TalkRocket Go is an augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) app that enables persons with speech disabilities -- including autism, cerebral palsy, stroke, and traumatic brain injuries -- to speak using their iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch.
The app enables users to build and organize vocabularies for different daily situations, from interacting with classmates to ordering food in a restaurant. A text-to-speech engine provides the voice.
How TalkRocket Go is Organized
The TalkRocket Go screen is divided into three main parts:
- The Navigation Bar (at the top)helps users move through their vocabulary
- The Vocabulary Window (in the middle) where you choose words and phrases to speak aloud
- TheView Menu (at the bottom) where you switch between different ways of using TalkRocket Go.
TalkRocket Go's View Menu has three main modes: Word view, Place view, and Keyboard view.
Word View is used for speaking & Navigation: You scroll through vocabulary and tap items (highlighted in blue) to speak the word or phrase aloud.
Items can be organized into groups, such as greetings, foods, friends, etc. Groups are highlighted in dark blue and have a "..." symbol in the lower right corner. Groups can be stored within other groups.
Place View provides fast access to relevant vocabulary and word groups at specific locations, such as in the classroom, coffee shop, or movie theater. Places automatically re-order themselves using GPS -- putting the nearest one geographically at the top -- as you move through the day.
Keyboard View enables users to quickly speak new words or phrases by typing them on the keyboard and pressing "Speak."
Using TalkRocket Go
To add items and groups to your TalkRocket vocabulary, tap the green + button at the bottom of the screen. You can make this an item that speaks when tapped, or a group containing other items.
Tap "Add Vocab Item or Group." The keyboard will appear beneath a new item template. Type the word or phrase you wish to add.
You can also download vocabulary packs with pre-selected words and phrases. Hit the + button and select "Add Vocab Pack" to see the pack catalog.
Adding Photos & Symbols to Vocabulary
You can attach images to items either by taking a new photo, or selecting one from your photo library.
To take a picture, tap the green photo icon and select "Take New Photo. To add an existing photo -- including ones downloaded from the web -- tap the photo icon and select "Pick Photo."
To chang labels on items or groups, tap the toolbox icon in the lower right corner and tap "Edit" to start editing. To change a label, tap the item and type the new words using the keypad.
To delete items and groups, tap the toolbox icon, tap "Edit," and tap the red "-" sign to the left of the item, and "Delete" on the right side of the item to confirm. Deleting cannot be undone.
To rearrange vocabulary, tap the toolbox icon, tap "Edit," and then touch the handle to the left of any item and drag it up or down. Let go when you reach the right spot. When finished, tap the top bar to stop.To add a new place, switch to Place view and tap the green "+" button at the bottom. Type a label to identify the new place. Open the place to start adding new vocabulary.
One popular TalkRocket Go feature is Swipe Storytelling, which works like a flip book, and can be used to tell stories, plan tasks, and create verbal routines.
Using TalkRocket Go in Scanning Mode
Scanning makes it easier for persons with physical disabilities to select words by turning the entire screen into one large selection button.
To use scanning, tap "Settings," select a speed and highlight color, and then tap "Start Scanning."
The app scrolls through items, highlighting each in turn. Tapping anywhere onscreen (using any touch method) speaks the highlighted item aloud. Tapping a highlighted group opens it and continues scanning within. Tapping the highlighted Home bar returns you to the top of your vocabulary list.
To turn off scanning, slide the arrow icon at the bottom of the screen to the right.
Scanning and other TalkRocket Go features can also be controlled from many Bluetooth keyboards and switches -- including those designed for wheelchair users.
TalkRocket Go Support Studio & Vocab Vault
TalkRocket Go and its website include two services to help parents, teachers, and professionals assist users: Support Studio and Vocabulary Vault.
Support Studio is a website where supporters can login to a user's TalkRocket account from any web browser and customize their vocabulary online, adding new words, phrases, and group to aid learning.
Vocab Vault automatically saves a user's personal vocabulary and photos. If a user loses or breaks their iOS device, they can restore all their content to a new one in minutes.
TalkRocket Go costs $99 and can be downloaded from the App Store.