Monday, 1 November 2010

I can...use today's technology!

Technology changes so rapidly that it can be challenging to keep current. New technology is often more widely available, comes with a wide range of software or apps, and may offer a less expensive option for people with communication needs. 

What's New, What's Hot?
Here are some of the latest technologies that may help meet communication needs.  Communication software is now more readily available for off-the-shelf technology that many are already using.  Check websites for feedback and reviews.  Changes occur frequently.  Also remember that commercially available options will not meet everyone's needs. You may want to pursue an assessment through an Individual Authorizer or an AC clinic.

Proloquo2Go: Communication on the Go for the Iphone, iPad and IPod touch. Offers a full-featured, easily customizable AAC solution with over 7000 symbols, natural sounding voices, and ease of use. App cost $189.99. 

Speak it! Text to Speech: Reads emails, documents, web pages, PDF files aloud on iPhone or iPad. 4 voices. App cost $1.99

Tap to Talk™: A symbol based communication app for e.g. for Nintendo DS,  iPhone, iPod or IPad. The free version comes with a fully functional album but cannot be customized. Individualized albums can be customized through a paid subscription of  $99.95 year.
Sounding Board ™: Create custom boards (with up to 9 message locations) using AbleNet symbols or your own photos on your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad. Cost $49.99.

Icommunicate: Create pictures, flashcards, storyboards, routines, and visual schedules. Custom audio available. Cost $29.99
Grace: Picture Exchange System created for children with ASD and used similarly to PECS. User selects pictures that then appear at the bottom of screen to create a phrase/sentence. Customizable picture and photo library.  Cost $37.99.

SGD manufacturers continue to develop portable device options. E.g  Dynavox® Express™ & Maestro™, Jabbla Smart & Zingui;2;&item=18

TapSpeak Button: $9.99. Turns iPhone or iPod into a single message device.
ICOON: Picture Dictionary with 500+ symbols in 12 categories. Point to desired picture to communicate. $0.99
iConverse: Basic communication boards with 6 different category icons that represent basic needs through auditory & visual representation. Customizable icons/speech. $9.99

Little Bytes: Thoughts & Reminders
If your child’s seating is being changed, don’t forget to let your seating clinician know what the AAC system is, how your child accesses it and where it is mounted.  Ask if you should bring the AAC system to the seating appointment. If you need help with this, contact your ACS clinicians.

No-Tech Ideas
  • My Communication Purse® is a cool way for your young symbol fashionista to carry her words. The cover of the purse is Velcro® receptive to use as a communication display panel. Six internal compartments keep communication symbol cards organized.
Light Tech Ideas

High Tech Ideas

  • If eligible, funding for some communication devices may be covered by the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care through the Assistive Devices Program (ADP). Individuals need to be assessed by a qualified practitioner (authorizer), who can prescribe appropriate equipment based on specific needs of the person. Funding is not supplied retroactively.

I Can…be a Star!
The room went silent as 18 year old Qyzra Walji of Oakridge Secondary school took the stage at the London Accessibility Committee's, 16th Annual Empowerment and Action Day entitled "Assistive Technology: Enhancing our Lives".  Qyzra spoke about how the use of AAC has enhanced her ability to reach her full potential.  She did a fabulous job and was well received!

Coming this month …
3rd Annual School Age Children
with Special Needs Sat. Nov. 20
2010. A full day of interactive workshops, geared to parents/caregivers of school age children and/or children soon entering the school system with special needs. Come see us at the displays featuring AAC! Check the TVCC Calendar of Events for details:

Used it? Review it!
If you have tried any new hardware or software for communication, share your thoughts. Let us know what you think and we will share it with our readers.

Resources: Informative stories, videos and access to resources related to current emerging AAC developments.

Communication boards can be created on MyTalk workspace on computer or mobile device.  You can use images from the built in library or create your own with up to 32,000 cells stored. 30 day free trial followed by $75.00 annually.  MyTalkTools Mobile Lite has only 12-cell capacity, using one or two boards Cost: FREE.
Locabulary: Pre-programmed words & phrases are made available based on your GPS location. Ability to type custom sentences. Cost: FREE
Talk Assist:  anything you type in will be spoken out loud. Phrases will be saved to a history, and favorite phrases can be bookmarked for regular use. Cost: FREE