For people who have a disability that hinders their ability to speak and participate in regular conversation, there are a number of augmentative and alternative communication options that can make “speech” possible. These applications are designed to read aloud words and phrases that an individual inputs into an augmentative communication device.
The Friendship Circle is a not-for-profit organization located in West Bloomfield, Michigan that creates friendship in the lives of children and adults with special needs. This group has provided a thorough, non-definitive list of of seven assistive communication apps in the iPad App Store that are available for individuals with special needs. Here is the list from The Friendship Circle:
Proloque2Go is the most well known of of all the assistive communications apps on the iPad. It is also one of the priciest. Still the $689 you spend ($500 for iPad and $189 for Proloque2go) is far cheaper than dedicated AAC devices. Proloque2Go is a full-featured augmentative and alternative communication solution for autistic children who have difficulty speaking. Easy to set up and use it provides natural sounding text-to-speech voices, high resolution up-to-date symbols, powerful automatic conjugations, a default vocabulary of over 7,000 items and is fully expandable. The app is very easy for individuals with special needs to navigate through the menus. It has a beautiful graphic display and great voice quality. Proloque2Go is definitely a better bet on an iPad than an iPhone or iPad.
iCommunicate for iPad
Company: Grembe Inc.
iCommunicate for iPad allows you to create pictures, flashcards, storyboards, routines, visual schedules and record custom audio in any language. Aside from beeing an AAC device iCommunicate also includes task completion and audio visual prompting. iCommunicate comes preloaded with 10,000 symblstix pictures. You also have the ability to insert Google images and the story boards are printable. One negative is that this app is for the iPad only. The feature set is definitley not as robust as Proloque2Go, but you get what you pay for.
Price: Free Upgrade: $7.99
Looking to get your feet wet with an AAC app without forking over big bucks? iComm may be for you. iComm lets you load picture and audio and record your own voices. Ideal for children with autism, cerebral palsy, apraxia and down syndrome. A heads up, although this app is free a lot of the features are only available with a $7.99 upgrade so be prepared to layout something. Another downer is that iComm only works with the iPad and iPhone and not the iPod Touch.
My Talk Tools Mobile
Company: 2nd Half Enterprises LLC
My Talk Tools Mobile for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad enables people with communication difficulties to express their needs and desires to those around them. My Talk Mobile represents a major breakthrough in augmentative, alternative communications (AAC) by making it easy to customize how you communicate through a variety of images, pictures, symbols and audio files including human voice. In 5 minutes, you can create your very own content and communicate in a way that YOU choose. My Talk offers a robust feature set for the price. The app can also be shown on an external display making it great for school.
Look2Learn – AAC
Look2Learn (L2L), a revolutionary AAC software application for the iPod Touch, iPhone, and iPad allows individuals to work at their communicative level using photographs to express wants and needs. The easy to use system integrates preloaded vocal output so that individuals can use their “voice”. In addition, users are able to record their own personalized audio and pair it with photos! This is a good app for beginners not willing to shell out more money. One thing to concerned about is that the app can only hold 140 pictures.
Company: Spectrum Visions
Voice4u, is a revolutionary AAC (augmentative and alternative communication) application that helps individuals to express their feeling, thought, actions and things they need. It is a perfect solution for learning and communication for autistic individuals and people around them. With it, you will never have to guess at an individuals’ wants and needs and will break down the barriers of communication for individuals with special needs. Two complaints about Voice4U are that the illustrations are not the best and that you are limited to 9 categories.
Company: Xcellent Creations
iConverse is an educational tool designed for young children, autistic individuals, and individuals with other communicative disabilities, and also toddler-aged children who have yet to master language. iConverse is an Augmentative Alternative Communication (AAC) application for the iPhone and iPod Touch that replaces bulky and expensive communication devices used in the past. iConverse comes with only 6 preloaded image buttons so you will need to do some button making work before you can use it. It also does not come with a scheduler to help with transitions.
For information from The Friendship Circle about augmentative communication apps in the iPad App Store , click here!