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Proloquo2Go – Apple’s Newest App for Augmentative Communication

Augmentative and alternative communication, or AAC, devices can supplement existing speech or replace speech that is not functional to improve social interaction or school performance. Electronic AAC aids use picture symbols, letters, and/or words and phrases to create messages. Equipped with an AAC device, an individual whose speech is limited suddenly has a way to express himself/herself.

Proloque2Go is just one of a growing number of AAC apps quickly gaining ground in the special-needs community. Before these apps came along, AAC devices could cost upward of $10,000–a cost many insurance companies would not cover. And for that hefty price, you got a heavy, clunky device.

Children aren’t the only ones benefiting from these apps, of course–stroke and accident victims, as well as adults with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease) and other progressive degenerative diseases are also tapping into this growing market.

Part of the reason Proloquo2Go and other similar apps work so well is that they offer Apple’s familiar iOS interface, relatively reasonable pricing, and the ease, portability, and cool factor of an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad: tap items in a grid or list view to insert them into the Message window, then tap to speak. Tap and hold to access conjugations, plurals, or possessives. Edit standard items, add custom words or sentences, or customize settings such as icon size or background and text colors.

In addition to Proloquo2Go, there are several alternative apps for communication. Adastrasoft’s Expressionist ($9.99) holds 120 “common expressions” and uses a composite image system that’s completely different from traditional AAC style. For example, a photograph of a shopping bag and a receipt are followed by a clip art arrow pointing to a photograph of money. Underneath that is a line art drawing of a person holding out his hands. That represents the common expression of “please refund.”

MyTalk, an app by the company of the same name, costs $39.99. Users can create and edit unlimited message cells and boards with photos and images. You can download a free Lite version (with limited cells)–and explore the online workspace for free for 30 days–so you can give it a try to see if it’s right for your child.

To read more about Proloquo2Go and find out where you can test out the app on a device at one of the 140 resource centers, see: “Tapping This App Gives Special-Needs Users a Voice”

 

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