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Apps for AAC on iPad, iPhone and iTunes

What is AAC?

AAC stands for Augmentative and Alternative Communication and it relates to all the tools and strategies that we use with people who have little or no speech.

AAC tools can be high tech options such as speech generating devices, low-tech options, such as symbol boards and communication books, as well as no-tech options such as Key Word Signing. In recent years, many people have started using the iPad for AAC.

With so many AAC apps available through the App Store, the Spectronics Consultancy Team would like to provide you with some tips and tools to help you find the right app.

Top tips for successful AAC implementation on the iPad:

  • Lock your chosen AAC app to the bottom dock of your iPad, so it is always easy to find and access
  • Investigate using Guided Access to make your iPad a dedicated communication device
  • Consider limiting other distractions (entertainment apps, YouTube, music, videos) on the iPad
  • Take screen captures of communication pages, email these photos and print them out as paper backups
  • Personalise vocabulary with your own images and words
  • Make communication fun, engaging and purposeful
  • Model, model, model… no matter what AAC app you choose, make sure you provide many opportunities to model using the device regularly and consistently in a variety of environments

Choosing the right AAC app

There are many considerations you need to take into account when selecting the right AAC app for the person you are supporting. These may include:

  • what symbols are being used;
  • what speech and voice options there are;
  • what degree of customisation is available and how easy is it to program;
  • whether you are able to back up and share communication sets;
  • how you access the app, either directly or indirectly through the use of a switch; and
  • what pre-programmed vocabulary comes on the app.

The individual you are supporting will also have their own set of unique needs in relation to the AAC system that will suit them.

We call the process by which a person’s strengths, abilities and needs are matched to available tools and strategies FEATURE MATCHING (Shane and Costello, 1994).

The Spectronics Consultancy Team have recently released an app that finds apps – the AAC Ferret!

It has a growing database of approximately 300 apps that have been evaluated according to the features they offer. You simply select any or all of the features you are looking for that match the skills of the individual you are supporting from a list. It will then filter the apps to show you those that match your search criteria.

There are many AAC app lists and feature matching resources out there that evaluate apps according to their features. These are helpful as a starting point, but the Ferret enhances your feature matching experience by:

  • filtering the apps based on your specific combination of criteria, also offering the ability to refine your original search;
  • providing a user friendly and intuitive app that finds apps for you and links you directly with the App Store description and screenshots;
  • allowing a PDF document to be generated with the results of your search;
  • providing in built support features such as preselected searches, a basic tutorial, info buttons for terminology definitions and email support and feedback.

Check out this brief webinar demonstrating the key features of the app.

The AAC Ferret will be useful to Speech Language Pathologists, Teachers, families and anyone wanting to make the right decision about which app they should download for their clients, students and family members with communication difficulties. Save yourself time and resources and let the ferret do the finding for you!

Get the AAC Ferret here and let us know what you think!

A small range of apps offering different features are highlighted below. Please note, this does not mean they are the only ones you need to consider, we always recommend a thorough speech pathology assessment and feature matching process be completed before a decision is made.

Spectronics APPraised AAC Apps

Proloquo2Go

 
Proloquo2Go
   

Short Description: Proloquo2Go® enables people to talk using symbols or typed text in a natural-sounding text-to-speech. It is a fully customisable AAC solution for the iPhone/iPod Touch and/or iPad.

Top 5 Features:

  1. Access to 14, 000 SymbolStix symbols and easily add your own photos.
  2. Pre-programmed vocabulary sets (Research-based : core word and basic communication) which is fully customizable.
  3. High quality text-to-speech voices, including 4 Australian voices. The unique feature of ExpressivePower, allows the use of sounds and expressions and personalisation for natural sounding intonation and personality to voices.
  4. Switch accessible (use the iPad screen or switch interfaces such as Applicator, Blue2, Switchbox and Switch2Scan).
  5. Share text in message window via email, Facebook, Twitter, and text message, or even copy and paste into other applications.

iPad Screenshot 1

Website links:


Touch Chat

 
TouchChat HD – AAC
   

Short Description: TouchChat is a comprehensive symbol and text-based AAC tool available for both iPhone/iPod Touch and iPad. For full information about the different versions of TouchChat in this link.

Top 5 Features:

  1. Access to SymbolStix library, and easily add your own photos.
  2. A LITE version with no speech is available to try the app out.
  3. Pre-programmed vocabulary sets are available, which are fully customizable.
  4. High-quality text-to-speech voices (US and British).
  5. Share text in message window via email, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and text message or even copy and paste into other applications.

iPad Screenshot 1

Website links:


Sonoflex

 
Sono Flex
   

Short Description: Sonoflex is a symbol and text based AAC system designed for both iPad and iPod touch. Also available on Android.

Top 5 Features:

  1. Access to SymbolStix library, and easily add your own photos.
  2. A LITE version is available to try the app out.
  3. Core vocabulary set provided, with some context/topic based boards also included.
  4. High-quality text-to-speech voices (US English).
  5. Fully customisable buttons, grids and folders.

iPad Screenshot 1

Website links:


TapSpeak Sequence

 
TapSpeak Sequence Plus
   

Short Description: TapSpeak Sequence allows recording and playing back of a sequence of messages and is designed for both iPad and iPod touch. For the full range of TapSpeak options, check out this link.

