None of the apps on this list contain ads or require in-app purchases or subscriptions and may be helpful when trying to communicate while wearing a mask. I went grocery shopping a few days ago and found it difficult to communicate while wearing a mask and trying to request specific items and quantities at the deli counter. So that got me searching through my apps to be better prepared for next time. Thankfully apps that were originally designed either for the Deaf or the Hearing Impaired or for use in noisy environments can now be helpful in a world where face masks are common. FYI… iOS Universal apps can be used on an iPhone or iPad. I found Android versions for two of the apps so I have included links for them below… just know I don’t have any Android devices so can’t comment on how well they work or what features are included on that platform.
Each app has different features so it’s important to try them out to see which one(s) may work best for you or in various situations. The descriptions below are based on the features I am seeing on my iPad Pro running iOS 10.3.3 and my iPhone 7 running iOS 13.4.1 so you may see slightly different options depending on your device and iOS running on that device.
Yes…. I have seen the face masks with the clear front but do not have access to one. I have seen mixed info about how easily you can breathe in them and from what I can tell they are difficult to find right now. I’d be interested to hear if anyone has tried one yet.
Of course I have no way to know how long any app will stay free so grab what you want quickly. Prices and availability were verified in the USA App Store at the time I wrote this post at 8:00pm CST on 6/20/20.
1. Just Big Text by David Coufal, https://apps.apple.com/us/app/just-big-text/id380965096, iOS Universal, iOS 10.0 or later, (type or use voice recognition, can create messages ahead of time and save for later use, very large full screen text, different font options, different color options for font and background, can sync across devices via iCloud), FREE
2. Make It Big by An Trinh, https://apps.apple.com/us/app/make-it-big/id479282584, iOS Universal, iOS 10.0 or later, (type or use voice recognition, very large full screen text, different font options, different color options for font and background, option for light or dark keyboard, can toggle off “Shake to flash” in the setting in the app (I toggled it off since I was worried about the possibility of the flashing triggering seizures), FREE
7. eyeHear by eyeHear, LLC, https://apps.apple.com/us/app/eyehear/id1321200884, iOS Universal, iOS 11.1 or later, (type or use voice recognition, can toggle between white background with black text and black background with white text, no setting options to change font or font size), FREE
8. Hearing Helper – Live Captions by Rob Norback, https://apps.apple.com/us/app/hearing-helper-live-captions/id1391454121, iOS Universal, iOS 10.0 or later (can type or use voice recognition, can adjust font size (but the largest setting is not full screen sized), can flip text, no setting options to change font or to change the color of the font or background), currently $2.99
It’s been over 4 years since the iPad version of Flip Writer has been free & the first time the iPhone version has ever been free. Based on previous pricing history they will likely only be free for a short time so get them quickly.
Want to suggest an iOS app to be added to this list? The best way to reach me is via Facebook messaging over on my OMazing Kids page. I’m pretty picky so they need to be well designed apps and for this type of app I don’t want any in-app purchases or subscriptions. If it’s a free app, please send the link from the USA App Store so I can download and try it out. If it’s a reasonably priced paid app ($4.99 or less) and you are the app developer, please send the link from the USA App Store so I can look at the info before you send a promo code. I want to make sure that one of my iPads or iPhone is compatible in order to try it out.
It took time to compile this list so please “tag” OMazing Kids when sharing it on social media and do not copy/paste it onto other blogs or documents or upload it to servers. I have it available here on my blog and plan on keeping my blog up for the foreseable future.
This unique Text to Speech / Speech to Text / Large Text AAC app is definitely worth grabbing while it’s FREE! It’s been over 4 years since the iPad version has been free & the first time the iPhone version has ever been free. Based on previous pricing history they will likely only be free for a short time so get them quickly….. I have no way to know when it will revert back to full price. (verified as being available & free in the USA App Store at the time this post was written, 3:50pm CST on 6/20/20)
Flip Writer AAC – Unique Supports for Speech, Hearing, and Complex Needs by Navanit Arakeri, https://apps.apple.com/us/app/flip-writer-aac-unique-supports-for-speech-hearing/id946640730, iPad only, iOS 8.1 or later, usually $49.99.
Alternative keyboard extension apps can be used since this app uses the iOS iPad keyboard (see details below).
Flip Writer AAC Pocket by Navanit Arakeri, https://apps.apple.com/us/app/flip-writer-aac-pocket/id1294284906, iPhone or iPod Touch, iOS 10.0 or later, usually $24.99. I just downloaded it since it’s the first time that it’s been free.
