AAC - Communicating Wants/Needs/Ideas


Entries into each section on this wiki will be structured so that this basic information is available. We will include the TITLE of the application, with a link to the broad description and rating on iTunes. The ICON is simply a screen shot of what will show up on the device. WHO describes the student you have used this particular app with. WHERE indicates whether the app was used at home, school, or in therapy. HOW describes the manner in which you used it. This is also the place to elaborate on other ideas for application. WHY/WHY NOT provides the contributer an opportunity to indicate the value of the app, whether they would use it again, and rationale for the opinion. We invite anyone else who has used the app to comment on anything about it... different whos, hows and whys....


ICON
TITLE
(WHAT)
APPLICATION
(WHO, WHERE, HOW)
VALUE
(WHY/WHY NOT)
COST
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Proloquo2Go
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Proloquo2Go is product from AssistiveWare that provides a dynamic communication display for people who need AAC. Here are a couple of examples of initial uses by the child in a speech therapy setting. The goal will be to expand use to their classrooms.
1. for a 5 year old child using PECs at a basic level, I've programmed one page with 8 pictures just for him with his reinforcing items pictured. He chooses what he wants at the moment by selecting the cell with the pictured item. Voice output then says what he wants.
2. For a regular ed kindergartener with good receptive language skills, I started by programming a few pages he can navigate between--each page has an overlay for specific activities such as a game. 16 cells were on each page, and I modeled use of specific words to expand on his functions of communication. (e.g.modeling use of words like 'help'or a phrase 'This is fun!') He was quick to understand navigating pages.


Submitted by: Ruth Morgan
Additional ideas/comments from others: Thanks for sharing, Ruth. I have this app on my iPhone and have found it to be very helpful when we are at AAC community outings as a supplemental device, especially when the batteries on their communication devices are low at the end of the day. We used P2G for choosing colors and materials to complete a craft project and it was easy to change the preferences in the app to adjust the size of the cells for different students. (Comments from Deanna Wagner)

Update on Version 2:
PLQ2G has made some terrific changes in being able to manage the look of the display. You can now easily control the number of rows and columns through settings-->Appearance (row control is under "Advanced"). You can also manage cell color, background color and cell visibility easily. While you are in editing, you can click on a bunch of cells and hide or dim them within a few seconds. You can manage the space between the cells and shift text to top or bottom easily. It is also now possible top lock the scroll if you want to AND you can set the view as "free positioning" so that you can stick your folder or message in a particular place on the screen, without having it snap into some other position. (Comments from Laurel Richardson Buell)
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As apps go, this is expensive. You don't buy it on a whim, but definitely cheaper than dynamic display communication devices in the past. The value of this depends on the needs of the students you have. Before purchasing for a specific child, you may wish to have the child evaluated by an Assistive Technology Team to see if this is the right system.
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$189.99
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Sonics Pics
I love this ipad/iphone app for quite a few reasons. It is easy to use and you can share what you have made as it converts the "story" to a movie you can send to parents, grandparents, teachers, etc. The receivers don't need to be as tech savvy as the user!! It allows the user to easily choose pictures from the photo album to put into their story. For example, with an iphone or ipad2 you can take pictures of an event and they are stored on your "Camera Roll." When creating the story in Sonic Pics you tap on "add pictures" and it automatically takes you to your picture file. The user can then tap the pics they want or use partner assisted scanning so they can choose their photos. They can record the story using their device or you can record for them using the pictures as a base of what to say.

