{App Review} Tools2Talk+: an affordable way to access PCS symbols

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{App Review} Looking for an affordable way to access Mayer-Johnson PCS symbols to make communication boards, PECS symbols or visual supports? Tools2Talk+ is a brand new app designed by SLPs from Scope. Create communication aids with PCS symbols, Compic symbols or your own photos. There are nearly 100 different page layouts options available, including 81 grids and 14 templates. Print or share via email. Use “chat mode” to have a button spoken with one of the text to speech iOS voices.

Key Features:

  • Over 20,000 PCS symbols (PCS Classic & PCS ThinLine)
  • Over 1,500 Compic symbols
  • Add your own images to cells via the iPad camera or images saved on your Camera Roll
  • Use the boards on your iPad with text to speech via iOS Voices with adjustable rate in Chat Mode
  • Print boards
  • Email boards in PDF
  • Customize cell color, cell font, page background color and more. Love the option to set a default font, font size & font color!
  • Undo/Redo options to fix mistakes quickly
  • Edit multiple cells at the same time (love this feature!)
  • Change the board configuration in edit mode
  • Drag and drop cells to different positions on the board
  • Easily navigate using the dropdown menu in chat mode
  • In-app user guide

App Store link: https://appsto.re/us/tYUeab.i

Special intro pricing: $47.99 (USA App Store) – pricing varies in other countries based on the exchange rate. An affordable option to get access to PCS symbols compared to the subscription rate for Boardmaker Online (starts at $99 per year) or Boardmaker software (starts at $399).

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Tip: Want to use a PCS symbol in one of your other AAC apps? Use this app. Make a 1×1 template, add the PCS symbol you want and delete the label text. Then take a screenshot on your iPad. It will save it to your Camera Roll. Crop that pic and then import it from your camera roll into most AAC apps. Some AAC apps do best with a square pic so I usually crop my pics accordingly.

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I’m LOVING this app as a way to finally be able to make printable communication boards, PECS & visual supports with the PCS symbols many of my patients are accustomed to without having to sit at a computer or pay for an online subscription! While this app is not as full featured as the Boardmaker software I use on a computer, it’s the perfect solution when I want to make a few simple things while sitting in the comfy spot on my sofa in the evening or in the middle of a session where I have my iPad but don’t have access to a computer. Seriously cool to be able to create a simple visual support with parent input in the middle of a session and e-mail it to the parent right there. I even used the app to quickly make some minimal contrast pairs in the middle of a session and then used them in chat mode on my iPad with that patient. A busy SLP’s dream come true!

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Video with a few tips:

 

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I have just a few wishes for a future app update to make the app even better:

  • add a freestyle option where buttons of various sizes can be placed anywhere on the page rather than being limited to a grid. I have a patient with limited hand mobility that I want to try symbols in an arch with an empty spot for her hand to rest underneath. It would be awesome to create this type of configuration in this app!
  • make the symbol search more efficient. For example, when I searched for the pronoun “I” it was not at the top of the list…. had to scroll down pretty far to find it. I also noticed a few instances where a particular symbol did not come up as available in a search by the whole word but then did when just the first couple of letters were entered.
  • make the spoken text automatically adjust when editing the symbol on a button. I found that it still spoke whatever the original symbol text was. I was able to fix it by then editing the spoken text but it would be nice to not have to do that extra step.
  • add option to create specific size symbols. I often make 1.5″ x 1.5″ or 2″ x 2″ symbols for PECS books. It would be great to know what size symbols are being made in this app when I will be printing them.
  • include the PCS High Contrast symbol library.
  • add templates for overlays for common mid-tech AAC devices. For example, we still use various sizes of the GoTalk AAC devices at the hospital where I work so it would be cool to be make paper overlays for those.

FYI… the previous version of this app that contained SymbolStix symbols is no longer available in the App Store. If you have that app be sure to back up your iPad with iTunes on your computer so you will still have it in the event of the app being deleted or your iPad having to be restored to factory settings.

UPDATE: If you previously purchased the original app and then lost it because it was not installed on your iPad at the time the app was removed from the App Store, please contact the company at the e-mail address (circ@scopevic.org.au) listed in this comment on their Facebook page on 10/10/16:


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Disclaimer: I received this app via a promo code from the developer. No compensation was received to review it and my opinions are strictly my own.
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Angela Moorad, MS, CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist
Founder of OMazing Kids, LLC – inclusive wellness & educational activities for kids of all abilities
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Angela Moorad is the founder of OMazing Kids, LLC and is an ASHA certified & licensed pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist and Kids Yoga Teacher with over 26 years experience working in a variety of settings (early intervention, schools, teletherapy & a nonprofit pediatric rehab hospital for children with developmental disabilities). She is an app beta tester for educational & therapeutic app developers and loves sharing info about great apps, products, books & toys to use with kids of all abilities.
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