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Top 10 Alternative & Augmentative Communication (AAC) Apps for iPad

The iPad Gives Voice to Persons with Speech Disabilities

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The iPad continues to make communication more accessible and cost-effective for persons with developmental and speech disabilities.

Mobile apps provide many of the vocabulary building and text-to-speech features of alternative and augmentative communication (AAC) devices for far less than products such as the Dynavox Maestro.

The following apps help persons who struggle to speak due conditions such as autism, brain injuries, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, and stroke. They provide ways to choose words, symbols, and images to express moods, needs, and thoughts.

1. I Can Speak, Lazy River Software, ($29.99)

iTunes

I Can Speak is an easy-to-use AAC app designed to meet most of the communications needs of those unable to speak. The app includes 12 backgrounds, four button styles, and two word selection areas called Static and Dynamic. The Static Area, which is always available, contains over 240 words and phrases to build sentences. The Dynamic Area has two category lists: Words and Activities. The Words list has over 500 entries and can hold around 5,000. Activities list words reference specific actions, e.g. art class or using the bathroom. Combining Static and Dynamic words can generate thousands of simple sentences. Version: 1.1; Size: 10.0 MB; Requirements: iOS 3.2 or later.

2. iCommunicate, Grembe, Inc., $49.99)

iTunes

iCommunicate lets you design and customize such things as visual schedules, storyboards, communication boards, choice boards, flash cards, and speech cards. The app provides text-to-speech with 20 different voice options, and enables users to include their own pictures and record their own audio for boards. Includes 10,000+ N2Y SymbolStix images and supports printing via AirPrint or email boards. Version: 2.02; Size: 208 MB; Requirements: iOS 3.1.3 or later.

3. iPrompts, Handhold Adaptive, LLC, ($49.99)

iTunes

iPrompts provides visual prompting tools (no audio prompts or voice output) to help users transition from one activity to the next, understand upcoming events, make choices, and focus on the task at hand. Teachers or caregivers can create picture schedules from hundreds of stock photos and illustrations and their own uploaded images. The app also has a countdown timer to show users when the current activity will end. Other features include choice prompts and an image library. Version: 2.06; Size: 5.2 MB; Requirements: iOS 3.1.3 or later.

4. Locabulary Lite, Red Mountain Labs, Inc., (Free)

iTunes

Locabulary provides vocabulary to communicate quick phrases, moods, and requests for assistance. The app can be used for everyday communications, teaching, or for fun. Locabulary Lite has expanded Category and Phrase Settings. Users can create and link Location Presets for points of interest to a category or bank of phrases. The app speaks text-message abbreviations, e.g. type "cul" and "See you later" is spoken. You can also backup and save all phrase categories to a remote Locabulary server. Version: 2.0; Size: 32.5 MB; Requirements: iOS 4.0 or later.

5. My Choice Board, Good Karma Applications, Inc., ($9.99)

iTunes

The My Choice Board app enables users to increase independence and communicate needs and wants by presenting a visual display of choices. The user touches the choice icon, which is displayed at the top of the screen. A second touch enlarges the choice to the entire screen and, if selected, any prerecorded messages. Users can create multiple boards with as many choices as needed. Images can be uploaded from the device's camera, computer, or the web and can include sound. Version: 1.1; Size: 5.1 MB; Requirements: iOS 3.1.2 (4.2 for the iPad) or later.

6. MyTalkTools Mobile, 2nd Half Enterprises, LLC, ($39.99)

iTunes

MyTalkTools Mobile enables users to express their needs to those around them using a variety of images, symbols, video and text-to-speech audio files. The app features full AAC capability, including a mobile authoring mode to create messages on the fly. It also has local content accessible without an Internet connection. All user-generated content is backed up MyTalk Workspace. Version: 3.1; Size: 16.0 MB; Requirements: iOS 3.2 or later.

7. Predictable, Tbox apps, ($159.99)

iTunes

Predictable is an AAC app providing text-to-speech and customizable functions with social media integration. The app uses a word prediction engine featuring integrated intelligent self-learning of new words and contexts and easy-to-use category folders. Users can compose and send email and SMS messages, Tweets, and Facebook updates. It supports switch access, including use of the entire screen as a switch. The app is also accessible via Bluetooth switch box. Version: 2.0; Size: 606 MB; Requirements: iOS 3.0 or later.

8. Proloquo2go, AssistiveWare, ($189.99)

iTunes

Proloquo2Go features text-to-speech, high-rez symbols, a 7,000-word vocabulary, and advanced word prediction. The app can be used without a WiFi or 3G connection. Version 1.7.2 contains 30 improvements and fixes. Includes an "Adjust # of Columns" feature removed from version 1.7 that displays more columns in landscape view. Also back is the "Try to Fill Screen" feature that enlarges some category buttons. The message window and navigation bar are now adjustable. All Settings are now consolidated into a password-protected Option View. Version: 1.7.2; Size: 341 MB; Requirements: iOS 4.2 or later.

9. TapSpeak Choice, Ted Conley, ($149.99)

iTunes

TapSpeak Choice for iPad is a comprehensive communication board and speech editor and player designed to save setup and maintenance time. The app supports the DynaVox PCS library as well as user photos and images. Boards can contain from one to 56 messages. The app offers 18 grid dimensions and a dynamic layout that automatically adjusts grid size as you add buttons. TapSpeak Choice can use the iPad screen as a switch for scanning to help users with limited motor skills. Version: 2.2.0; Size: 206 MB; Requirements: iPad with iOS 4.2 or later. Price restricts sale to persons 17 or older.

10. TouchChat HD, Silver Kite, ($149.99)

iTunes

TouchChat HD speaks words, phrases, and messages using any of seven synthetic voices. Buttons enable users to navigate among page sets, speak messages, change the volume, or clear the display. Tilt the device to display a message full-screen with large letters. TouchChat text can be shared via Facebook, Twitter, text messaging, and email. Text from other applications can be imported and read aloud; TouchChat text can also be copied to other applications. TouchChat HD is bundled withWordPower24. Version: 1.1.2; Size: 603 MB; Requirements: iPad with iOS 3.2 or later. Price restricts sale to those 17 and older.

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