It is cheap (2.99) and cane be used a variety of ways to share past events with others, retell favorite stories, provide pictures and definitions for vocabulary practice, provided science/social study content with voice and picture support, etc. You are only hampered by your own imagination. In one of my favorite sessions with a HS nonverbal kiddo with autism, he actively tapped on his favorite Sonic Pic stories to share with me while we chatted about them using Proloquo2go on the same ipad. It was most memorable!

by Susan Norwell
Additional ideas/comments from others:
Great value. I loved it at 4.99 and now it is just 2.99!
$2.99
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TouchChat HD - AAC with WordPower
I have used the WordPower24 with Phrases for evaluation purposes. I like how "I want" is displayed prominently on the main page. It makes it easy for offering choices. Logical branching links with "to play" "to go" "to drink" and "to eat." We often use crackers, chips, yogurt or fruit snacks for evaluations. How lucky that these options were already pre-programmed! In order to edit, you need to remember to make a copy of the vocab (this takes a couple of minutes). Once you switch to a copy of the vocab file that can be edited, it is very easy to choose Edit Page from the Menu, touch a cell, Edit This Button, and import a photo from the camera roll. (In the settings menu, you can turn Allow Editing = OFF.)

This app was particularly engaging for the evaluation of a 9 year old boy with autism during snack in his classroom. He learned after only one model to navigate the phrases "I want" followed by "to eat" and then selected from the snack items. He enjoyed navigating back to HOME and finding the SOCIAL category to say "great" or "That's cool!" This particular student is good at imitating sentences but has significant difficulty finding words on his own. This process helped him expand his speech.

Later, when the teacher was reading a story, this student was able to explore other groups of words, including animals, descriptors and nature words. In the Settings menu, you can decide under the "Tilt" menu if turning the device to the side will "Expand and Speak" or "Expand Only." This student enjoyed composing simple sentences (or watching the evaluator compose the sentence) using the words and symbols and then tilting the device to see just the text. In this way, he was able to point to each word and verbalize simple sentences. Unfortunately, every time he touched the screen the sentence started speaking again from the beginning of the sentence. Here are the screenshots, landscape and portrait:
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Submitted by Deanna Wagner, MS/CCC-SLP
Additional ideas/comments from others:
I think this is a wonderful app! If you are going to evaluate the TouchChat app, I definitely recommend trying out the WordPower option. (You could get

I love the TouchChat feature of tilt or touch to expand, and sharing of the message window (copy to another app or e-mail as text).

WordPower adds nice features of color-coded sentence construction support, with extremely intuitive interface for phrases + categories.

The menus are very easy when editing a single button. Changing, hiding, moving, or copying multiple buttons is more complicated. The developer recommends using the desktop Chat software and sharing pages using an iShare account (extra fee). I have not used the sharing, though I found the Desktop Chat software easy for editing and saving/importing pages to be used on the NOVAchat dedicated device from Saltillo.

Spanish page sets are also available in 15-location without grammar support, and in 48-locations similar to WordPower options to manipulate verbs, plurals, and adjectives.
$299.99
+ $59
for WIN
editor

+$59/ 6mo. of iShare

or

$9.99 for
Lite version
(no speech output -synthetic or recorded)

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Answers: YesNo HD
In the most basic form, this app allows the student to use yes/no responses, with 5 different options for voices (man, woman, cartoon, girl, boy). You can also put in up to 6 custom text pages. For each button, you can type a label and record an audio message. You can also choose different colors for each cell. The picture pages have options for 6 pages and 4 lesson plans (24 choices).

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I used the picture pages in a developmental preschool with a student who has autism spectrum disorder. He liked choosing between drink and snack at the table in the structured classroom setting. He was less interested in the choices of items in the playground (table toys, swing, slide), even though the pictures were taken quickly and the items did not take long to modify. I found the text to be way too large, causing the photo to be quite reduced in size. Without text, there was still a blank spot where the text should go and the picture was not enlarged.

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I look forward to using this app again with other students who will benefit from the large text. I was thinking about initial letter/sound substitution games, using the recordings as prompts rather than answers (e.g., t, toy, /t/, what else starts with /t/).

Submitted by Deanna Wagner, MS/CCC-SLP
Additional ideas/comments from others: I was in a preschool classroom at Foundation for Blind Children this week, and they told me this app is used daily for their CircleTime. Because the items are large and the program is easy for the teachers to navigate, it makes it an ideal introduction to students with limited vision for signing in (find your name/photo), choosing a song, and choosing an activity. They love the amount of blank space around the cells and options to choose black backgrounds.
The HD version for the iPad allows for use of photos, while the iPhone version is text only.

