The Southern California Augmentative and Alternative Communication Network... a support group for professional development, problem solving, leadership, mentoring, and training in the use of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) to develop communication in non-speaking and minimally verbal individuals in the Southern California Region.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

SCAAC-N Spring Meeting Notes - 4/26/11

Presentation by:
Lesley Mayne, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
AT Specialist for La Cañada Unified School District
Pasadena Child Development Associates
iPad: An AAC Tool for the Right Person
“Don’t Steal Me; I’m a Communication Device”

iPad: The Pros, the Cons, some Considerations
·      Excellent tool and a fantastic addition to our toolkit of options
·      Socially acceptable
·      Affordable – compared to traditional AAC devices
·      Offers a range – traditional AAC devices were low tech or high tech
·      An iPad can be an AAC tool and an educational tool – no longer mutually exclusive
·      Applications are tied to an iTunes account that can be uploaded to multiple iPads per owner.  School districts must hold accounts for each student in order for AAC programs to be backed up.
·      Consider the iPad a disposable AAC tool
o   Easy to lose or get stolen (It does not scream I am someone’s voice.)
o   Easy to delete a program
§  Novel pages can be backed up
·      Audio: Is the audio adequate for my user? 
·      Control Set Up: Does the user have the cognitive and/or fine motor ability to manipulate the small buttons to regulate the controls for brightness, audio, on/off etc.?
·      Durability: Will my user drop or throw this device?  What is the degree of concern that the user or others incidentally, accidentally, or quite purposefully damage the iPad?  Is the protective case and positioning mounts or stands durable enough for the user (e.g. impulsivity, ataxia, heavy handed user)?  What you gain in stability do you lose in the weight or awkwardness of mounts or stands?
·      Transportability: How will my user carry the device and use it for quick communication?  What other technology may meet this need (e.g. Ablenet device; Dynavox V; Vanguard)?
·      Wheelchair mount – unknown damage to the device while in motion
·      Environment:
o   Brightness: Will the screen brightness of the iPad be appropriate for the user both inside and outside?  Is the user able to access the tools to change settings?
o   Safety: Will the use of the iPad place the user with disabilities in danger of being robbed or physically harmed in any way?
·      Fine motor skills: Does the user have the ability to touch accurately or are the frame guards of traditional communication devices more appropriate?  Can the user be successful with a stylus?  No ready to purchase adapted styluses to date for users with more complex physical disabilities but wrist guards and splints can be modified or adapted.
·      Eye contact: How many hits does it take to get to the same type of communication on a traditional device?  Will the user lose their audience or communication partner?
·      What is the social impact on the user?  For example, an elementary school student may not wait around for a user to hit six buttons to say a message. High school students and tech savvy adults may be more invested in the interaction.  On the other side, will adults 45+ be “afraid” of technology out of a lack of experience and not be receptive to either using technology or waiting to participate in a discussion using AAC.  The technological advances for some adults are seen as science fiction, not of their generation, and for some is a challenge to navigate.    
·      Time: How fast is your user?  Has the audience been lost during the time it takes to find the desired message or would a traditional device serve the user better?
·      Is the symbol set, icons, or images appropriate for the user?
·      No auditory scanning to date
Physical Access and iPad Cases
1)    R.J. Cooper and Associates, Inc. carries iPad cases and a mount with a mini-arm, articulating arm, and device adapter (stabilizes the device with heavy duty Velcro and a universal base.  See the link at   Switch access environmental controls are now available.
a.    iPad case:
2)    iPad Cordless Switch Interface from Disabled Online
3)    Otterbox is great for protection of the iPad.  See the link,default,sc.html
4)    Best Buy, Target, and other major technology retailers have cases.  Consider the individual’s reach when considering the quality of the case such as durable tri-fold stands.
5)    iPad accessories has a stylus that may benefit some AAC users.  The Pogo Stylus can be attached to a hand splint or cuff but must touch part of the skin for activation.
AAC Applications for the iPad
(When shopping in the app store you may need to remove spaces between words in some cases to find the name of the app.  Consider a web search for the title if you continue to have challenges locating a specific app.)
AAC Speech Buddy
Create free custom speech sets on-line using Mulberry Symbols (PECS); upload to ipad; 6 voices; page sharing
Multilinguistic; user’s pics; record voice; thematic galleries; create agendas
Publish pages from server; Copy pages from computer; Audio, page linking, speak, speak and clear, clear buttons; Image pictures
Voice output yes/no; 2 button choice; voice options; change the buttons
Assistive Chat
Key board and word prediction voice output then play the sentence; stores completed sentences for quick voice output productions
Autoverbal Talking Soundboard PRO
Text to speech (TTS)-not great reviews; Phrases and categories, multiple voices; history page
Broca’s Voice
Enter sounds not letters for voice output; recordable voice coming soon
Choiceboard Maker
Basic training tool to prepare young AAC users; Customize 2,3,4,6 choices; Download pics and audio; blank box option; touch to play a tune, odd one out, find the image
Click n Talk
Talking ipad photo album-record voice to pics and store pics as albums
Easy Speak
TTS querty key board; toggle between word and phrase prediction; no icons
120 common expressions in 7 categories; a composite picture illustrates a concept
Category based symbols and images; record own voice; recorded audio, hide and delete protection; change background/file colors
PECS on an ipad-categorical files and semantic mapping
50 pairs of common responses
I Can Speak
240 static words; 500 dynamic category vocab, holds up to 5,000 words; short and simple words/phrases/sentences
Intro version of iCommunicate – pre-k level
Basic to Mod
Storyboards, routines, schedules up to 10x4 pictures/10,000 SymbolStixs; links to community web site
Basic wants and needs; 6 frame format; audio; common and personal buttons; import images or use loaded pics; qwerty keyboard to label pics
Basic function of feelings and wants; Lead page has written text no icons “I feel, I need..”
Keyboarding; Word prediction, stores sentences, yes/no button, voice output; transfer text to other applications like email
Locabulary Lite
Trial Version
GPS locator with vocabulary fill for dining and entertainment; Qwerty key board with social buttons (e.g. hi/bye, yes/no, thanks)
GPS location based vocabulary based on noun-verb-object structure
Look 2Learn
Outstanding individualization, has an asses tool, 140 pictures and voice output; I want+pic
My Choice Board
Visual display of choices; need external mic to record voices
My Talk Tools Mobile
Access to My Talk Workspace; audio files and human voice; think Go Talk as an app
My Voice

