Spectronics APPraised AAC Apps

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 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:

  • 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

When considering AAC apps, you may want to consider:

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

For more information and tools to help you match the right features for AAC apps, check out this blogpost App feature matching: an essential step.

Spectronics APPraised AAC Apps

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

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

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

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

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

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

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:

 


Avaz for Autism

Short Description: Avaz is a full featured symbol and text based communication app available for

Top 5 Features:

  1. 3 research based, graded, picture vocabularies
  2. Synthesised Australian voices and you can also record your own voice
  3. Access to SymbolStix library, and easily add your own photos and videos.
  4. Track therapy sessions and use of the app by a child.

 Image

Website links:


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

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

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!

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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About Charlene Cullen

Charlene has worked as a speech pathologist, supporting people with complex communication needs and learning disabilities for the past 15 years. She has worked in a variety of roles within the Disability Services of Western Australia, including Senior Speech Pathologist, Rural and Remote Resource Therapist and Regional Team Manager.

Charlene is a trained Key Word Sign (formerly Makaton) presenter, certified Hanen It Takes Two to Talk presenter and a member of the Apple Consultants Network. Charlene is also an official Proloquo2Go / Proloquo4Text trainer, and TBoxApps Trainer for Therapy Box.

Charlene has developed strong skills in and a passion for, the area of AAC and assistive technologies. She enjoys presenting workshops and providing consultancy services to support and educate parents, teachers and therapists in the use and application of inclusive technologies.

Charlene has been a full time member of the Professional and Consultancy Services Team at Spectronics.

AGOSCI State Representative for Victoria (2012-present); Key Word Sign Victoria committee member (2012-present).

2 Responses to Spectronics APPraised AAC Apps

  1. marcelle. says:

    Hi could you please help? After a app that could show pictures as I have a 10 y old son who has ADS and now stammers through anxiety as he has limited speech and poor working memory to find his words when speaking . I was looking for a app not to replace his words but to help his anxiety and use pictures when words can not come out ! Would love your help thanks marcelle

    • Charlene Cullen says:

      Hi Marcelle.
      The majority of the apps that we have appraised in this blogpost use picture symbols that can be used to provide some context and help others understand when your son stutters. Sonoflex has a free lite version that you could try out with some pre programmed language. If he is able to type messages then most of the appraised apps we listed have a keyboard and you can also type messages.
      All the best,
      Charlene

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