Top 10 AAC App Updates in 2017

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It’s amazing to see how much the field of AAC has changed over the course of my 28 year career as a SLP. Long gone are the old days of it taking years to see any major changes or improvements in AAC options. We are living in an era of rapid advancement thanks largely to social media that provides the opportunity for AAC users, therapists, teachers & parents to provide direct input to app and technology developers regarding what features we need. Most good AAC apps are now updated several times a year. Here is my list of top 10 updates that occurred for AAC apps in 2017:

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#1: Proloquo2Go – in March 2017 version 5.0 added an amazing Search feature & Progressive Language. If you haven’t checked out this AAC app in awhile, I invite you to take a look at it again. These new features are a game changer. It also now includes English, Spanish, French & Dutch languages.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/proloquo2go/id308368164?mt=8

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#2: Speak For Yourself – in January 2017 version 2.6 made this a Universal iOS app that can be used on an iPhone, iPod Touch & iPad. It also includes room for up to 40 different users (a great feature for SLPs trialing AAC with several different patients). Other updates this year added options to share vocabulary via AirDrop, more buttons became editable, the sentence bar background color can be changed & a “Manual Whisper Mode” was added to allow users to create a whole sentence prior to speaking.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/speak-for-yourself/id482508198?mt=8

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#3: LAMP Words for Life – in July 2017 version 1.6.0 added a bilingual Spanish/English pageset, Word Finder updated to show and take you through the path to a word and added the option to backup to DropBox.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/lamp-words-for-life/id551215116?mt=8

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#4: TouchChat with WordPower HD – several updates added new pageset options, Arabic language added through an in-app purchase, Canadian French vocabulary files available as free upgrade and vocabulary files can now be backed up to DropBox and can be shared via E-mail and iMessaging.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/touchchat-hd-aac-w-wordpower/id412351574?mt=8

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#5: GoTalk Now Plus – in March 2017 version 4.11.6 added PCS Thinline symbols as an option through in-app purchase. In September 2017 version 4.11.11 added the option for Hybrid Scene pages (visual scene + up to 4 buttons) & the option to share messages from the Express Bar to Facebook, e-mail and text messaging.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/gotalk-now-plus/id742150885?mt=8

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#6: Snap + Core First – this new app was just released in June 2017 and in December 2017 already had a major update to add a bilingual Spanish/English pageset option & Spanish voices. At the end of October 2017 they added access to voice output in the free version of this app for ASHA certified SLPs as part of your MyTobiiDynavox account.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/snap-core-first/id1072799231?mt=8

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#7: Avaz Pro – in May 2017 version 4.2.6 added the option of having up to 77 buttons per screen. In September 2017 version 4.3 added the option to share via AirDrop and the Search now takes you through the path to a word.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/avaz-pro-aac-app-for-autism/id558161781?mt=8

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#8: ChatAble & Predictable apps by TherapyBox both had major overhauls in 2017.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/chatable-symbol-based-app/id803004748?mt=8

& https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/predictable/id404445007?mt=8

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#9: BRIDGE Communication – in January 2017 version 1.17 added the option to add video clips to buttons. The price was lowered to 99 cents.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bridge-communication/id983660714?mt=8

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#10: Custom Boards Premium by Smarty Ears had a major overhaul. New templates and updated Smarty Symbols were added. A great affordable option for making printable choice boards and visual supports.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/custom-boards-premium/id463344117?mt=8
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See this updated post for info about how SLPs can get free access to several AAC apps, funding tips & links to AAC user Facebook groups: https://omazingkidsllc.com/2016/06/11/aac-tips-how-slps-can-get-free-access-to-aac-apps-aac-app-user-groups-funding-options-more/.
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2017 was a years of ups & downs in the world of AAC apps. It was exciting to see so many great improvements in apps and a couple of new apps released but at the same time very sad to see a few AAC apps either disappear or no longer function properly after the release of iOS 11. I’ve received numerous messages on my OMazing Kids page from parents and therapists with very heartbreaking stories of AAC users losing their voice when iOS 11 came out. Several small AAC app developers had not updated those apps in almost 5 years. It’s one thing to lose a favorite game or therapy app but a whole different thing to lose an AAC app. It’s a cautionary tale to anyone who has thoughts of developing a new AAC app. Beyond the initial costs of developing the app, it is imperative that you also have a very well thought out long term plan and finances for supporting and keeping an AAC app updated.
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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 28 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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