apps

Proloquo4Text is Here!!

Proloquo4text: is a new text to speech app for people who cannot speak or have difficulties making themselves understood.

Below is a review of the new app from Proloquo – P4T by expert user Kati Lea

 

I received the first build of P4T in Sept and initially had a few difficulties as the categories that went down the side were too narrow and did not seem to increase with font neither did the prediction on the keyboard. 

First build of P4T

First build of P4T

 

I gave them feedback over the issues that a person with fine motor difficulties would struggle with particularly and then a few weeks later was sent a second build of the Beta version. 

 

This was much better and easier for me to use.  I could make the categories bigger and the prediction in the keyboard, although it didn’t leave much space for typing on the iPad mini when the keyboard is up, especially if you are using very large font’s. The space does look bigger in screenshots that it comes across on the iPad mini.

I feel, to make the best of this app, particularly if you have some fine motor issues but want to access directly via touch, then the larger iPad would give you more room to play with on the screen. If you can see a regular sized font easily this issue will probably not affect you.

The app does have some great features for adult communicators and is aimed at Adults with good literacy skills who prefer a prediction based AAC device to one with symbols and having to hunt through ‘pages’ of topics to find the words/sentences you want. 

 

Each build brought improvements from the last. There is a start up guide to help the total novice set the app to their requirements, though it is easy for the more experienced user to find all settings under the gear icon on the top right of the screen.

page from the start up guide

page from the start up guide

 

pages and menu's are explained in detail in the user guide

pages and menu’s are explained in detail in the user guide

Here are some examples with larger font’s and coloured menu’s that I created, just to show how it can be personalised.

It was quick & easy to colour code, making longer pre-stored sentences easy to find

It was quick & easy to colour code, making longer pre-stored sentences easy to find

 

Type statuses for Facebook and Twitter

Type statuses for Facebook and Twitter

 

 

If you are reducing the predictions/quick chat to one column, I find sentence prediction and phrases the most helpful if you wish to reduce options. However you can choose for all of them to appear on that side and you just press the small icon on top right of that bar to scroll through between quickchat,  prediction etc. 

 

You can also make the prediction on the keyboard a larger font and bigger ‘buttons’, or you can remove it entirely and only have predictions on the side bars. 

keyboard with prediction removed

keyboard with prediction removed

 

 You can even have the keyboard prediction in a different colour if you want!  Another great feature I was keen to see incorporated was abbreviation-expansion or ‘shortcuts’. These are essential to the text based typist to speed up production of long explanations and as an alternative to having to look through categories.

Here are screenshots of me creating the shortcut to explain Typetalk (as in the screenshot further up)

 

I created a category called Shortcuts in 'Quick Talk' then selected 'add item'

I created a category called Shortcuts in ‘Quick Talk’ then selected ‘add item’

 

This is page where you create your pre-stored sentence and turn it into an abbreviation

This is page where you create your pre-stored sentence and turn it into an abbreviation

 

now you an choose to either go into quick talk to find the sentence or just type 'ETT'

now you an choose to either go into quick talk to find the sentence or just type ‘ETT’

 

 as soon as you type in your abbreviation the text comes up to save you alot of typing!


as soon as you type in your abbreviation the text comes up to save you alot of typing!

 

 Regarding access methods – the switch access is now built into iOS7 and you can use the app with either external switches or using your iPads camera as the switch with look left to stop scan,  right to continue for example. You can let the OS scan for you or do it manually so it only scans when you activate by turning your head.  You can also scan by touching screen.  You can add this as an extra feature and combine with head movements to create 3 switches.

 

an example of a switch set up using the inbuilt camera and screen.

an example of a switch set up using the inbuilt camera and screen.

 

 To reach this page go to .. General Settings > Accessibility > Physical & Motor > Switch Control > Switches and select your preferred input method. 

