1. Technology
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Prentke-Romich AAC Devices Give Users Language, Not Just Words


Prentke-Romich AAC Devices Give Users Language, Not Just Words

Prentke-Romich products help persons with speech impairments develop language skills that lead to independence.


Prentke Romich Company (PRC) is a member of a consortium of assistive technology companies specializing in augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). PRC's mission is to help people with disabilities achieve their potential in educational, vocational, and personal pursuits by providing assistive technology that is focused on language development that enables real, spontaneous communication.

An innovative aspect of PRC products is a design philosophy that seeks to enlarge the role of AAC devices from providing basic communication tools to a platform for lifelong language development.

PRC's world headquarters are located in Wooster, Ohio. The company is 100% employee-owned.

Prentke-Romich Historical Highlights:

1966: Barry Romich, a freshman engineering student, met Ed Prentke, an engineer at Highland View Hospital in Cleveland. The two partnered and began building equipment on evenings and weekends.

1969: They converted a discarded Teletype machine into a communications device and Prentke-Romich was born.

1981: Prentke and Romich begin working with Bruce Baker, integrating his concept of semantic compaction -- coding that makes using ACC devices faster and more natural -- into its products, including the first Minspeak system, introduced in 1982.

1995: PRC develops Unity, a proprietary vocabulary program with spelling, word prediction, and single-meaning picture options that is now the foundation for vocabulary in most PRC products.

2000: PRC releases Pathfinder, which features a static keyboard and color dynamic display for a new generation of AAC devices.

2001: PRC releases Vantage, a portable device with an enhanced operating system that streamlines customization and support -- elements incorporated into the SpringBoard, introduced the following year.

2003: PRC releases Vanguard II, featuring synthesized and digitized speech, computer emulation, infrared environmental controls, and an integrated head-pointing system.

2007: PRC co-founder Edwin Morris Prentke dies; PRC introduces ECO-14 -- a next-generation AAC device combining advanced communication and robust computing capabilities -- and LAMP (Language Acquisition through Motor Planning), training strategies to promote language development for persons with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

2009: PRC launches the AAC Language Lab, an online training resource providing lessons to help AAC communicators develop expressive language to his or her full potential.

Prentke-Romich Products:

ECO2($7,895): ECO is PRC's most advanced AAC device (with a Windows 7 processor) that features "one-touch" transition from computing to speech output to make communication faster and more efficient.

ECO is pre-programmed with PRC's Unity language. It has a large 14.1" XGA TFT display and larger keys to make access easier for users with visual impairments or mobility limitations. The ECO's built-in player supports WAV and MP3/WMA files.

SpringBoard Lite(2,595): SpringBoard Lite is a portable AAC device -- among PRC’s easiet to use -- that provides access to the Unity language in configurations of 4, 8, 15, and 36 symbol locations. SpringBoard features a simplified Toolbox, “Exploration Wizard,” built-in media player, infrared environmental control functions, and Bluetooth connectivity.

HeadMouse Extreme ($1,195.00): HeadMouse is a wireless optical tracking system designed for people with limited dexterity. The mouse consists of an Optical Sensor and an interface. The infrared sensor tracks tracks a small reflective dot placed on the user's forehead or glasses. When the user moves his or her head, the onscreen mouse pointer moves proportionally.

HeadMouse Extreme connects to a computer or AAC device through a USB port and uses standard mouse drivers. HeadMouse Extreme (as well as HeadMouse for Portables) provides access to PRc's Vanguard II, Vantage, Pathfinder, and SpringBoard.

TrackerPro ($1,195.00): TrackerPro is an alternative mouse for persons with little or no manual dexterity. TrackerPro uses a high-resolution, head-mounted camera that provides a 45-degree field of view, enabling users to sit in the most comfortable position and still execute all mouse functions, including drawing. The device works on any desktop or notebook computer. No additional software is required.

PRC Resources Include Funding Department

Prentke-Romich has maintained a Funding Department since 1987 staffed by professionals who help persons with disabilities and their representatives acquire solutions. The process includes submitting AAC evaluations, written requests, and working with Medicare, Medicaid, and other insurance providers.

Users can download the PRC Funding Fundamentals PDF on the company’s website, use its online Funding Submission Assistant, or access forms specific to their state.

Visit Prentke-Romich or call 800.268.5224 for more information.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.