I was disappointed that the photos were so small, considering that only two were displayed at one time.

The interface was really easy, and items could be quickly modified.

I like the options page with the menu of all picture pages viewed as thumbnails and arranged with tabs. This could be used to help a student begin to navigate choices. For other students, it would be too easy for them to touch the OPTIONS button and erase recordings.

update: since I posted this review, the iPhone app has been updated to include an option to choose from two photos.

Also, when you select "Picture Only" option it now fills the entire cell, so my problems with text on picture buttons was addressed (though I would still like to adjust the text size).

A "big button option" moves your selection to the middle of the screen and stays there for 2/4/6 seconds.

Finally, the button setup interface is much easier in the newer version, and students are less likely to erase.
$3.99 HD

$1.99 for iPhone

FREE version is also available
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Sono Flex
I just downloaded this app and have just begun to explore it, but I find it very interesting. I was able to attach the iPad to a projector and show the vocabulary to a group of adults with developmental disabilities. The enjoyed telling me what buttons to push to create simple messages using core words. We enjoyed being able to use the predictable Fitzgerald keyboard to find pronouns or nouns, followed by verbs with appropriate verb tense, and then add either a describing word or a noun from a category. We set up the vocabulary so the home button would switch between core words and various contexts. During this session, we primarily discussed plans for Octoberfest and what we would see/do/eat/drink at the party. Using a fingerswipe to find additional items in a category is a nice feature. Afterwards, I realized that I could have changed one of the four context buttons on the core page to Halloween, making navigation a little more efficient.
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Here were some comments from my clients: cute graphics, why not use "more" sign?, I like the color (coding), "food and eating" should separate out drinks, too bad the message window has to always be at the top.

We were easily able to change the picture for snack, both using the photo album and the photo camera. I love having the camera integrated right in the edit menu (rather than multi-tasking and using the camera app, and then returning to locate the picture taken from the photo album).

Later, when I went to modify the food and eating page, I found out how these items can be moved around, but it was not as intuitive as holding an individual button in order to edit the label or picture.

Submitted by Deanna Wagner, MS/CCC-SLP
Additional ideas/comments from others:

Update from Deanna - editing can now be turned off in the settings - Yeah!
I am happy that this app is available for evaluation purposes before spending $99.

As we indicated in other entries on this page, decisions regarding the most appropriate vocabulary app should involve a team process.

I found editing to be a little cumbersome, so it would be important to back-up regularly (sync to a computer with iTunes).

I think the options for switching four contexts on the core page to be ingenious. However, I am sure that the 2nd grade boy with autism that I want to try this with next week will figure this out and try to edit buttons and contexts on his own (by holding down various buttons until something happens). I did not find a place in settings to turn off editing.

I enjoyed seeing the recent phrases listed, but I wish they could be shared (other than using a screenshot). I would like options to send messages via e-mail or facebook (or even just copy/paste into another app).
$99

(Lite version is FREE for evaluation purposes)
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GoTalk Now
I have had lots of fun using this app in a developmental preschool. It has been particularly helpful for the children with autism spectrum disorder. We were able to quickly create separate screens for various activities: arrival, outside, free play (toys), art, snack, dismissal. We started with 4-locations, but it is easy to expand to 9 or 16 cells. We have also used the video feature to show the students putting away their backpacks on arrival and getting on the bus at the end of school. The videos have also been particularly engaging for blowing bubbles (see screen shots below). I have recommended this feature for another 3 y.o. student in a different school who has a hearing impairment, since they can use the videos to show ASL signs.

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Submitted by Deanna Wagner, MS/CCC-SLP
Additional ideas/comments from others:
This app is very easy to customize and it gives some navigation control to the user with arrows and the home key.

