14-year-old Della Calder is nonverbal due to a rare genetic condition called Bainbridge-Ropers Syndrome, which is caused by changes in the ASXL3 gene.
According to Spark for Autism, it is linked to feeding difficulties, low muscle tone, intellectual disability, and sometimes autism. Della was just one of four people known to have the condition when she was diagnosed in 2012, but doctors have since become more educated on the syndrome.
50 percent of people with Bainbridge-Ropers Syndrome also have autism, including Della.
Since she was young, she engaged in repetitive behaviors, such as shaking her head, made poor eye contact, had difficulty with language and disliked changes to her routine.
Her 16-year-old brother Archer has always wanted to easily communicate with his sister, but realized that she didn’t have any easy, affordable access to communication tools. He knew that if his sister struggled with this, so did a lot of other families.
Archer made it his mission to find a way to help others who are struggling with these same communication gaps.
Archer worked hard to create something to assist these people who needed more affordable options, and in January 2020, he coded an app called Free Speech.
Free Speech is a program that helps non-verbal people and allows the use of a series of buttons to produce sentences that helps them communicate easily. The buttons have visual symbols to represent different words. Custom keys are included, but the app comes pre-loaded with an expansive vocabulary.
Whether it’s mobile, desktop, or a tablet, Free Speech will work on any device that has an internet connection.
Before putting the app out there, Archer posted a video of his sister trying it out on TikTok. Thousands of people fell in love with the idea, and Archer worked with other developers to help bring his idea to life.
“Even if it helps one person – even if that one person is my sister – it’s still worth it to me, to put in those hours,” Archer to Upworthy.
Learn more in the video below, or click here to visit the Free Speech website.
Support those fighting Breast Cancer at The Breast Cancer Site for free! →