Top 5 Features:

  1. Access to 4,500 Dynavox Mayer-Johnson PCS in the Plus version or as a In-App Purchase, and easily add your own photos.
  2. Unlimited recording and sequence length.
  3. Save an unlimited number of sequences within the app and share these with other TapSpeak users.
  4. Switch Accessible (use the iPad screen or switch interfaces such as Applicator, Blue2, Switchbox and Switch2Scan).
  5. Ability to edit and modify existing sequences.

iPad Screenshot 1

Website links:


Scene & Heard

 
Scene&Heard
   

Short Description: Scene & Heard supports communication and learning through the use of Visual Scene Displays, and is designed for iPad and iPod touch.

Top 5 Features:

  1. Make scenes using your own photos, and also access Widgit symbols.
  2. A LITE version is available to try the app out.
  3. Record your own voice messages for scenes.
  4. Switch Accessible (use with switch interfaces such as Applicator, Switchbox and Switch2Scan).
  5. Link hotspots on page to photos and videos.

iPad Screenshot 1

Website links:

  • Scene & Heard developer page
  • Scene & Heard developer support page for user guide and fact sheets (navigate to downloads section)
  • Scene&Heard scene sharing (download or share scenes with others- navigate to scene sharing section):
  • Scene & Heard videos (navigate to video section)

SoundingBoard

 
Sounding Board
   

Short Description: SoundingBoard is a FREE app which allows you to create communication boards on your iPad or iPod touch.

Top 5 Features:

  1. Use your own photos, or access the AbleNet symbols.
  2. Create your own boards -from single button pages, up to 20 buttons per page.
  3. Record your own messages on each button (unlimited recording time).
  4. Switch accessible (use with switch interfaces such as Applicator, Blue2, Switchbox and Switch2Scan).
  5. Latest version now allows you to import and export communication boards.

iPad Screenshot 1

Website links:

  • SoundingBoard developer page
  • SoundingBoard developer support page for information and videos (click the ADDITIONAL INFORMATION tab to access these resources)
  • SoundingBoard on YouTube

AutisMate

 
AutisMate
   

Short Description: AutisMate is a comprehensive communication and behaviour tool, with Visual Scene Displays, choice boards and symbol-based grid AAC set. Other visual tools to support behaviour and social skills are also included. It is designed for the iPad.

Top 5 Features:

  1. Access to SymbolStix library, and easily add your own photos and videos.
  2. Video modelling, visual schedules, visual stories and other behavioural tools are included within the app.
  3. Personalisation and customisation is quick and easy.
  4. A LITE version is available to try the app out.
  5. Share all content via email from within the app.

iPad Screenshot 1

Website links:


Predictable

 
Predictable
   

Short Description: Predictable is a comprehensive text-based communication app available for both iPhone/iPod Touch and iPad. It is also now available on Android.

Top 5 Features:

  1. Word prediction with integrated learning of words.
  2. Switch Accessible (use with interfaces such as Applicator, Switchbox and Switch2Scan).
  3. High-quality text-to-speech voices (US, British and 2 Australian voices).
  4. Save commonly used sentences/phrases into the customisable phrase bank.
  5. Share messages via email, Facebook, Twitter, and text messages.

iPad Screenshot 1

Website links:

  • Predictable developer page
  • Predictable developer support page with user guide and fact sheets (navigate to downloads section)
  • Predictable videos (navigate to video section)

Verbally Premium

 
Verbally Premium
   

Short Description: Verbally Premium is a text-based communication app available for both iPhone/iPod Touch and iPad. Please note: Verbally is a FREE version of this app, but does not include all voices and features of Verbally Premium.

Top 5 Features:

  1. Uses a Word grid of 50 commonly used words as well as a keyboard.
  2. Word prediction with integrated learning of words.
  3. High-quality text-to-speech voices.
  4. Save commonly used sentences/phrases.
  5. Share messages via email.

iPad Screenshot 1

Website links:


ClaroCom Pro

 
ClaroCom Pro UK
   

Short Description: ClaroCom Pro is a comprehensive text-based communication app available for both iPhone/iPod Touch and iPad. Please note: ClaroCom is a less expensive version of this app, but does not include all voices and features of ClaroCom Pro.

Top 5 Features:

  1. Both Word and phrase prediction, as well as abbreviation expansion (or acronyms).
  2. High-quality text-to-speech voices, with Australian voice available as an In-App purchase.
  3. Save commonly used sentences/phrases, or access the large range of pre-programmed context-dependent phrases.
  4. Share text in message window via email, Facebook, Twitter, and iMessage, or even copy and paste into other applications.
  5. Rotate or Flip the device and app shows only the communication message in large text to show to your communication partner.

iPad Screenshot 1

Website links:


GoTalk Now!

 
GoTalk Now
   

Short Description: GoTalk NOW is a comprehensive AAC tool available for the iPad, with the ability to create both grid-based communication sets as well as Visual Scene Displays.

Top 5 Features:

  1. Access to ImagineSymbol library, or purchase SymbolStix or Widgit Symbols as In-App purchases. Also easily add your own photos or videos.
  2. A LITE version is available to try the app out.
  3. Create your own layouts with 1,4, 9, 16, or 25 locations per page, with your own recorded speech or with one of the text-to-speech voices (voices as in-app purchase)
  4. Fully customisable pages and buttons.
  5. Link videos, photos, audio, URLs to buttons.
  6. Switch accessible (use with switch interfaces such as Applicator, Switchbox and Switch2Scan).

iPad Screenshot 1

Website links:

  • GoTalk Now developer page
  • TouchChat developer support page (access to manual – click on the support tab on this page):
  • GoTalk Now videos (click the videos tab on this page):
  • GoTalk Now on YouTube

To access more information about AAC apps, check out our webinar on Spectronics Online.

If you require in-depth training and support for your organization, as well as support for implementing a range of AAC strategies and tools, have a look at our consultancy team services.

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