Even when choosing free or affordable AAC apps you’ll want to consider the features that will best match that individual’s needs. This list is not intended to imply that a free or inexpensive AAC app is always a good idea. An app that may be fine for short term use following a surgery or during a bout of laryngitis may not have the features needed for efficient longer term AAC use. Many of these apps have unique features that could be a helpful addition to an AAC user’s communication toolbox. Many AAC users pick and choose what communication tool best suits a situation.
Free (some have IAPs, none include ads): 5
Affordable ($1.99 to $17.99): 6
Prices, availability & device/iOS compatibility were all checked in the USA App Store and website links were all working at the time this post was written (updated 11:30am CST on 7/12/21). Prices may vary outside the USA based on the exchange rate.
Screenshots and descriptions are based on features available at the time of this post. AAC apps change frequently as updates are released.
Some apps have IAPs (in app purchases) for additional features. So after you have installed those apps and purchased anything that you wanted be sure to adjust the settings on your iPad to prevent unintended purchases.
Some of these apps may not be available for download on your device if you are not running the minimum required iOS.
Most of the apps on this list are “iOS Universal”. Those can be used on an iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch. But you’ll need to consider vision and fine motor skills when using them on smaller devices.
Some have an Android version available. I don’t know how well they work on that platform since I don’t own any Android devices but sharing in case you do and want to take a look at them.
The app developer website links are included so you can read more about the features. Many also have the story behind why that app was developed. I love reading those stories 💕
Top 11 Free and Affordable iOS Text to Speech AAC apps:
2. SayIt! – easy AAC by Owen McGirr, https://apps.apple.com/us/app/sayit-easy-aac/id1119303404,, iOS Universal, iOS 14.1 or later, $15.99. More info about the features: http://sayitaac.com. Has several settings options and offers switch access & scanning. A recent update added the option to use the iOS Keyboard as well as their own built it keyboard. This allows use of keyboard extension apps. It’s very helpful to now have a full paid version of this app without IAPs. The free version offers limited features for those who want to try it out before purchasing.
3. Talk For Me – Text to Speech by Darrin Altman, https://apps.apple.com/us/app/talk-for-me-text-to-speech/id975096888, iOS Universal, iOS 12.0 or later (but an older version can be downloaded if you previously got the app), FREE. Nice combo of typing & phrase buttons. You can save messages in the Archive and can customize several pages of phrase buttons. This was my “go to” app to use when I lost my voice but still needed to provide SLP services. More info about the features: https://www.mobiletouchtech.com/talk-for-me. The app developer typically updates the app at least once a year. The most recent update was in May 2021.
6. HandySpeech by Eric Zeiberg, https://apps.apple.com/us/app/handyspeech/id563600464, iOS Universal, iOS 8.2 or later, $2.99. Unique combo of handwriting to text to speech, also can type. Can save phrases and delete them but they can’t be edited, re-ordered or organized into categories. You can create shorthand shortcuts. Helpful for those who find writing easier than typing but still want voice output. It has very good handwriting recognition even when using your finger instead of a stylus. Definitely worth the price. The most recent update was in December 2020. More info about the features: http://www.ispeak4u.com
7. MyVoice – Tap or Type to Talk by John Ciocca, https://apps.apple.com/us/app/myvoice-tap-or-type-to-talk/id1111359925, iOS Universal, iOS 11 or later. $8.99. Unique combo of typing text to speech and handwriting to text to speech. Also has a Picture Talk section that has phrases with icons saved in categories. You can add your own custom phrases with pictures and that is synced in iCloud across devices on the same account. You can delete customized items but they can’t be edited, re-ordered or organized into categories. Additional assistive technology features include: Read Talk (uses OCR technology to take a picture, scan the text and read it aloud), Look Talk (use the camera to recognize an item and name it aloud – works best when there is only one item in view and you are close to it), Mirror Talk (I could see SLPs using that with adults post-stroke) and Word Talk (a random written word appears on the screen for the user to practice). Definitely worth the price. The most recent update was in June 2020. Read a feature story about the app developer in the App Store: https://apps.apple.com/us/story/id1437330451.
