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Autism, iPads, Problems and Solutions

October 23, 2012 in Special Education Articles by Jess

As a certified speech language pathologist using technology with children with autism for the past 12 years, I have experienced first hand the impact the iPad has had on the field. When the iPad was first released, it was quickly adopted by the special needs community as an easy to use, engaging tool.  Plus, with the early creation of apps for communication, it solidified its place as a viable option for children with autism. There is much debate about the benefits of the iPad for these children, but in my experience, the use of the iPad boils down to two major categories: a therapeutic tool or a communication tool. Read the rest of this entry →

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Enable Real Conversation – App Review: Verbally Premium

February 2, 2012 in App Review by Doug Goldberg

Verbally Premium by Intuary is one of the best Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) apps on the market for older kids and adults. Its simple interface and design make it simple and easy to use and will have you holding a full conversation within a matter of minutes. According to the Verbally app page on iTunes, “Verbally brings speech to those without and enables real conversation with its simple, intuitive design. Just tap in what you want to say and Verbally speaks for you.” There are two versions of Verbally including the basic version which is free and the premium version which costs $99.99. Start out by downloading the free version to test Verbally BUT you will quickly find yourself upgrading to the Premium version. The Premium version is the one I am reviewing here. Read the rest of this entry →

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AAC Apps

January 15, 2012 in App Review by Doug Goldberg

What is AAC?

Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) includes all forms of communication (other than oral speech) that are used to express thoughts, needs, wants, and ideas. We all use AAC when we make facial expressions or gestures, use symbols or pictures, or write.

People with severe speech or language problems rely on AAC to supplement existing speech or replace speech that is not functional. Special augmentative aids, such as picture and symbol communication boards and electronic devices, are available to help people express themselves. This may increase social interaction, school performance, and feelings of self-worth.

AAC users should not stop using speech if they are able to do so. The AAC aids and devices are used to enhance their communication.

* From the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Below is a list of popular AAC apps for the ipad














If you are the creator or developer of a Special Education Product, App, Book or Assistive Technology Device and you would like Special Education Advisor to review your product please contact us via the contact us form.  We will be putting together both App Lists by category similar to this one as well as doing more in depth App Reviews on individual apps.

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Give a Voice To Those That Cannot Speak for Themselves – App Review: Quick Talk AAC

January 12, 2012 in App Review by Doug Goldberg

Quick Talk AAC by Digital Scribbler, Inc. is an Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) app that provides Cadillac functionality at Chevy prices. At $14.99 this communication App is very affordable for those families looking for a simple, customizable, easy to understand app. According to the Quick Talk App page, “Quick Talk was designed with a simple mission - to change the world by giving a voice to those who cannot speak for themselves. Our goal is to make it as quick as possible for you to talk. We made this app as mobile, simple, and flexible as possible, so for one small fee you can have everything you need to communicate. Don't spend your time setting up; spend your time talking!”

Digital Scribbler fulfilled its mission with the development of Quick Talk AAC. In less than 5 minutes I had explored and figured out how to use the app. It’s built around a two button design broken up into eleven categories.

The Eleven Categories are:

• Yes/No
• Activities
• Conversation
• I Want
• Emotions
• Food
• I Feel
• Time
• People
• Places
• Opinions

Within each category there are ten preset buttons ready to use. What I like is that it doesn’t stop there. Each button is customizable so that you can change the picture, the background, the audio or the text. It’s completely customizable to your life. It includes access to over 11,000 pictures to choose from. If you can’t find the perfect picture then it lets you take a picture from your device’s camera.

That was all great but what sold me was the audio. While it uses standard text-to-speech software which allows it to say anything you type it also allows you to record your own audio. This is a great feature for those wanting to hear a familiar voice rather than a computerized voice.

All in all I would recommend Quick Talk AAC and commend the developer on its ease of use, price tag and simplicity. While I have seen some more robust AAC apps the price tags on those start at around $100 and go up from there. This is a great entry into the AAC app marketplace.

Quick Talk AAC - Digital Scribbler, Inc

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by Jess

What Is Assistive Technology and How Can It Help Your Child?

June 13, 2011 in Special Education Articles by Jess

Assistive technology is expanding the opportunity for children of all ages with cognitive, sensory, or physical impairments to achieve greater levels self-confidence, while also providing the ability to become better integrated into the mainstream environment at home, in the community, and at school. 

Definition of Assistive Technology

Assistive technology equipment is any mechanical device that compensates for a cognitive, sensory, or physical deficit. Assistive devices may be homemade, purchased in a store, or ordered from a special manufacturer and are used by children (and adults) to assist with “activities of daily living.”  Assistive technology covers a wide range of equipment from pencil grips, helmets, and paper weights to such “high tech” items as voice synthesizers, Braille readers, hearing devices, motorized wheelchairs, and computers.  As per Sherril Steel-Carlin of Education World magazine, assistive devices include all of the following:1 Read the rest of this entry →

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