 

This is a useful feature with adults with progressive conditions who maybe able to use an iPad with hands to start but maybe wanting to start to teach themselves switch scanning,  so they can be proficient in it by the time it is needed full time.  The iPad mini (wi-fi only version) is £399 as a entry price,  significantly cheaper than many specialist AAC devices for those struggling to afford or get funding for them

 

I do have mine on an iPad mini (It’s all I could afford this year) and  there is not a lot of spare screen space when you need to make prediction,  fonts and side bars bigger in order to read them properly or just physically hit the right one.  For those with aiming difficulties/intention tremor etc I would suggest using P4T with the larger screened iPad.  It may even make it possible for some people to use in portrait mode.

P4T can be used in Portrait mode too for those that prefer.

P4T can be used in Portrait mode too for those that prefer.

Image of the Proloquo4Text logo, which features two apostrophes - one looks like a face taking, the other is leaving the mouth of the face like a speech bubble.

Click here to purchase the Proloquo4Text AAC app for iPad and iPhone

As a side note – Typetalk/Text Direct are also bringing out an app called ParallelText that allows you to use iDevices as minicoms to make phone calls.  Giving you a fully functional AAC device that can do the same as the more expensive devices regarding having switch access, ability to compose text message (PLUS use as a minicom for hearing impaired AAC users)  and a communication aid PLUS all the other stuff you can do on an iPad too!!

Overall it is an excellent app and released today on the app store at a special introductory price of £44.99 for the first few weeks, after which it will be £89.99.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Low Cost AAC Apps for Speech

Low Cost AAC Apps for Speech

Kati Lea pictured with a trabasack and a lightwriter

Kati Lea has made some suggestions for low cost apps on the very useful facebook group ‘More than words’.

The range of AAC apps on the market is vast and working your way through them all can be a daunting task. Some of the more established brands may seem hugely expensive, especially if you don’t have funding in any way and especially in light of recent benefit cuts.

An extremely helpful and valued group on Facebook called More Than Words has given us plenty of food for thought and inspired this post. The group is managed by Kati Lea, who has previously appeared on our site as a Trabasack user and advocate of many AAC apps and devices.

We’ve learned a lot in our time in the group and are sharing some of the fantastic low cost AAC apps for speech available if you can’t stretch to the more expensive options on the market.

Speak for Yourself

Speak-For-Yourself

Speak for yourself interface

An iPad app designed by two experienced speech language pathologists who specialise in AAC. The app is built upon evidence and research and uses a word-based vocabulary. The vocabulary is built up from the most frequently used words in general communication and gives access to over 13,000 words. It’s available for £139.99 which is significantly less than many of the more established apps.

ClaroCom

1146552_10201691579562058_2011249760_nClaroCom is an iOS app which aims to take the place of speech for those who are unable to communicate that way. It’s designed to be suitable for adults and children with some or complete literacy. Users can simply type into ClaroCom or they can use word prediction or phrase prediction functions. A range of voices are available and they are programmed with English accents which can make all the difference. You can make the in-app purchase of further accents including Australian, Scottish and South African. ClaroCom may be a good first app for users new to AAC as it’s available for just £9.99.

 

Speech Assistant AAC

AAC

Speech Assistant AAC on Smartphone

This app is for Android users and is completely free! Being free doesn’t necessarily make it a great choice although we think it has some basic, valuable features which make it worth trying. The app is loaded up with 12 categories and within each category are several set phrases which can be vocalised as they are and you can also add in important personalisation.

Click here to try it out

 

 

Grid Player

Grid Player AAC

Grid Player Characters

Grid Player is another highly valuable FREE AAC app which could be perfect for you or your family. It is accessible for a wide range of people including those who are more comfortable with symbols than words or text. It includes over 24,000 different symbols and has both male and female voices so it can be personalised. You can personalise it and add in your own features including photographs, words and symbols.

 

Some of these apps may not be perfect for your situation but they could be part of the learning curve to find the right app or device for you or your family’s needs. If you have found some low cost apps to help with communication or wish to comment on the post above please do so below. You will also find more useful apps for communication under ‘Related Posts’ below.

