Angela Moorad, MS, CCC-SLP. Over 30 years experience in AAC. OMazing Kids AAC and app consulting. Creator of 5 AAC Feature Matching resources (https://bit.ly/5aacFeatureMatchingResources). Includes info about unique features to support Gestalt Language Processors
Yesterday there was an SLP who was looking for a free or very inexpensive text-based AAC app with the option for an alphabetical keyboard for use on an Amazon Fire tablet that the patient already owned.
I enjoy helping folks find a good combination of AAC options to meet specific needs & I’m a big supporter of first using whatever tech an individual has and finding a good affordable option to put on that so they have something to use immediately. Then if they need something else like a dedicated device you can do an AAC eval to pursue funding for it.
Thanks Vicki Clarke / Dynamic Therapy Associates Inc (aacchicks)! The shoutout for the AAC feature matching chart in your IG Stories on 7/20/21 made my day 🥰
See the awesome reviews for it on TPT. Thanks to everyone who has written a review and helped spread the word about this resource 😊
iOS Visual Scenes & Video Visual Scenes:
Each chart includes info about features that are being explored as potentially being helpful for Gestalt Language Processors. The easiest way to find that info is to open each PDF in the free Xodo PDF reader and enter “gestalt” into the Search. See this blog post for more info about Xodo: https://bit.ly/XodoApp.
The symbol-based feature matching resource includes a supplemental handout “Unique Features in Symbol-Based AAC Apps to Support Gestalt Language Processors”. That handout includes info related to all 12 apps + additional info about features in 8 free and affordable symbol-based AAC apps (mainly iOS, some Android and a couple of Window) priced $2.99 or less. This supplemental handout is exclusive content that is only available as part of this resource.
See a preview of the new supplemental handout: Unique Features in Symbol-Based AAC Apps to Support Gestalt Language Processors
Looking for resources to compare features in a wide variety of AAC apps? I added a bundle on TPT includes all three of my iOS AAC feature matching resources at a discounted price compared to purchasing them individually (saves about 10%). If you are looking to purchase resources for several staff / team members, take a look at the Multiple Licenses discount (saves 20%): https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/AAC-Feature-Matching-Resource-Bundle-7849416
Please read the full description, the reviews and watch the TPT preview on each individual resource prior to purchasing the bundle
I’ve also set the Multiple Licenses discount on the individual resources to 20%off since I’ve been receiving some inquiries about discounts for bulk purchasing.
Affordable and Free AAC apps & AAC-Related Apps (iOS, Android Google Play, Amazon Fire, Windows + a few Web-Based options) – all priced $9.99 or less:
A series of three videos comparing AAC options across four platforms: Apple iOS, Android Google Play, Amazon Fire & Windows:
* Comparison of voice loudness and quality for AAC: iPad, Samsung Android, Amazon Fire & Windows (4:20):
* Considerations for AAC on Different Platforms: iPad, Android, Amazon Fire & Windows (6:17):
* A look at AAC options across platforms: Windows, Amazon Fire, Android Google Play, Apple (12:55):
New Resource: Feature Matching Chart for Robust Android AAC Apps (Google Play & Amazon Fire).
This resource includes an in-depth comparison of features & support resources across 5 robust Android AAC apps:
• Avaz AAC
• Speech Assistant AAC
(** Note: The info about Predictable is currently basic. In-depth info about features in that app will be added to this resource in a free update after the anticipated update for the Android version is released in the Google Play App Store **)
This new resource was inspired by the frequent requests that I receive for info about less expensive options and for info about apps for devices beyond just the iPad. Everything featured in this chart is priced under $10
It has 11 columns with the following info for each app:
• App Name
• App Store link(s)
• Is it Robust (Yes, Partially, No, or Not applicable)
• Type of App
• Type of Keyboard
• Voice Options (includes option for Recorded Speech)
• Option to Play Videos
• Backup & Sharing capabilities
• Basic info about other features in the app. For iOS, it includes info about device compatibility and minimum iOS requirements
There are 123 rows with apps available across each of the major platforms: Apple App Store, Google Play, Amazon & Windows + a few Web-Based options
Why this is helpful to you is I have done all of the digging and sifted through hundreds of apps to get you straight to the ones worth considering. This is a vetted resource where everything was tested on my personal devices.
See the description on my TPT store for more info about this new resource and why it was created.
I recently purchased an Amazon Fire HD 8 tablet, 8″ HD display, 32 GB, latest model (2020 release) & a Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite 10.4″, 64GB Android tablet to be able to explore AAC and related apps on those platforms in addition to iOS (iPad 8th gen & iPhone 11). I was excited to discover that you can share customized matching games across the platforms in the MyMemo app.
Itty Bitty Speech has a growing library of non-tech AAC Core Boards that have been translated into several languages. Many were translated by a native speaker of that language. Some were done via Google Translate. It’s very helpful for those details to be provided.
I love the back story behind these. This SLP couldn’t find what she needed so she used the power of crowdsourcing via social media to find folks to help translate and then created them and offer them as a free resource. This is a fabulous example of being the change we want to see. We all want more AAC resources in other languages. It’s going to take lots of us doing a little and then sharing to make it happen 😊
At the time of this post update 24 languages were available:
FYI… I’m not affiliated with this company and did not get paid to post about this resource. Just sharing to help spread the word and boost the chances of it being found as folks are searching for AAC in other languages.
