Over the years, we’ve heard many stories about the Apple Watch has changed people’s lives through its fitnesses and health features. This weekend, a new feature from People tells the story of how the Noise app in watchOS 6 has helped a 21-year-old in Texas with autism improve his social skills.
Scott Bennett tells People that his youngest son Sam had always struggled to keep his speaking voice down, despite being a social butterfly:
Sam, 21, is on the autism spectrum, and though he’s the epitome of a social butterfly — “People just fall in love with him,” Scott tells PEOPLE — he’s long struggled with an exceptionally loud speaking voice. “He just never had the ability to modulate it,” says Scott, 59. “For years we’ve been struggling with this, since he started talking… and the voice level is really, really, really loud.”
According to Scott, Sam will initially respond to being asked to use his “inside voice,” but that is only temporarily and his voice gradually gets louder again. For the Bennett family, this significantly hinders their ability to go places together:
“We just can’t go places. He’s also got a short attention span, too, so you put all these things together, and it’s hard on the family,” says Scott. “You learn to adapt, but it’s always tough, and especially for a guy like me who thrives on silence, I got blessed with the loudest human being on the planet.”
That’s where the Apple Watch’s noise app comes into play. After updating his Apple Watch to watchOS 6, Scott noticed the new Noise app – and he instantly thought of how it could help Sam with his communication skills. At this point, Scott says he had “tried everything” else with no luck.
“My first thought was, ‘I gotta try this with Sam. Why didn’t I think of this sooner?’ Because we had tried everything,” Scott says.
Scott then showed Sam how the Noise app on Apple Watch works, including how the decibel measure increases in real-time based on volume level. Sam was instantly able to use the Noise app to monitor the volume of his own voice:
“He immediately saw that and started using his own voice to make it work, and then immediately started talking really quietly,” he says. “I was like, you gotta be kidding me. My wife Cristy is not gonna believe this. I don’t believe what I’m seeing.”
Now, when Sam is speaking too loudly, Scott says that he can “simply flash Sam his watch to adjust his volume.” Scott says that using the Noise app to monitor Sam’s volume level makes “things a lot more tolerable for us and our family.”
“There’s 5 million of these folks [with special needs] out there, and every one of them is different, and has different issues and needs. And it’s really hard to make use of all the technology that’s out there,” Scott says. “I’m sure there’s other things out there that my son could benefit from, it’s just, who has the time to go through them and sort through all these things? I just happened to see one thing and it really made a difference for me, and I’m excited enough to want to share with other people.”
Read the full piece from People right here.
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