Apps for Autism: Behaviour Management Analysis

Apps for Autism: Behaviour Management Analysis

Apps to support discipline and behaviour management in the home and classroom

Some apps can be used to help monitor and manage behaviour at home and in the classroom for children with autism. The role of the iPad in the special educational needs classroom cannot be underestimated. As we have previously discussed research has shown exactly how effective these devices can be in an educational setting as well as when used for play and this also applies when considering students and pupils who have an autistic spectrum disorder. This post is part of a larger collection bringing together some of the fantastic apps available to people living with autism.

There are many challenges and difficulties that come with caring for and educating a child with an autistic spectrum disorder and finding an appropriate and workable behaviour management strategy is amongst these. However, there are apps on the market which are designed to support your behaviour management strategies and aid your understanding of the behavioural issues that you may be facing.

Behavior Assessment Pro is an App that is compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod (USA only) devices and identifies factors which relate to challenging or problem behaviours. Designed by a certified behaviour analyst in the USA, this app is valuable for use by a number of professionals as well as parents and carers. The app allows for a quick assessment of the behaviours of your child, or class from a teacher’s perspective and allows you to recognise particular triggers, problem areas and produces a range of useful graphs and charts to help map behaviour changes. Extremely advanced and supportive of your behaviour management techniques, BAP can be of extreme help in producing end of year reports, support plans and related documents.

Behavior Tracker Pro is another well regarded and recommended app which allows anybody to track specific behaviours and graph them immediately. Can be synched with Excel for easier management and can make teaching and working with children with autism much more straightforward. Designed by a certified behaviour analyst who also has a child with autism, parents and educators using this app have faith in its abilities and data can be shared between all those involved with the child, making all round behaviour management easier as everyone can sing from the same hymn sheet.

Chore Pad HD is an affordable and popular app which takes the form of a virtual reward chart. Although originally designed to get kids to do their chores, the app has many more uses and can be used to encourage daily and life skills. Very basic but also very affordable, a great option for connecting the idea of good behaviour with positive reinforcement.

First Then Visual Schedule is a simple and manageable way of introducing your child or class to a virtual visual schedule, much like those they may use in paper form. You can split the day into sections such as ‘morning routine’ and ‘lunchtime’ so an understanding of the order of things can be instilled, hopefully avoiding the anxiety that triggers some challenging behaviour as control is maintained. Fantastic for use with a single child or can be utilised in the class environment with different schedules stored for different pupils.

QR Codes Communication Ideas

QR Voice and using QR Codes for Communication

How QR Codes can be used for communication

Communication Aids QR Code

Try this QR Code

Quick Response (QR) Codes appear everywhere. You’ll see them in magazines, on bus stop advertisements and pretty much anywhere you can reach with a smart phone. They have become an integral part of modern mobile society but what exactly do they do and how can they be used to aid communication? We look at QR Voice and Symbol Boards.

What are QR Codes?

QR Codes are simply a particular type of small barcode which is extremely quick to read via the right device and can load up large volumes information in comparison to traditional bar codes. You can scan a QR Code with most smartphones, tablets and also specifically built QR reading devices. After scanning they connect to a webpage, sound bite, video or other digital information source.

How can QR Codes be used for speech and communication?

This is where QR Voice comes in. As mentioned any digital information source can be encoded simply into a QR barcode and this includes verbal responses, statements and more. QR Voice encodes text messages into a QR code and then this message can be stored in a smartphone or tablet and used multiple times. Once created and scanned the QR Voice clip can be used regularly to aid communication for those who have non-verbal issues or may just have specific times where verbal speech becomes difficult.

The QR Voice site was developed for regular use but it can be easily adapted as an extremely simple AAC device that’s completely free for anybody to access. You could programme in some specific phrases such as ‘I’m thirsty’, ‘I’m hungry’ and simple ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ utterances and support the user to select specific codes when trying to communicate verbally through their smartphone or tablet.

QR codes on a Symbol Board

You could create a symbol board using these QR codes. Usually Symbol Boards have letters or pictures but using QR codes and a smart phone takes the board to another level of sophistication. The QR symbol could be used with QR Voice to create small sentences that are spoken when the code is read, or the Symbol could lead to a website or image online.

