming speech pathologist," he told L!fe.

One word at a time

To help his son on the spectrum with speech development, Vincent, together with Enrico Aquino and filmmaker Mark Meiley, founded an app called MYLO or My Little One in July 2023.

This pioneering speech development system was designed to assist individuals with ASD with speech delays as early intervention is crucial for enhancing social skills and learning.

The way it works is the app offers a video modeling method that provides clear enunciation guidance for parents, fostering speech development right from their smartphones. The technique aims to aid nonverbal children in developing from zero words to their first word, understanding what is asked of them, and expressing themselves better. 

"MYLO is good for us because we have something to follow at home. Kumbaga hindi na ako maghahanap pa ng activities as a parent. Tuloy tuloy na 'yung interventions namin sa bahay after ng therapy sessions," Vincent said.

The app works alongside the valuable contributions of speech therapists and medical professionals, adding to a holistic approach to speech development rather than substituting professional care.

Vincent shared that the method works for his son, "so since it works for my son, paano kaya kung mas maraming matulungan nito method 'na to?"

He added that MYLO is not a replacement for therapy, but a powerful tool for parents.

Navigating a parent's duty to a child within the spectrum

Vincent admitted that being a parent to a child with autism is not easy. It is a long process, and you must be courageous to step on it, "If you're feeling down, it's fine. It's part of it. Tanggapin natin."

However, Vincent also emphasized the value of positive energy while trusting your child's doctors during therapy, as this can help them reach their full potential.

"Huwag mawawalan ng pag-asa. Tuloy-tuloy lang. Celebrate each milestone."

Autism in the Philippines

ASD, commonly known as autism, is a global condition affecting approximately 1% or 75 million individuals worldwide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In the Philippines, around 1.2 million cases of ASD are reported, and approximately one in 100 children is diagnosed with autism.

This underscores the scarcity of accessible and affordable occupational and speech therapy services for Filipino parents with children diagnosed with ASD.

MYLO Speech Buddy is available for download on the Apple Store and Google Play Store platforms.