Our speech pathology team has been working with an excellent full-featured communication app for the iPad called TouchChat HD - AAC from Silver KiteWe. While the app comes with a number of "vocabularies" off the shelf, we have worked for the past few months to customize vocabularies to suit our users, who are primarily youth 5-22 years old who are nonverbal, use direct access and who carry the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder.
TouchChat HD ($149.99) allows you to create page layouts determined by number of rows and columns. It is possible to "hide" buttons you are not ready to teach by sliding the Visible toggle to OFF in the Edit Button menu. It is also possible to change button background colors in order to further highlight key vocabulary.
TouchChat uses SymbolStix icons (as does ProLoQuo), as well as images saved from the internet or photos taken by the iPad. Features unique to TouchChat include: a variety of Button Actions (including Navigate, Clear Display, Play Audio), ability to "hide" or turn off Visibile status of buttons or links, ability to vary size and color of buttons, option to create pages with different layouts or number of buttons, iShare service (see below).
Villa Esperanza Services has created custom vocabularies propagated from the pre-programmed, TouchChat vocabularies entitled "MultiChat 15" (in TouchChat HD, $149.99) and "WordPower24" (in TouchChat HD with WordPower, $299.99). Within each of our customized vocabularies we have selected high priority core words, little words, and actions based on our clinical work with learners, and have made our best attempt to preserve locations of like terms on different pages for consistent motor plans.
Custom Core Words
iShare is a subscription that gives a TouchChat device access to a large server, through the wireless connection on the iPod, iPhone or iPad. You are given access to a private section that only you can access. This is where you can store your personal files. You are also given access to a sharing section of the server. Here, you can post page sets that you want to share with others, and download page sets that others have posted.
iShare is a feature of TouchChat that comes free for 365 (as of 2/6/12, subject to change). To register and start downloading/uploading, follow the step by step, below. Six-month subscriptions to iShare are purchased for $59 as an in-App purchase from the TouchChat application. Note: Each device that participates in iShare must have its own iShare subscription and must have connection to a wireless network.
Go to the upper left of a home screen for any vocabulary and select the Vocab button embedded in the orange heading bar. On the Vocab File page, select Menu in the upper right and choose iShare Service. You will be asked to register and offered 365 days of service free of charge (at least that is the status quo today, 2/6/12). Choose a user name and password that will be exclusive to iShare (not shared with iTunes or any other subscription), and you're on your way!
The iShare folders will appear and you may select to download or upload files to My Files (available only to you, under your user and password), Public Files (for TC HD users, no Word Power files here), or WordPower (for those with the premium version of TC - this folder will not appear if you own the $149 version of the app)
Whatever folder you select, a Categories list will appear. To find Villa Esperanza vocabularies, select All Categories and scroll down near the bottom of the alphabetically organized file list.
The two customized vocabularies are free on iShare, and have been updated routinely, so that the most current dated version should be downloaded.
VES MC15 2/6/12
VES WP24 2/6/12 (only available to those with WordPower - the $299 version)