Symbol board mount, using a trabasack to secure a symbol board on the lap

A Trabasack Mini Connect could be used to hold a QR code symbol board

With a little practice, it should be quite simple to get used to and for more advanced users of technology messages of up to 100 characters can be crafted, allowing for a short conversation where possible. Another use could be a series of instructions or a set of sentences, weblinks or images for a talk or presentation.

This short video shows QR Voice in action:

We think trabasack would make an idea bag for QR codes on symbol boards and a smart phone for communication. Please send us your pictures or videos if you have used a  trabasack in this way. We will send you a free T-shirt!

AAC Image-based iPad Apps – Part 5

Following on from part 4 in our series of blog posts covering the extensive and ever-growing range of AAC apps available for iPad, we have a collection of symbol-based applications that are designed to aid your child with their communication, without relying on verbal prompts.

Each of the apps chosen for our AAC Apps blog compendium were individually assessed and compiled by Jane Farral – a speech pathologist and special educator with over 20 years of practical knowledge in the field of disability and assistive technology. Jane is highly experienced in the teaching of both adults and children with varying abilities, and holds a Masters in Special Education, where she concentrated on literacy acquisition in children and adults without speech.

Image icon for the Gabby Tabs iPad appGabby Tabs was developed by the parents of a child whom is non-verbal autistic, to provide an app with an in-depth understanding of the methods required to allow a parent to communicate with their child with AAC needs. The emphasis of this iPad app is to provide carers with an immediately easy-to-use, “ready-to-go” interface, filled with pre-installed commonly used symbols and audio. The simple and brightly-coloured interface of this app will immediately appeal to younger children, and hopefully encourage them to communicate their wants and needs with ease.

 

Image icon for the GoTalk Now iPad appThe GoTalk Now app has been created by an educational company with over 25 years experience of creating tools specifically for AAC. The app allows you to create templates or “books” of information directly related to your child’s lifestyle and needs, using voice recording, text-to-speech, video and either Imagine Symbols or your own, user-uploaded images. Your completed books can also be shared online or stored online for use no matter what your location, as long as an internet connection is available.

 

Image icon for the Grace iPad AppThe Grace – Picture Exchange app comes is a highly commended AAC app that won both the 2010 Irish Web Award and the United Nations World Summit Mobile Award. The app focuses on simple a picture exchange system to allow children and adults with autism to communicate with ease. The user can select images to create sentences, which are then used to encourage the child to attempt their own vocalisation. This intuitive app comes with a basic collection of images with the function for uploading your own, and also supports the iPad’s 3-axis “gyroscope” to allow even further interactivity.

 

Image icon for the I Click I Talk iPad app.The I Click I Talk iPad app features some unique technical add-ons that are generally unavailable on other AAC apps, most specifically the ability to monitor and analyse your child’s usage data and statistics. It can help the carer to monitor the frequency each image has been activated, or whether a child prefers photograph symbols over cartoon-style images. This is an excellent tool for helping to create a truly individual AAC aid for your child, allowing you to cater to their specific visual tastes and interests.

 

Image icon for the IAssist Communicator iPad appThe iAssist Communicator app is aimed at children on the autistic spectrum whom are more cognitively challenged – therefore the app moves away from the use of abstract, cartoon-like symbols, and relies purely on photo-realistic images for communication. As with many of the AAC apps we have featured so far, iAssist was created by a parent, therefore usability and the ability to customise categories has been taken well into account. This app comes pre-installed with 240 photos and voice-recordings, and also with every purchase made of this dynamic app, 10% of the cost will be donated to non-profit autism organisations.

 

Image of the packaging for the Trabasack Media Mount, showing the mount holding an iPad

The Trabasack Media Mount is a “truly inclusive” invention, allowing users to utilise iPads with ease.

We hope that these intuitive AAC apps provide both yourself and your child with a fun and interesting communication experience, and to provide your child with an even more carefree learning experience, why not consider the new Trabasack Media Mount? The Trabasack Media Mount is a flexible, multi purpose mounting device, useful for supporting iPads and other tablet computers at just the right angle, leaving your child’s hands free for touch screen interaction.

