CYPRESS, TX – Archer Calder, a teenager from Cypress, Texas, couldn’t talk to his younger sister, Della. She has a rare genetic condition called Bainbridge-Ropers syndrome, which leaves her unable to speak.
“Even though she couldn’t answer me, I still wanted to talk to her and tell her that I love her and that she means a lot to me,” Archer said.
After the family tried several expensive Augmentative and Alternative Communication (or AAC) programs to help Della communicate, Archer decided to use his coding skills and develop a program of his own called Freespeech. The app allows people to select buttons that represent words.
“Freespeech is different from many other pieces of AAC software. First, it’s free.” Archer said. “Freespeech differs from other AAC programs in that it is open source.”
The Freespeech website is free for everyone and other programmers can also add their features to the app.
Archer worked with other programmers to improve the app in the hope that Freespeech can help as many people as possible.
Editor’s note: This was originally published in August 2022.