I like it as a mid-level AAC device, but I would be cautious recommending it as a personal communication system because it does not have a keyboard option for creating messages. It also does not link from cell to cell to sequence a message.

Updates now allow you to copy buttons and swap locations, but I would still like to see a hide/show option as vocabulary needs change.

Update Sept, 2013: I am happy to say that buttons can now be hidden using a "disable" function that is really great.
$79

can add text-to-speech as an in-app purchase of $.99 per voice.

Page-shariing and dropbox back-ups make this a very flexible app for multiple purposes.
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Speak4Yourself
We have had a number of families asking us about iPad or iPhone apps to be used as back-ups for devices with Unity (such as the Vantage or ECO). They are looking at an alternative to use at the end of the school day when the batteries are nearly dead and we are meeting out in the community.

Last week I uploaded the app and played with it a little before meeting students and families at a community outing where we played hide and seek and filled in mad libs that targeted parts of speech. I was pleased to see features similar to hide/show, using what the developer calls "babble." It was also gratifying to note that words cannot be programmed in more than one place. There were nice patterns for adding morphology for plurals, adjectives, and verb tenses with linking buttons very similar to minspeak. The icons themselves are from the same library.

One student in particular is having trouble carrying around her heavy Vanguard. She was quite interested in the iPad. She was able to bring the device very close to her face so she could see the tiny icons and successfully found "eat" and enjoyed exploring all of the food items. She was similarly able to find "drink" to request a Sprite. Unfortunately, there are no options for changing the cell size. Also, the symbols are not in the same location as they are on the Vanguard, so this would slow her down if she were to switch back and forth between devices. For some students this would not be an issue, but it is a selling point for the minspeak application because there is such a large vocabulary to remember and motor patterns that become automatic can really speed up message construction.

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Babble On


Submitted by Deanna Wagner, MS/CCC-SLP
Additional ideas/comments from others:
This is a pretty expensive app, but it is robust. It is similar in theory to the LAMP Words for Life sold through Prentke Romich Company.

Constructing grammatically correct sentences using this app is seamless, provided you can remember where all the words are located. If you forget, you can go into edit mode and try to add the word on a blank cell. You will be notified where that word is located to avoid duplication.

Update Sept, 2013: Sorry I didn't post this sooner... The SLPs who designed it are happily blogging about their progress at this site:
http://www.speakforyourself.org/#about-us


Also, look for great ideas and comments by parents and professionals on their Facebook page
$199.99
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So Much 2 Say
This is a really nice app as a supplemental choice board using real photos. You can choose navigation by categories (folders) on the home page or individual cards. I really enjoyed using the categories option with a preschool student when he was getting fussy at snack time because he did not want to share the M&Ms with the other kids. I was able to quickly take pictures of all snack items and add recordings in a snap. The incredibly valuable part of this app is the flexibility to decide which items to show and which ones to hide. When you hide a card it does not disappear! We were able to monitor how often he could ask for M&Ms (by hiding and showing the card), so he was able to sometimes choose a different snack item and leave some M&Ms for his peers.

I also like the passcode option on this device for locking students out of editing. Because it is on the main screen and not in the settings, it is easy to access, but I don't worry about the student seeing me access the button because I can quickly and easily change the password.

Submitted by Deanna Wagner, MS/CCC-SLP
Additional ideas/comments from others:
This is a really great app for some simple categorization and choice-making activities.

As an AAC system it is very limiting because it doesn't allow for construction of messages with more than one card.

Updated Feature:
✔ Drag 'n Drop sharing of card/categories between multiple iPads!
$24.99
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Scene & Heard
Scene & Heard is an interactive context based communication aid and learning tool. You can use a photo as a context for communication. It is easy to upload and modify.

I used this app to demonstrate ideas for visual scenes that we were programming on a Dynavox device with a group of adults at their Day Program. They enjoyed the English accent from the sample scenes. It was also fun seeing how the "Scene Actions" across the bottom could scroll. We discussed how the Dynavox has similar hot spots, but would use pop-ups for items that scroll across the bottom.