The Trabasack Media Mount is made of soft hook and loop receptive material with a velcro strip along one side. This means that you can twist it to any shape and it will stick to itself, and can be secured to the Trabasack Curve Connect lap tray with ease.

AAC Apps for Self Expression – Part 4

In our recent posts covering some of the best AAC apps currently on offer for both iPad and iPhone, we have featured contemporary and easy-to-use AAC aids that we hope will provide both you and your child with a modern and fun way to communicate via touch screen technology.

In part 4 of our AAC iPad app guide we have yet more innovative titles as provided by Jane Farrala speech pathologist and special educator with over 20 years of practical knowledge in the field of disability and assistive technology. Jane is highly experienced in the teaching of both adults and children with varying abilities, and holds a Masters in Special Education, where she concentrated on literacy acquisition in children and adults without speech.

 

Image icon for the Expressionist AppThe Expressionist iPhone app comes highly acclaimed by schools and therapists world-wide, for providing an intuitive and easy-to-use aid in helping children learn about self-expression and emotions. Each scene includes a cartoon character of a little boy, who’s easy to understand facial expressions and gestures inspire children to imitate and then utilise for expressing their own wants and needs. This straight-forward app includes a wealth of over 120 commonly used expressions, which are organised in to several different categories, including; greetings, feelings, senses, activities, questions and more.

 

Image icon for the Expressive appExpressive is a Smarty Symbol based app for both iPad and iPhone that helps those with communication disorders (such as autism and apraxia) express their wants and needs via a powerful yet easy to grasp interface. This app has been specifically designed for ease of use, and little to no previous programming experience is necessary to get started with the app. The app includes over 600 pre-installed symbols and allows you to upload your own personal images and record audio, to provide a truly bespoke AAC aid, to fit your child’s personal needs.

 

Image icon for the Flashables appFlashables is a flash card style app that utilises the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) to help children to communicate via images rather than words. The symbols are designed so that the child chooses their desired object (food, toys or activity for example) and it is then up to the parent or caregiver to instantly provide the child with the expressed object, helping to reinforce the understanding of cause and effect for children whom struggle to communicate via verbal prompts.

 

 

 

Image icon for Gabby appThe Gabby iPad app is a fun and informal app that allows children and adults with learning difficulties to express themselves easily via images and audio. It includes an abundance of features of tailoring the app experience to fit your child’s specific needs, and also includes an admin setting to make sure little hands can’t modify or change important settings.

 

 

Image of a Trabasack Media Mount holding an iPad upright

The Trabasack Media Mount is an intuitive and easy-to-use mounting device, perfect for use with iPads and other tablet computers

Thanks to leaps in technology, providing children with smart and intuitive AAC aids is easier than ever before, and Trabasack understand that usability is all-important in assuring your child has a relaxed and fun learning experience. That’s why Trabasack have created the new Media Mount – a mounting device that can be used with electronic equipment such as iPads, tablets and slates, to ensure they remain steady and upright whilst in use. The soft hook and loop receptive material, along with a Velcro strip attached to one side, means that it fits perfectly onto the Trabasack Connect tray surface and can also be manipulated easily into many different shapes to achieve the right angle and hold for the object you’re trying to support.

AAC Apps for iPad and iPhone – Part 3

Simple Yet Intuitive and Easy-to-Use AAC Apps for iPad

Welcome to part three in our series of blogs covering many of the useful and innovative iPad AAC apps as researched and compiled by Jane Farral – a speech pathologist and special educator with over 20 years of practical knowledge in the field of disability and assistive technology. Jane is highly experienced in the teaching of both adults and children with varying abilities, and holds a Masters in Special Education, where she concentrated on literacy acquisition in children and adults without speech.

Image icon for the Communicate Mate iPad appThe Communicate Mate iPad and iPhone app is a very basic and therefore simple to use communication tool for children, with useful selection of symbols and sentences that once activated via touch, are spoken aloud via a pre-recorded human female voice. Once this app is downloaded and installed, Communicate works entirely offline, therefore it does not require an internet connection or 3G connection to function.