8. Text to Speech App by Georgi Zlatinov, https://apps.apple.com/us/app/text-to-speech-app/id1217484042, iOS Universal, iOS 10.0 or later, $1.99. Primarily designed to paste in text and have it read aloud but can also use as a Text to Speech app for AAC. The text is highlighted in red as it is read. It uses the iOS keyboard so you have the option of using keyboard extension apps on an iPad. Nice simple interface. Worth the price. The most recent update was in July 2019. You’ll need to read the description of features in the description for this app on the App Store since the app developer’s website doesn’t contain that info.
10. Verbally by Intuary, https://apps.apple.com/us/app/verbally/id418671377, iPad only, iOS 8.0 or later, FREE. The voices in the free version are a little robotic but there are some options for keyboard placements. It uses it’s own keyboard so keyboard extension apps cannot be used with this app. There is a paid version with more features but it is pretty expensive ($99.99). More info about the features: http://verballyapp.com. Note: neither version has been updated since October 2015 so it’s unknown how much longer this app will work as Apple releases updated iOS.
11. AAC Bestie Text to Speech by Elephant Enterprises LLC, https://apps.apple.com/us/app/aac-bestie-text-to-speech/id1391136811, iOS Universal, iOS 11.0 or later, FREE with IAP for additional features. Requires a subscription if you want to customize any of the phrase folders, access more pre-stored phrase folders, backup / restore programming. Website with contact form if you have questions about features: https://www.aacbestie.com/hi. The most recent update was in July 2021.
Honorable Mention: Spoken – Tap to Talk AAC by Spoken Inc., https://apps.apple.com/us/app/spoken-tap-to-talk-aac/id1034487817, iOS Universal, iOS 11.0 or later, FREE (limited to 500 words, then requires subscription via IAP to keep access to high quality voices, personalized word prediction and saved phrases, $12.99 per month or $99.99 per year). The app has several nice features (can personalize word prediction, has options for Large Print, Dark Mode, Show Keyboard on Start, Speak each Word as Entered, Predict Using Past Speech) and several good voice options. They have chosen unique names for the voices but I recognized them from my other AAC apps. There are two US English voices: Dandelion (Justin, US male child voice) & Violet (Ivy, US female child). The app uses the iOS Keyboard so keyboard extension apps can be used. The only reason why this app isn’t higher on the list is you lose access to high quality voices, saved phrases and personalized word prediction after the “500 premium words” are used. Once I run out of words and see what the voices options and remaining features are, I may change the ranking based on what free features are available. The subscription price would exclude it from being included in this list.
2. Jabberwocky AAC by Swiftable LLC, https://apps.apple.com/us/app/jabberwocky-aac/id1438561966, iOS Universal, iOS 12.0 or later, FREE. Unique combo of typing via touch or head tracking. I found it a little difficult to use via touch. When trying out the head tracking, I found the QWERTY layout easier to use than the ABC layout). Primarily sharing it so folks who may need head tracking will know about it. More info about the features: https://www.jabberwockyapp.com/aac
7/12/21: Unfortunately the Sesame Talking Keyboard app by Sesame Enable has totally disappeared from the USA App Store (not even in the Purchased area: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/sesame-talking-keyboard/id1478544364, iOS Universal, iOS 9.0 or later. FREE. Unique combo of typing via touch or head tracking. Primarily sharing it so folks who may need head tracking will know about it. I tried out head tracking and it would take some practice to get good at typing with it but it is cool that it didn’t require such specific devices. More info about the features: https://www.sesame-enable.com.
———————— There are several more expensive text to speech AAC apps with robust features. If you are considering those, I highly suggest an evaluation, feature match process & trial of options before purchasing or making purchasing recommendations.
The Ace Centre has a nice overview of options in several text-based AAC apps in this playlist on their YouTube channel:
How to find the AT Lending Library in your state: https://www.at3center.net/stateprogram. Many have iPads with AAC apps on them available for short term loan to help with the eval process. But you’ll need to check to see if yours is open and still loaning equipment out during the pandemic.
. Another option for SLPs is to see this post for tips on how you can get free access to AAC apps, AAC app user groups, funding options & more: https://omazingkidsllc.com/2016/06/11/aac-tips-how-slps-can-get-free-access-to-aac-apps-aac-app-user-groups-funding-options-more/
. Want to suggest an iOS text-based AAC app to be added to this list? The best way to reach me is via Facebook messaging over on my OMazing Kids page. I’m pretty picky so they need to be well designed apps and be transparent/honest about any IAPs or subscriptions and not have any ads. If it’s a free app, please send the link from the USA App Store so I can download and try it out. If it’s a paid app that’s priced at $19.99 or less in the USA App Store and you are the app developer, please send the link from the USA App Store so I can look at the info before you send a promo code. I want to make sure that one of my iPads is compatible in order to try it out.
