CYPRESS, Texas -- Archer Calder, a teenager from Cypress, Texas, grew up unable to have a conversation with his younger sister Della. She has a rare genetic disorder called Bainbridge-Ropers syndrome that leaves her unable to speak.
"Even though she wasn't able to talk back to me, I would still want to talk to her and tell her that I loved her and that she meant a lot to me," said Archer.
After the family tried several expensive augmentative and alternative communication (or AAC) apps to help Della communicate, Archer decided to use his coding skills and develop an app on his own called Freespeech. The app allows people to choose buttons that represent words.
"Freespeech is different from many other pieces of AAC software. Number one, it's free." said Archer. "Freespeech is also different than any other AAC apps in that it's open source."
The Freespeech website is free for anyone to use, and other coders can also add their own features to the app.
Archer has worked with other coders to improve the app in hopes that Freespeech can help as many people as possible.
Editor's note: This was originally published in August 2022.