Sharing for those who might have been in the process of recommending a Hook+ switch interface. I reached out to AbleNet Inc. on Facebook Messenger to ask if an updated version is in the works since the current model was discontinued and received the following reply: Unfortunately we do not have a new version of Hook+. We developed Hook+ under the MFI guidelines of Apple. MFI allowed us to do cool things like not need a battery, have it auto-configure Switch Control the first time Hook+ was used with a device, and use the Lightning connector. However, being part of MFI also had its downside. We were at the mercy of Apple for approval and these approval cycles typically took about 12-months to complete. What we found is that every 2- to 3-years, Apple would update a component that we were using, which forced us to go through an approval cycle with Apple as well as go through all of our global regulatory tests again. These redevelopment cycles became a burden on the product and we had to make a hard decision and sunset Hook+ about 6-months ago.
It does look like Apple is slowly moving to supporting USB C across all of their iPads and iPhones. This may open up the opportunity for a product like Hitch to receive an update in the future so that it uses USB C and could potentially be used with iPad and iPhone. Updates to Hitch is not a project that we’ve started, but one that has been on my mind for a while as more and more devices move to USB C.
Some users are having connectivity issues with the Blue2 Bluetooth Switch Interface
Sharing for those who are exploring using the Blue2 switch interface. I heard from two members in the GoTalk Now AAC & GoVisual Scene Apps – Ideas and Sharing Facebook group today that they are having connectivity reliability issues with it. I haven’t had any issues with my Blue2 but reached out to AbleNet Inc. to find out more info. Here is a screenshot of the reply that I received.
For those using a screen reader here is the text contained in the screenshots above:
Tuesday, 6/28/22, 6:59am CDT
Hi – I’m an AAC SLP and have frequently recommended your Blue2 switch interface as a good option for those needing switch scanning access in the GoTalk Now AAC app. But a member in my GoTalk Now AAC & GoVisual Visual Scene Apps – Ideas and Sharing Facebook Group: https://bit.ly/GoTalkNowAACappGroup just shared the following info: “OMazing Kids the Blue2 is having major connectivity challenges and I would not recommend it at this time. I’ve had to replace 4 this past year (all covered under warranty). They each stopped connecting. Hopefully AbleNet figures out the issue soon but I wouldn’t want anyone who needs it for communication stuck in this situation.” What is the status of this issue being resolved?
Also, I noticed that the Hook+ is no longer available and I had been recommending it as a good option for AAC apps that don’t have their own built in switch scanning settings. Is a new version of that in the works?
Hello Angela, thank you for reaching out. We have thousands of users globally who are successfully using Blue2 every day. There are a small number of users who have experienced a bug where Blue2 stops pairing with their device. This bug only impacts a small number of users who are using the latest release of Blue2 (the version that includes left and right mouse clicks). We have a plan in place to immediately ship those affected a new Blue2 as soon as we learn they are experiencing the bug.
We have been actively pursuing a solution to the bug. However, the one challenge we have run into is that we have been unable to replicate the bug in a controlled setting to help understand what the root cause of the bug is.
Interesting. Do you think it’s a hardware issue within the Blue2 itself or a software issue related to that particular AAC app or maybe the version of iOS on that device?
We’ve gone down a lot of different paths trying to figure it out, but it has occurred on different operating systems and different devices. What we do know is that as soon as we re-install the firmware the bug goes away. Users have then gone weeks and months before experiencing it again.
Gotcha. How odd. I have a Blue2 and haven’t had any issues but I’ve had it for a couple of years. When was the latest version of the Blue2 released?
I believe we started shipping the latest 4th Generation Blue2 around November 7, 2019
Interesting. I just checked. That’s the one that I have. Thankfully I haven’t had any issues with mine. If someone encounters this issue what is the best way for them to report the issue and get a new one shipped to them?
One of our guiding principles is new products, better products and recently we kicked off a development project that focuses on a new model of Blue2 that will be released mid-next year. We are revisiting this product and the model will receive a complete redesign.
Cool! I’d be glad to help do product testing when you get to that point
I have already tried the AeroSwitch by PRC-Saltillo. They sent me one to try for a month. It’s the only option for using the in-app switch scanning settings in that company’s AAC apps. Info about my experiences with that switch interface can be found in my Feature Matching resources. A brief video: https://youtu.be/hyJj4_pcIy0. Additional videos are included in the Feature Matching resources.
This evening I messaged Inclusive Technology to see if I can borrow an iSwitch + Smoothie Switch & the Cosmos Switch in order to try them out in all of the AAC apps. I’ll keep you posted. Since the Blue2 that I have isn’t having any issues I really can’t justify investing in purchasing other switch interfaces right now.
I’d love to hear what wired and wireless Bluetooth switch interfaces others are using and whether they are reliable and durable. Feel free to message me via Facebook messaging over on my OMazing Kids page: https://www.facebook.com/OMazingKidsAAC/