It took me quite a bit of time to compile this list so please “tag” or mention OMazing Kids when sharing it on social media and do not copy/paste it onto other blogs or documents or upload it to servers. I have it available here on my blog and plan on keeping my blog up for the foreseable future.
Personal Professional Facebook Page (linked to OMazing Kids): https://www.facebook.com/angela.moorad (adding “friends” who have a direct role in AAC or Assistive Technology – AAC / AT app or product developers, AAC / AT consultants, SLPs who specialize in AAC, other professionals who specialize in AAC or AT, etc.)
Over 44 under $4: Here’s a list of over 44 iOS early numeracy apps. In this post I am sharing a mix of paid and free apps that I have used and found to be well designed and helpful.
* Free: 35 apps
* Affordable ($.99 – $3.99 – what you might pay for an item from the Target Dollar Spot, a latte from Starbucks, an item on Teachers Pay Teachers or a Boom Card deck): 13 apps
. Why would an SLP use early numeracy apps?
1. A fun way to target plurals.
2. A fun way to work on concepts of “more” & “less”.
3. Many include early vocabulary.
4. Many kids with Autism and other special needs have a high interest in the predictability and repetition of numbers & counting so these apps are motivating. I had several patients who would do all kinds of other “work” to earn a couple of minutes playing a numbers/counting app at the end of a session. The same is true of alphabet apps.
5. The predictable nature of counting lends itself well to working on intraverbal fill-ins.
6. The abacus style apps can be fun to track productions in articulation drills.
. More info about the importance of early numeracy skills:
* Lots of great suggestions for activities parents can do at home: https://www.zerotothree.org/resources/299-help-your-child-develop-early-math-skills
49. BabyFirst Find Little Dot 1-10 by BabyFirst https://apps.apple.com/us/app/babyfirst-find-little-dot-1-10/id913615317, FREE
Want to suggest an iOS app to be added to this list? The best way to reach me is via Facebook messaging over on my OMazing Kids page. I’m pretty picky so they need to be well designed apps and be transparent/honest about any IAPs or subscriptions and not have any ads. If it’s a free app, please send the link from the USA App Store so I can download and try it out. If it’s a paid app and you are the app developer, please send the link from the USA App Store so I can look at the info before you send a promo code. I want to make sure that one of my iPads is compatible in order to try it out.
It took me quite a bit of time to compile this list so please “tag” OMazing Kids when sharing it on social media and do not copy/paste it onto other blogs or documents or upload it to servers. I have it available here on my blog and plan on keeping my blog up for the foreseable future.
It’s sad to say a final farewell to the entire series of the Speech with Milo apps 😢. See the details on this post on the OMazing Kids Facebook page. There has been some good discussion in the comments section about how much folks loved the apps and about the sustainability of apps in the future: https://www.facebook.com/174264525957894/posts/3163202193730764/
I recently discovered that they were all missing from the App Store so I e-mailed the app developer to find out whether or not they would be returning. I didn’t have much hope this time since they were even gone from my “Purchased” area, their Facebook page had disappeared and their other social media sites were dormant.
The app developer should be proud that their series of apps was so well loved by multitudes of SLPs and kids. I had several patients over the years who would specifically request Milo.
We have lost lots of fabulous apps in the years since iOS 11 was released. Many app developers couldn’t afford to keep updating them or had to pick a few to update and let the others disappear. I guess I was so surprised that all of these particular apps disappeared since they had been around so long and at one point this developer was even collaborating with PRC.
If you have an older iPad with these apps currently installed on it and the apps are still working, then you will only continue to have them as long as you leave them installed and don’t update the iOS on that device. Unfortunately I only had a couple installed since I am retired. The iPad Pro that I purposefully kept on iOS 10.3.3 is starting to feel like a time capsule full of apps that are from a bygone era…. what I now think of as the “golden age of apps”. We see far fewer new apps released now and many developers have gone the route of subscriptions and/or in-app purchases to attempt to remain sustainable.
Here is the reply that I received: “Hi Angela, Yes, unfortunately they have been removed from the App Store. The last iOS update took them down and we are not able to update them. We are so very sad to discontinue them after 10+ years. Thank you for reaching out. – Poorani”