Assistive Technology in Education/Proloquo2Go
The iPod Touch can also be used as a communication device for students who need assistance communicating with others. There are several applications that are similar to assistive technology Voice Output Communication Aids (VOCAs) which have been used for years with individuals with autism and other communication needs.
Proloquo2Go is a product from AssistiveWare that provides a full-featured communication solution for people who have difficulty speaking (Proloquo2Go, 2009) This application uses natural sounding text-to-speech voices and symbols to assist users with communication needs. Proloquo2Go contains a default vocabulary of over 7000 items, as well as full expandability. Users can also add their own text using the keyboard function to speak items that are not contained in the vocabulary. Special educators and therapists have found this to be a cost-effective augmentative communication device that has opened up a new world for individuals with communication needs.
Another product that can help students with communication needs is the application Expressionist, which was created by AdastraSoft (AdastraSoft, 2009). Expressionist contains over 120 commonly used expressions and over 1000 nouns organized into categories. This application uses a picture approach, instead of a traditional sentence composition approach, to illustrate an expression or a concept. Expressionist uses a black and white character along with photographs to create composite images. This provides students with images that are less confusing than other devices that use secondary references (i.e. – using a turtle or snail to indicate slow).
Students who benefit from the structure of schedules and visual prompts would benefit from iPrompts. This application is a visual prompting tool that was designed especially for special educators, parents, and therapists to use with language impaired individuals (AppShopper, 2009). iPrompts was developed by the parents of a boy with autism and a speech-language pathologist. This application does not contain any audio prompts or voice output. There are four main components to iPrompts: picture schedules, visual countdown timer, choice prompts, and a visual library. iPrompts is an easy to use alternative to velcro cards and magnet boards that stores schedules and social stories in a portable device. Although this device would be primarily used by adult caregivers, it can provide students with an alternative way to receive visual reminders about their day.
- AssistiveWare. (2009). Proloquo2Go: Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) for iPhone and iPod Touch. Accessed July 13, 2009 at http://www.proloquo2go.com/.
- Adastrasoft (2009). Expressionist. Accessed July 13, 2009 at http://www.adastrasoft.com/Expressionist.html.
- App Shopper. (2008) App Shopper: iPrompts (Medical). Accessed July 13, 2009 at http://appshopper.com/medical/iprompts.