SoundingBoard is a mobile augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) app from AbleNet designed for teachers, parents, and caregivers of non-verbal students and persons with speech disabilities.
The app provides pre-loaded communication boards -- symbols with recorded messages -- and a simple platform for creating new ones. Students select and press messages to verbally communication during all phases of home life, learning, and daily peer interaction.
SoundingBoard is also the first AAC mobile app to incorporate scanning switch access, extending use to those who cannot touch the screen. SoundingBoard works with iPhone 3GS and 4, iPod touch (3rd and 4th generation), and all iPad iterations.
Using Pre-Loaded SoundingBoard Messages
SoundingBoard comes with pre-loaded communication boards organized in 13 categories such as Control (e.g. "Please stop!"), Emergency Help (e.g. "My home address is..."), Expressions, Money, Reading, Shopping, and Workplace.
To access pre-loaded boards, click "Select an Existing Board" on the app's main screen and scroll through the list of categories.
Press any message to hear it read aloud.
Creating New Communication Boards
To create a new communication board, press "Create a New Board" on the app's main screen.
Select "Board Name" to access the onscreen keypad. Enter a name for your new board and press "Save."
Select "Layout" and choose the number of messages you'd like your board to display. The options are: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, or 9. Click the corresponding icon and press "Save."
Once your board has been named and a layout chosen, click "Messages." When you create a new board, its message boxes are empty. To fill them, click on each in turn to access the "New Message" screen.
A messages have three parts, a picture, words you record to go along with the picture, and a message name.
Click "Picture" to add an image from one of three sources:
- Pick from Symbols Library
- Pick from Photo Library
- Take a New Photo.
The Symbols Library categories include: Actions, Animals, Clothes, Colors, Communication, Drinks, Food, Letters, and Numbers. The app indicates how many pictures each category contains.
You can also select an image from the photo library on your iOS device, or -- if using the iPhone 3G or iPod touch -- take a new photo.
Select the image you want to use and click "Save."
Click "Message Name" and type a name using the keypad. Press "Save."
Press "Record" to record what you want said when you click on the image, e.g. "May I please have a cookie?" Press "Stop." Press "Play recorded" to hear the message.
Once you have finished creating messages, the new board will appear on the main screen under "User Created Boards."
Linking Messages to Other Boards
A key SoundingBoard feature is the ability to quickly link messages you create to other boards.
To do this, select "Link Message to Another Board" at the bottom of the "New Message" screen.
Select the board you wish to add the message to and click "Done." Click "Save."
Messages linked to multiple boards appear highlighted with an arrow in the upper right corner. Linking boards can enable to child to easily communicate thoughts, needs, and wants in all daily situations.
New Features in SoundingBoard 3.0
Auditory Scanning: SoundingBoard now allows auditory scanning in addition to single and dual switch scanning. Auditory scanning works by playing a short "prompt message" during single or dual scanning actions. When the user selects the appropriate cell, the full message plays.
In-App Purchased Boards: In addition to pre-loaded boards and the ability to create your own, users can purchase professionally-created, editable boards directly within the app.
Data Collection: SoundingBoard offers basic data collection regarding app usage, including: boards accessed, symbols accessed, scanning method, and activity time stamps.
Edit Lock: In the "Settings" menu, you can disable editing functions.