Touch Screen Communicator Alternatives

Touch screen communicators, such as the Dynavox V and Dynavox Max are devices for people who are mute or non-verbal. They are Windows tablets computers with additional software. Communicators are typically VERY heavy, have short battery life, awkward to use, and very expensive. The current price of the DynaVox V is $7,820, and The Vmax costs $8,420. The software is quite complex; so much so that my last student needed to go for several hours of training just to learn how use his new DynaVox on a perfunctory level.

CBS did a news segment on their 60 Minutes program about using the iPad to help people with Autism express themselves. If you haven’t seen it, here is the link to
60 Minutes video.

There are low cost, truly portable communicator alternatives. The iPhone/iPod touch can be used as an AAC (
augmentative and alternative communication) device. At $200, the ipod touch is a real bargain for the person who is non-verbal. There are several AAC applications which cost from $0.99 to proloquo2go for $189 that let the iphone/iPad/ipod touch become a pocket communicator. The iPad is even more useful as a communicator. It has nearly a ten inch screen, weighs 1 lb, has a ten hour battery life and costs $499.
I’ve done several demos for speech pathologists and AAC users, and they are all very impressed with the functionality of the proloquo2go software. For those in Tennessee, come to the MEGA conference June 3-4 and you’ll get to see a real life demo by a long time AAC user.
Below are some links to videos which describe the use of the iPhone/touch as an AAC device.
TalkTablet- My top pick and available for iOS, Kindle and Android at $80

USAToday article about iphone app for use with Autistic children.

My two favorite apps for people who are non-verbal, but who can read are: SpeakIt ($1.99) and ExpressiveChat, formerly called AssistiveChat ($24.99)
Link to video explaining the use of SpeakIt
Link to video about ExpressiveChat The look of the new version is a bit different, but the function is the same.