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Dialog empowers the speech and hearing impaired with Athuru Mithuru


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Dialog Axiata PLC, Sri Lanka’s premier connectivity provider, has launched ‘Athuru Mithuru’, the country’s first tri-lingual (Sinhala, Tamil and English) Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) application for those with language, speech or hearing impairments, in line with its efforts to empower traditionally marginalised groups using technology. 

Speech impairments can be caused due to many reasons such as Cerebral Palsy and Autism, as a result of deafness or other issues; and can also occur later in life as a result of accidents, operations, stroke or diseases that affect the ability to communicate. The Authuru Mithuru trilingual android smartphone app aims to assist Sri Lankans with communication difficulties and encourage them to easily express their needs, thoughts and feelings via the app. 

Developed based on extensive human-centred research guided by academics and practitioners in the field, and localised to adopt Sri Lanka’s major languages and culture, the Athuru Mithuru app allows users to communicate using a preset combination of picture and voice covering the most common topics. In addition, these can be customised/personalised by each user and carer to suit the user’s individual needs, with the addition of new pictures and recordings. 

Further, the app is device-independent, meaning every user’s configuration is stored on a secure external server accessible only to themselves, eliminating the need for the user to reconfigure the app every time they change their device. Dialog users can access the Athuru Mithuru app free of data charges on its network.

Commenting on the launch, Dialog Axiata PLC Group Chief Executive Supun Weerasinghe said, “The launch of Athuru Mithuru further reinforces Dialog’s commitment to enriching Sri Lankan lives using technology, along with our continuous efforts with regards to the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), specifically Goal 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure) and Goal 10 (Reduced Inequality). Through this launch, we hope to empower the marginalised and provide an opportunity to enhance communication.” 

Discussing the app, Shermi Nanayakkara, Speech Therapist and Manager of the Ratmalana Audiology Centre said, “The Athuru Mithuru app provides parents, children and caretakers who engage closely with those with speech impairments, an opportunity to mitigate the multiple challenges they face with regards to communication. It allows those affected to communicate more easily and express their ideas and feelings in a way that those around them understand.”

Athuru Mithuru is available on the Google Play Store, free of charge, for all Android smartphones and tablets.

 


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