 

Image icon for the Connect Cards iPad app

Connect Cards utilises the online image hosting website Picasa to allow users to create their own personalised communication tool for children. Images are firstly uploaded and tagged on the Picasa website, and then the app syncs with the user’s online account, to populate one of three card categories (food, drink and activities). This allows the child to touch the “I want” icon, then activate a symbol relating to their need – Connect Cards will then provide the correct sentence aloud in speech.

 

Image icon for the DIME iPad appThe DIME iPad app is a collection of 5 AAC tools that provide an intuitive aid for helping your child to express their needs. The main feature of the DIME app is the “Communicator” – a tool that creates sentences using 3 language elements; person, verb and compliment. The other tools included with this iPad app are “I Want/I Am” – a simplified version of the Communicator that allows children to immediately express their needs. The “Clock” function is a fun way of helping your child understand the concept of time. Choose a task and then start the timer; the aim is for your child to complete their task before the animated snail finishes eating their tasty leaf. Lastly there is a “Blackboard” function, which provides a creative on-screen play area for drawing, and “Album” – an interactive gallery of pre-installed symbols and a place to view your own personally uploaded images.

 

Image icon for the Discover My Voice iPad appThe Discover MyVoice for iOS iPad app has one main aim – to provide a simple and easy to set-up AAC app for caregivers and children alike. Perhaps an app for those whom struggle to understand the plethora of options and excess date input associated with other apps; the Discover My Voice app allows you to quickly and easily use your own images to create categories, and then either attach a recording of your own voice or allow the app to utilise text-to-speech to provide audio.

 

Image icon for the Easy Speak iPad appEasy Speak is a powerful AAC iPad app that comes with more than 800 pre-installed symbols with corresponding audio, to provide your child with the ability to express an extensive range of emotions, needs/wants, actions, questions and more. The Easy Speak app is fully customisable, providing the user the ability to upload personal, familiar images into user-defined categories.

 

 

 

The Trabasack media mount holding a book in position

The Trabasack Media Mount holds devices in the position you need them

If you’re looking for new and innovative ways of helping your child to play or learn via the iPad, the Trabasack Media Mount is the latest addition to the Trabasack family of ingenious AAC aids. The Trabasack Media Mount is a flexible and multi purpose mounting device, perfect for supporting tablet computers such as iPads. The malleable mount can be twisted and shaped to provide the correct angle for any device, support for wrists and even to create a boundary or target area for switch users.

Diagram of iPod secure in a Trabasack Media Mount

The flexible fabric can be shaped with ease to ensure items remain upright and secure

The Trabasack Media Mount is made of soft hook and loop receptive material with a velcro strip along one side. This means that you can twist it to any shape and it will stick to itself!

 

AAC Apps for iPad and iPhone – Part 2

Part 2 – Autism AAC Apps for Children and Young Adults

Following on from part 1 of our compendium of blogs covering interactive iPad apps for AAC, we have yet more innovative teaching aids that will help to ease difficulties with communication via a fun and uncomplicated interface.

Image icon for the Augie AAC iPad AppAugie AAC is a modern and portable communication app specifically designed for those with AAC needs. The iPad app lets you organise information into two categories; home and school, where everything from schedules, vocabulary and tasks can be arranged for quick and easy access and usability. This voice output app comes with a library of high-frequency vocabulary, which covers both the home and school environment, and can be user-defined to provide even more freedom and independence of communication.

 

Image icon for the AutisMate iPad appAutisMate is a unique and fully customisable communication app is specifically aimed at children and young people with Autism. The app allows you to create “scenes” of familiar family, home and school settings by uploading photographs of surroundings, which can then be layered with interactive prompts matched to the user’s current location. The unique feature of this AAC app is its ability to track the user’s location using GPS, and thus updates the current displayed “scene” to match your child’s environment. The interactive prompts can include text-to-speech, video or static images, to help provide a fun way for your child to connect with their surroundings.

