Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) includes any type of communication that is not oral. Gestures, facial expressions, recognizable symbols, and other visual communication methods work for people who have trouble with creating understandable speech. The Android operating system has created some new high-tech tools to aid therapists who are teaching people to use AAC. These tools provide images and photos that can be paired with digital or naturally recorded voices. The apps can aid a speech therapist in working on expressive communication skills with AAC patients of all ages. Patients can also use the Android apps to practice between therapy sessions so they can make faster progress.
1. Tap to Talk
This application pairs pictures with voice output. Several internet locations offer updates for the image library, so parents and speech therapists can make adjustments without using the Android device directly. This app is good for working with people who have limited word output at a rate of two or three words at a time. Therapists can use it to help with expressive communication because it allows you to record natural voices rather than forcing you to rely on the digital voice that comes with the app.
2. ICOON: Global Picture Dictionary
ICOON was originally designed to aid travelers, but it has become very useful for therapy situations with people who need to rely on AAC for communication. The app contains a dictionary of 500 images of everyday objects and symbols. There is no sound or voice element, it is strictly pictures. It is a good app for patients who need to pair words with symbols or pictures.
3. AAC Speech Buddy
This app lets you create speech sets through an online site and then download them to an Android device. It is a great tool for therapists because it allows them to customize the speech sets depending on the patient’s specific needs. The app has access to more than 2000 images that the user can combine in speech sets.
The Voice4u app comes pre-loaded with more than 150 easily recognizable icons. Users can create custom icons as well. The app utilizes a clear, expressive voice to help therapists work with patients on their own expression when they speak. Therapists or patients can add photos and their own sounds to create a more personal learning experience. This app works with autistic individuals in mind, so it has a simple interface that is engaging and easy to use.
Alexicom is a web-based AAC service that allows users to create hundreds of different kinds of pages they can download to their Android devices. These communication pages include voice matches for the pictures and symbols, which can help people who have trouble communicating, express their needs when they are in public. Therapists can set up specific communication pages in advance so that they can save time during speech therapy sessions because the Android device will already contain the pages the therapist wanted to work on.