Posts Tagged ‘apps’
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 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.
The 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.
Expressive 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.
Flashables 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.
The FreeSpeech app allows the user to easily create folders of items (such as wants/needs), which can then be chosen by the child to express themselves using the touch screen capabilities of the iPad. This app comes with a plethora of pre-installed images, but also allows you to upload your own personal photographs, and has the added of bonus of providing an online community for sharing and downloading image sets.
The 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.
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.
Here a few iPad apps that are particularly useful for communication.
We select a few communication apps for the iPad below. There are plenty of iPad apps out there designed for children and adults with disabilities and some of them are absolutely fantastic and can really change the quality of life for their users. Here is a compilation of some of the apps currently on the market:
Proloquo2go – this app is really life changing. A full touch-to-speak service which translates keystrokes into words and gives those with speech problems or complete lack of speech a chance to communicate verbally for the first time. This is costly for an app but compared to a traditional speech device is good value. An excellent review of Proloquo can be found on the very useful blog by Kati Lea: My life with Ataxia
Angry Octopus – Angry Octopus is a specifically designed story to help children learn to manage their anger. Highly acclaimed and recommended, this app teaches muscular relaxation and relaxed breathing through an interactive story rather than instructional teaching.
Stories2Learn– this app helps you create Social Stories for kids and adults diagnosed as having an Autistic Spectrum Disorder. It allows for the creation of personalised stories so you can include photos that the individual with the disorder can relate to and understand.
iCommunicate – another communication app which allows for simple expression of feelings and symbols. Again, you can customise it with specific photos of your environment, for example you could put together a storyboard with a photo of the individual with the disability and a photograph of their bed, symbolising bed time. It’s like interactive PEC cards for iPad users.
Doodle Kids – fun for anyone but has been described as particularly appealing to those with severe learning disabilities who respond well to sensory, light and colour therapies.
MyChoicePad – a brilliant and interactive way for learners and carers to understand and learn Makaton. It can significantly help adults and children with learning difficulties communicate their needs through symbols, images and words.
iBooks - built into every iPad and popular amongst those with disabilities and without, iBooks allows you to read books or have them read to you straight from your iPad. Fantastic for people with visual impairment. There are a range of free books and you can purchase more if you need to!
There are many more communication iPad apps both in development and already available to assist people. The iPad is a huge development for people with disabilities and can really offer new opportunities for communication and education. We will soon be reviewing some apps developed by users, a great step forward for design.
For people who want to mount and carry an iPad safely and cheaply, we recommend a Trabasack Mini Connect. It has a range of straps and carrying options, you can rest it comfortably on your lap while using your iPad. If you want to you can attach the iPad to the soft surface for security.