 

Image icon for the Baluh iPad appBaluh is a simple iPad app for creating communication pages using either the pre-installed 400+ ARASAAC symbols or user uploaded images. You can create category pages which can include 20 options, and then each option page can include 4 interactive communication buttons.

 

 

Image icon for Click n' Talk iPad AppClick n’ Talk is another simplified and easy-to-use communication aid that allows caregivers or children to create photo albums on specific subjects, using their own photographs. Each photo can have text and voice attached with ease, to provide a fun way of revisiting past events or helping to educate about everyday activities.

 

 

Image icon for the ComApp.i iPad appThe ComApp.i3 iPad app is a fun, bright and attractive AAC aid that allows children to quickly and easily communicate basic everyday needs and wants. The icons and interface are incredibly child-friendly, with a simple navigation that will help children express their needs almost immediately, without prior demonstration or experience with the app.

 

 

These AAC apps were chosen and appraised by Jane Farral, a speech pathologist and special educator with over 20 years of practical knowledge in the field of disability and assistive technology. Jane is highly experienced in the teaching of both adults and children with varying abilities, and holds a Masters in Special Education, where she concentrated on literacy acquisition in children and adults without speech.

 

Image of the Trabasack Media Mount holding an iPad

The Trabasack Media Mount provides the perfect angle and ultimate stability for iPads whilst in use

Trabasack are pleased to announce their newest communication device mounting aid– the Trabasack Media Mount; a multi-purpose, flexible mounting device, ideal for use on help support mobile electronic devices or as Ipads or other tablet computers when people are seated. The Trabasack Media Mount can be used in conjunction with the Connect Curve lap desk bag to ensure iPads, books or even remote controls and bottles remain in a sturdy position, and at the desired angle for use; it can be easily twisted into shape to hold almost anything upright, with the Velcro along one side ensuring the device remains firmly in place.

AAC Apps for iPad and iPhone

Part 1 – Themes, Speech Sets and Flash Cards

This is the first blog post in a series covering some fantastic and innovative augmentative and alternative communication iPad and iPhone apps to aid communication, provide a stimulating educational experience, helping adults and encouraging interaction in children.

These AAC apps were compiled by Jane Farrall – a speech pathologist and special educator with over 20 years of practical knowledge in the field of disability and assistive technology. Jane is highly experienced in the teaching of both adults and children with varying abilities, and holds a Masters in Special Education, where she concentrated on literacy acquisition in children and adults without speech.

Image icon for the 2CanTalk iPad app2CanTalk The 2CanTalk iPhone app allows you to create a catalogue of “Themes”; a bespoke picture board of images with corresponding sounds, to fit a specific location or event. Create themes for almost every situation, from your or your child’s everyday needs to a trip to the park; simply take photographs using your iPhone of familiar objects and add your own voice recording and text label to each image.

For example; if you require a “want/need” theme – take representative photographs of your child’s most common activities (bathroom, snack, drink, sleep etc) then allow you to pick from the images on screen to communicate. Each theme can include a subsection, therefore if you were to choose “Snack”, you would then be presented with further on screen options such as banana, toast, biscuits, or any specific snack item you choose to include.

 

Image Icon for the AACSpeechBuddy AppAACSpeechBuddy is an iPad app that can be used in conjunction with aacspeech.com to build bespoke image and speech sets using either the 2000+ provided Mulberry symbols or your own photographs and one of 6 text-to-speech voices. The app comes with several demo speech sets included, to give you an idea where to start, then you can create an online account to manage your bespoke speech sets which can then be loaded on to the app. The online creation feature is perfect for sharing or downloading speech sets made by other users, friends or teachers.

 

Image icon for the Ablah iPad appAblah is a simplified iPad app that allows you to create categories of images, which can then be browsed by either swiping-through or viewed as a timed slideshow. This app relies mostly on your own uploaded images rather than a library of pre-installed icons, and utilises recorded speech rather than text-to-speech.

