To Brittani Rollen, family is everything, and she is deeply passionate about helping parents with children who have special needs. As the mother of a once-nonverbal son, Brittani worked with her husband, Ryan, to develop an alternative speaking device, named The Tiny Talker, to help their son and other nonverbal children learn to communicate their needs.
Recently, Brittani, Ryan, and their son, Lucas, spoke with Shaun Rabb from FOX 4 Dallas-Fort Worth about the story behind the simple, low-cost push button speech tablet.
In the interview, Brittani explained, “Lucas was born with a rare genetic disorder called Joubert Syndrome, and he was nonverbal for a lot longer than most kids generally are. As you might imagine, that led to some issues with frustration on his part and on ours. He knew what he wanted to communicate and was not able to tell us, and we weren’t able to understand.”
The idea behind The Tiny Talker came about when Lucas was playing with a sound device and Ryan wondered why a similar device for speech did not already exist. Ryan turned to a friend in the manufacturing industry for help in connecting with someone who could make such a device.
“We drew out some designs on paper of what we wanted to see with the idea that it should be affordable for everybody, that you wouldn’t need insurance, and that if it broke, you wouldn’t be too upset about it,” Ryan said.
Beyond helping nonverbal children, the device is also able to help individuals who have suffered a stroke, which is something that runs in the Rollen family.
“We have a history of stroke in our own family and that has led Ryan to the thought that this could helpful for people who have temporary or maybe long-term loss of their speech due to stroke or similar issues,” Brittani added. “It’s not just for kids. It could have more global applications.”
To view the full interview, visit “Here & Now: The Tiny Talker” on the FOX 4 News website. The Rollen’s full story behind what led to The Tiny Talker can be found by visiting “The Tiny Talker by Ryan and Brittani Rollen” on the Special Strong website. To learn more about the device, go to The Tiny Talker website.
Brittani Wilmore Rollen is an attorney in the Trial & Appellate Litigation practice of Jackson Walker’s Fort Worth office. She represents midstream energy clients and other condemning authorities in litigation, including condemnation proceedings and trials. She also provides support regarding general business litigation involving real estate, financial institutions, and employment. Brittani obtained her J.D. from Baylor Law School and her B.B.A. from Texas A&M University.