I really love how once you update a scene it gives you a back-up reminder and asked if you would like to email the new or revised scene to save on your computer. I also like the "default" feature, which allows you to pick which scene will open the next time you launch the program. We also discovered that you can make a hot spot link to another scene or to a video. What fun! Unfortunately, you need to capture the video when editing, no option for using videos from the photo library (yet).

Submitted by Deanna Wagner, MS/CCC-SLP

Additional ideas/comments:
Here is an idea for a parent who wanted the device to lock down after a certain amount of time because he was using a game as a reinforcer and the student did not want to stop playing.

You can create a scene with a picture of the student checking his schedule or checking his contingency map.

Then turn on notifications for this program in your iPad settings. In the Scene & Heard app, set a schedule for the scene to be selected. At that time, the student gets a notification that Scene & Heard is ready. The student needs to select "Launch" instead of "Cancel", but this can be a teachable moment. If you keep an eye on the clock, you will know if the student cancelled the notification and can help him to launch the Scene & Heard app normally to find the scene that is appropriate for the moment.

Additional ideas/comments:
  • Version 2.0 works on both iPad and iPhone.
  • Is switch-accessible with RJ Cooper Interface
  • All messages are recorded, not text-to-speech
  • I think this is a great addition to other AAC introductory options. Since it does not include a message window or a way to compose sentences word-by-word, I don't think it should be anyone's only communication tool.
$49.99
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Avaz - AAC App for Autism (Augmentative Picture Communication Software for Children with Special Needs)
This app is available for both iPad and Android devices. I used it with a young man in India who was doing a writer's workshop with us. He as actually able to access the tablet with his toe! He used the word prediction with symbols features to support English, since it is a second language for him. This same feature would be very helpful for many of my students who struggle with spelling. Once the message is composed, it can be shared with social networking when connected to WIFI. There is also a really slick feature that I saw him using that allows you to compose a message and quickly "save" it to a letter on the keyboard page. As long as you remember which letter was used to store which message, quickly accessing messages using the "load" followed by one letter is really great strategy. It is much more difficult to load text files from other communication software. I would probably pick a few letters that always have the same message and a few letters that are used regularly for messages that change.

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Submitted by Deanna Wagner, MS/CCC-SLP

Additional ideas/comments:
Although the price may seem a little high, this app is just as good as the competition. It has text-to-speech with symbol-supported word prediction. For students who need symbol supports, you can start with a large vocabulary that includes a quick words page as well as core words for message construction with high frequency words. In addition, there are folders that are ready for you to quickly add your own categories.

There is a free/Lite version which allows you to use an in-app purchase of the life-time subscription ($149.99)
$149.99
(also available in Spanish for the same price)
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LAMP Words for Life
I have used this app with students who are new to Unity and those who have already had devices with Unity. In both cases, the most important element has been modeling language at a level that is appropriate for the student. For one 11 year old student (with Angelman Syndrome) I recently evaluated in his home, we used the My Play Home app to act out typical vocabulary for daily routines. He had a SpringBoard in the past and he quickly was able to use the family icon for mom and dad, the apple icon to find foods, and the home icon to talk about rooms in the house. With another student that I evaluated at school, I was able to model 4-5 word sentences while playing with the Cookie Doodle and Pizza apps. He was able to watch and imitate my use of -ing verbs. We used the Vocabulary Builder to highlight just the words we practiced so he could tell his therapist what we did (using past tense verbs).

Submitted by Deanna Wagner, MS/CCC-SLP

Additional ideas/comments:
This app is a great value, particularly because it is the only one that allows you to load a list of words specific to the situation, change the list, load another list, and turn all buttons back on.

You can also use the WordFinder to determine whether a word has been programmed with an icon sequence (and it shows the icon sequence). Use screen shots to create cheat sheets if you don't want to download PASS from www.prentrom.com on your desktop PC.
$299.99