 

 

 

Image icon for Aeir Talk iPad appAeir Talk is a stylish and bold Flash Card style iPad app to help increase your child’s vocabulary and teach spelling. The flash cards can be split into several sections, including verbs or nouns, and using your own photographs of familiar household items, such as food and toys, you can create informative yet immediately recognisable flash cards to appeal to your child. This app also allows you to record your own voice and create cards to fit any object or activity you desire.

 

 

Image icon for the Answers : Yes No iPad appThe Answers:YesNo app was specifically designed and tailored to help a young man with non-verbal Autism and motor planning issues, communicate his wants and needs with those around him. This app is simplified to just two large, colour-coordinated “Yes” and “No” buttons, to provide straightforward and immediate communication. However, you can also create custom button pages to differentiate between two different subject matters (such as “cat” or “dog”, or “hello” or “goodbye”) and you can record your own voice for each image with ease.

Image of Trabasack Media Mount product box

Our new innovative Media Mount can be used to support anything from iPads or Kindles, to bottles and remote controls

 

 

We will be following-up this blog post with another selection of useful AAC iPad apps, as well as more information about our new, innovative Trabasack Media Mount – a flexible and multi purpose mounting device that can be wrapped around objects to provide the perfect angle, ideal for supporting iPads when in use on the Trabasack Curve Connect tray top.

Five Great Communication Apps for your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch

Five Great Communication Apps for your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch

Your Trabasack is a great lap tray surface for your iPad

Apple’s position as one of the most popular, important and powerful computing and telecommunications companies cannot be disputed. Their range of devices from the original iPod to the more recent iPad and iPhone series are fantastically equipped to handle a huge range of apps and many of these can be used to significantly improve day to day life.

Many people thought Apple had designed their apps purely for entertainment and fun but there are many more uses for many of their great apps, most significantly for us, communication. At Trabasack for Communication Aids we are always looking for the latest and the best technology available to aid communication and make it more accessible. Here we’ve compiled five of the best communication apps currently available through the Apple App Store!

1 – Yes/No – a very simple communication app which is fantastic for simply answering questions. Yes/No allows the user to voice their preference to most questions with a yes or no answer. This app is fantastic for those with learning difficulties who may find open questions difficult and therefore are more confident and comfortable with simple answers. Yes-No - Smarty Ears

2 – iCommunicate. – Grembe Inc. – a communication app which allows for simple expression of feelings through symbols and sounds. You can customise it with specific photos of your environment, for example you could put together a storyboard or social story photos of the individual with the disability doing their usual daily tasks. Like an interactive PECs system. iCommunicate. - Grembe Inc.

3 – TouchChat AAC with WordPower – Silver Kite – an app designed for those who have difficulty using their own voice. There are a range of set messages and sentences stored within TouchChat but you can also add your own if the non-verbal individual has particular favourite phrases or sentences they’re used to and also you can add their name to TouchChat’s vocabulary. TouchChat AAC with WordPower - Silver Kite

4 – Assistive Chat – assistive apps – much like TouchChat, Assistive Chat supports those who have difficulty using their own speech. It’s a much more affordable option and has a range of customisable settings including the voice it speaks in, the size of the font on the screen and also word prediction so keystrokes can be kept to a minimum. Assistive Chat - assistive apps

5 – Grace – Picture Exchange for Non-Verbal People – an award winning app designed for non-verbal individuals. Developed for those on the autistic spectrum, Grace is designed to allow users to choose pictures to express their needs independently and in time, where possible, vocalise their needs alongside using the picture.Grace - Picture Exchange for Non-Verbal People - Steven Troughton-Smith

These are just five of the great communications apps on the market and we believe each one of them can be really useful for furthering independence and general life experiences!

 

Your iPad is perfectly safe inside your Trabasack’s bag compartment

If you’re lucky enough to own one of these great Apple devices, don’t forget how useful your Trabasack can be. The Trabasack Mini in particular is designed to perfectly fit an iPad 2 and it’s a brilliant storage space for any Apple device. Equally, the Trabasack tray surface gives you the option of somewhere safe and secure to rest your Apple device when not in use!

Trabasack is available from these Communication Aid companies (to add your company to the list, please email duncan{at}trabasack.co.uk)