Communicating with Assistive Technology

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) devices can help individuals find the right words for everyday situations.  According to the AAC Institute, approximately 2.5 million Americans have some kind of speech disability that prevents them from being easily understood by others.  AAC equipment breaks down the communication barriers!


7-Level Communication Builder

This piece of AAC equipment, which is available from Enabling Devices, will record and play back up to 112 messages, or as few as 2.  Its removable trays have deep sides to easily separate one square from another when pressed to play back a message.  Large symbols on the buttons help identify what each message is about.

Hip Talk

Hip Talks are communicators that can be worn much like a fanny pack.   The soft nylon pack fits easily around the waist for easy access and portability.  Recorded messages can be played back by pressing the large switch plates.

The INDATA Loan Library carries a couple of versions of Hip Talk.  The Hip Talk 12 contains a 12 window grid and can record up to 55 messages.

Boardmaker with Speaking Dynamically Pro

Boardmaker is essentially a picture index software for Windows that can be used to make communication boards.  It contains 3,000 symbols available in either color or black and white.  Dynamically Pro comes with the high-quality, natural-sounding voices.  The combination of the two devices turns your computer into a word processor that talks.

A print-out from Boardmaker
A print-out from Boardmaker

EZ Keys

This AAC software comes with word prediction, text-to-speech output, and contains thousands of phrases that are preprogrammed.  EZ Keys also offers “next word prediction”.  This neat little feature actually learns its user’s word patterns to guess what will be typed next.  EZ Keys will bring up the last six words you used in conjunction with the word you just typed.  You can also store thousands of phrases and sentences that can be recalled from Instant Phrases.

These are just a few of many AAC devices available today.  Assistive Technology is constantly changing to meet the needs of everyone.