Voice output words/phrases/sentences; GPS IDs location loads phrases (e.g. movie words)
Neo Speech
TTS; Multiple language and voice options; NeoKate, NeoPaul; NeoJulie
One Voice
Categorical vocab in left landscape view; speak sentences or words; qwerty keyboard option
Phrase Board
Yes/No button; pain level statements; programmable phrases; drawing board
Pick a Word
I want+picture image (not much info. avail)

TTS word prediction; direct touch; switch access; scanning; keyboard options; phrase bank; email options; Facebook interface; 9 voices; access to recent phrases; optional auditory feedback of scanned word options
Categorical language base with automatic conjugations; 7,000 word default library; word prediction; expandable; easy to use
Scene Speak
Visual scene display; active sound areas and add voice; add images to themes grouped as “books”; resize images; TTS; file sharing
Small Talk
See the app store for numerous small talk apps for dysphasia, oral motor, conversational phrases, ADL, intensive care, pain scale, phonemes, consonant blends, common phrases, days/months/dates, letters/numbers/colors
Link boards; single and dual switch access; pre-loaded communication boards; 1-9 frames
TTS reads emails, documents, news articles, etc.  copy documents into the app
Spubble Lite
Speaking bubbles; Basic tap to speak words/phrases; 5 categories 150 words
Talk Assist
TTS save and bookmark phrases to history
TapSpeak Button
Modern mechanical switch teaching cause and effect
TapSpeak Choice
PCS symbols or import own images; RJ Cooper switch compatible; 1-56 messages, text to speech, background color changes
Tap to Speak Sequence
Unlimited number and length of sequences; Use programmed sequences or create your own with recordable voice; Configure background
Tap to Talk
Has an album of choices; Tap to Talk Designer has a 100$a year fee for software; avail for DS
TouchChat HD - AAC
Full feature AAC device; Has a WordPower edition, a word based vocabulary for $299.99.; Lite version good for assessments $9.99
Tap words or phrases to speak; 60 essential words, core phrases, word prediction; custom
Verbal Victor
Admin and user pages; 2,4,6 buttons; some loaded icons, import novel images
150 preloaded icons, 9 categories, Japanese version; targets school age kids
+ Other options available for a fee/price
Related Resources
(aka apps or other products discovered during the vetting of the aforementioned apps)
·      Geek SLPs Apps and Technology for SLPs
·      Take Turns – iTunes app $0.99 Basic clock timer described as “an automatic egg timer” useful for turn taking
·      Pocket Whiteboard – iTunes app $0.99 Basic whiteboard application useful for drawing or writing messages
·      iPrompts – iTunes app $49.99  Picture schedules, visual countdown timer, choice prompts, image library
·      Search “speak” in the app store to find many TTS, language translation, recording audio and send as email (see Dragon Dictation as well)
·      Switch Accessible: Alexicom, RadSounds (RJ Cooper’s own cause/effect software), Tap to Talk, Tap Speak, Sounding Board. Add the Motorola speaker for volume.
·      Stories2Learn: social stories on an app $13.99
·      Turn Taker $2.99 in iTunes uses visual and auditory cues to facilitate turn taking
More Resources
·       Carolann Cormier, MS, CCC-SLP, ATP January 20, 2011
·       Davis, Jennifer. Apps for Use in Speech Language Pathology Created September 15, 2010, 

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