Posts Tagged ‘iPad’
iPad helps American Boy find his Voice
The benefits of iPad apps and technology for those living with disabilities proven again
Despite the iPad being popular with absolutely everybody, we are convinced they help and support learning and communication for people with disabilities. Hunter Harrison is a five year old boy uses his iPad to communicate. Hunter lives with a neuromuscular disability which effects his motor abilities including those needed for verbal communication. Despite this, Hunter is learning to read, knows his numbers, letters, colours and shapes and will be attending mainstream school in September.
Hunter needs a communication system that works. It’s clear he has the facilities to flourish in a mainstream classroom environment. This view is shared by Jane Kleinert from the University of Kentucky who has been working with Hunter. She highlights how popular the iPad has been for use in classrooms, particularly with pupils with autism. The adaptability of the device is one of its most popular features.
Access to AAC Devices Limited, despite iPad affordability
Research in the US has shown that less than 50% of children who require AAC support have access to it. We don’t have statistics for the UK but we’re sure they won’t be significantly different. Access to AAC devices is essential for supporting communication development in children with disabilities. Professor Kleinert and a UK colleague are working together to develop an initiative to build communication systems for children with disabilities. The scheme has allowed Hunter his own iPad loaded up with the popular Proloquo2Go App. The app allowed Hunter to find ways to communicate but over time it has also led to improvement in his oral speech.
Unfortunately in America, the leading funding options won’t supply iPads as they restrict their funds to dedicated instruments designed for communication. The iPad doesn’t fit this category. However, dedicated AAC devices are often heavy and extremely expensive. The iPad of course has many portability and cost advantages and the success Hunter has achieved is something that every child should have access to. This video shows Hunter in action:
Trabasack can be used successfully as a low cost iPad or communication aid mount for more info click here
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.
The 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.
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.
The 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.
The 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.
Easy 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.
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.
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!
How to use Proloquo2Go on Your iPad
Proloquo2Go is the leading portable and affordable AAC communication app for iPads and other Apple devices. Proloquo2Go can significantly improve the communication for those who are non-verbal or who have difficulty finding the words they need in certain scenarios, for example when they’re over anxious or stressed.
A simple guide to how to use Proloquo2Go on your iPad.
Initially, you need to have a basic understanding of Apple technology, which is extremely intuitive and known for its basic and easy-accessibility. Proloquo2go is potentially very advanced technology but has some very basic features which have been known to aid even toddlers in their speech.
Firstly, you will see a grid or list of core types of word and speech that you can add to for example: Food and Drink, My Places and My Clothes. From these you can tap the items which are relevant to your sentence and they will appear in the message window. If you need to conjugate these words you can simply press down and the full range of conjugations comes up. This means you can say ‘I am hungry’ instead of ‘I be hungry’ for example. To speak your sentence, you simply tap the message window and it will be vocalised by your iPad. If it’s a sentence you feel you’ll use frequently, you can tap the plus (+) button and it will be added to the vocabulary in your iPad into the category of your choice. You can also recall recent speech items via the ‘Recent Views’ button and then you can repeat sentences from early in the day if you need to do, making it easy to have necessary commands and sentences stored.
This video gives some more information regarding Proloquo2Go:
This is a very basic outline of how Proloquo2go can be used but it can become an essential part of your daily life as it aids all communication and potentially socialisation. To ensure you can access your Proloquo2go app and in turn your iPad whilst out and about, it helps to have a specially designed iPad bag. The Trabasack Mini Connect is ideal as an iPad bag as it is perfectly designed to fit both iPad and iPad2 devices and is both secure and safe. In addition to its use as a bag you can use your Trabasack Mini Connect as a lap tray, which is extremely handy if you’re and about and you have a question or anything else to say. You can simply have your iPad resting on your Trabasack Mini Connect and access the sentences or phrases you want to use via Proloquo2go.
It is that simple and it can revolutionise your daily life, with the tap of a screen.
Click here for more ideas about communication apps and ipads
The positive impact of iPads for people with disabilities
Yes we know, everybody wants an iPad, they are one of the must-have items of the 21st century and if you haven’t got one, chances are you’re lusting after one. Despite their cult status as a symbol of power and technological prowess, there is evidence to suggest iPads are actually improving the lives of those with disabilities in a number of unexpected ways. Here we discuss just a few of the ways that an iPad can have a positive impact on a person with various disabilities.
- For Communication
Before the development of the iPad and its release on the general market, devices which use text-to-speech or touch-to-speak technology were extremely expensive, You would have been looking at, at least £1000 for a remotely serviceable device but now you can get your iPad for less than £400 and touch-to-speak apps such as Proloquo2go can be found for less than £120. This is extremely beneficial and can be life changing for non-verbal adults and children. Now, if your child with speech difficulties is thirsty they can let you know with real words. Many apps can also be customised and adapted to personally suit your specific needs with additional features such as photographs and such like.
There are apps which can be used by people with severe movement disorders and difficulty with speech. The Yes/No app allows for simple Yes and No responses and gives dignity to individuals who have may have no other means of easy communication. Such developments in technology truly are revolutionary for people who need them.
- For Learning
There are many specific apps and programs which are designed to help those with additional needs and disabilities. Apps have been designed and tailored to suit children and adults with specifics disabilities and play to the strengths of the individual in question rather than aiming for a standard “norm”.
There is sufficient evidence which suggests that many children defined as having an Autistic Spectrum Disorder respond very well to iPads and other tablet devices in a learning capacity and some SEN schools are beginning to implement this technology to support pupil’s learning.
Applications like Stories2Learn which help in the creation of social stories and Draw Free are really great for the development of children with additional educational needs and can be a great supplement at home for what’s learnt in school!
- For Therapy
There is much evidence which suggests that using an iPad can significantly increase the development of a child or adults fine motor skills. People born with low muscle tone sometimes find it hard to develop their fine motor skills but through consistent use of an iPad which requires very precise touch screen presses and sophisticated finger isolation these skills can slowly be coaxed and developed.
There is in fact an app called Dexteria specifically designed for developing your fine motor skills.
- For Behaviour Management
There are many great apps designed for helping parents, guardians and teachers manage and measure the behavioural developments of children with special needs. One of the most popular apps for this particular process is Behaviour Tracker Pro which allows for all types of assessments.
There are also great apps which can help young adults with learning disabilities further their independence such as Medication Reminder which will help remind you when to take your meds and Nudge which gives you reminders to keep on top of your to-do list or daily goals.
The iPad has thoroughly enhanced the lives of many people with additional needs and disabilities and their power cannot be underestimated. To confidently and comfortably use your iPad on the move, you should also consider buying a Trabasack which is perfect for housing your iPad but also works a portable desk if you fancy using it when you’re on the move or there’s no level surface available.
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.