** Updated ** Feature Matching Chart for the Top 10 iOS Symbol-Based Apps (updated 3/24/21)

*** See this new post for the most current info & a major update: https://omazingkidsllc.com/2021/07/20/feature-matching-chart-for-the-top-11-robust-ios-symbol-based-aac-apps/ ***

** Updated ** Feature Matching Chart for the Top 10 iOS Symbol-Based Apps (updated 3/24/21). Recurring monthly subscribers can see a summary of what’s new and get the updated PDF at: https://ko-fi.com/post/AAC-Feature-Matching-Chart–updated-32421-D1D6421AD

———-

Angela Moorad, MS, CCC-SLP, Founder of OMazing Kids, LLC OMazing Kids AAC Consulting

Ko-fi: https://ko-fi.com/omazingkidsaac

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Blog: http://omazingkidsllc.com

Pocket Sized AAC (updated 9/20/22)

I had several older kids, teens and young adults that preferred the portability and the “look” of pocket-sized AAC. There are several iOS AAC apps that can be used on an iPhone or iPod Touch. And Android AAC apps that can be used on an Android phone. This allows it to fit in a pocket. Some used it as an alternative to their larger device. Others used it as their primary AAC.


Here are the iOS AAC apps that can work on these smaller devices that I’ve found the most helpful. Each of these has unique features and vary in how robust they are. Some of the features may be slightly different than those seen on an iPad or iPad Mini.


Symbol-based apps for iPhone & iPod Touch:

* Avaz (also available for Android)

* Bridge Communication

* Cboard (also available for Android)

* ChatterBoards

* CoreVoice (also available for Android)

* CoughDrop (also available for Android)

* Proloquo2go (can also be used in a limited way on an Apple Watch)

* Speak for Yourself

* Touchchat with WordPower


Text-based apps for iPhone & iPod Touch:

* ClaroCom Pro
* Dialogue AAC
* Flip Writer AAC Pocket
* Predictable (also available for Android)
* Proloquo4Text
* SayIt
* Speech Assistant AAC (also available for Android)
* Talk Assist
* Talk for Me
* Talkie (also available for Android)
* Type and Speak
* QuickType
* Vocable (also available for Android but with fewer features)

There are several other text-based AAC apps for Android devices. See the Basic Feature Chart for Affordable and Free AAC apps & AAC-Related Apps linked below.

The keyboard area in a symbol-based AAC app could also be used and some of those apps have a way to toggle off symbols to create a text only set up.


There are lots of other specialty AAC apps than can be used on an iPhone or iPod Touch. Many are designed for use in medical situations or can be helpful for very specific situations. See this post on for screenshots of how I have them organized in folders on my iPhone: https://www.facebook.com/174264525957894/posts/3917269238324052/?d=n.


For in-depth info about features in AAC apps see these five AAC Feature Matching Resources:

• iOS Symbol-Based: https://bit.ly/SymbolBasedAACapps. More info: https://bit.ly/SymbolBasedAACblogpost

• iOS Text-Based: https://bit.ly/TextBasedAACapps. More info: https://bit.ly/TextBasedAACblogpost

• Visual Scenes & Video Visual Scenes: https://bit.ly/AACvsd. More info: https://bit.ly/VSDaacBlogPost

• Robust Android AAC: https://bit.ly/RobustAndroidAACappChart. More info: https://bit.ly/RobustAndroidAACblogpost

• Basic Feature Chart for Affordable and Free AAC apps & AAC-Related Apps (iOS, Android Google Play, Amazon Fire, Windows + a few Web-Based options): https://bit.ly/BasicAffordableAACchart. More info: https://bit.ly/BasicAffordableAACblogpost

See this blog post for more info + several videos comparing AAC across platforms: https://bit.ly/5aacFeatureMatchingResources


Looking for fundable / dedicated / managed pocket-sized AAC? It’s unlikely that you could get an iPhone funded as a SGD / DME but some funding sources may consider an iPod Touch with a robust AAC app in a durable case.

If your particular funding source won’t, then take a look at these four small dedicated SGDs that are about the same size as an iPhone. The first three allow a choice between several apps. I’ve had some AAC users like them. Others thought they still looked “different” and preferred to use a text-based AAC app on their phone. So it’s very important to try them out to see what the AAC user prefers.

ProSlate 4D: https://www.forbesaac.com/proslate-4d

QuickTalker Freestyle Touch: https://quicktalkerfreestyle.com/quicktalker-freestyle-touch-product-tour/

wego 5A-D: https://www.talktometechnologies.com/pages/wego-5a-speech-generating-device

NovaChat 5: https://saltillo.com/products/print/nova-chat-5 (limited to their vocabulary options)


Other potential options:

  • Lincare AAC – reportedly has a pocket-sized device called the Expression Mini Max but there isn’t any info about it on their website. I’ll update if I receive info about it.

Update 5/10/22: Apple announced today that they are discontinuing the iPod Touch. It will be interesting to see how this affects companies that have used that to build pocket sized AAC devices.

https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2022/05/the-music-lives-on/


Looking for an affordable option for pocket-sized AAC? Many users prefer to just add an app to their iPhone or Android phone but some settings don’t allow phones (or it would be a battle to get an exception). The iPod Touch used to be my “go to” option for this. Since the iPod Touch was discontinued I purchased an Android Samsung Galaxy A03s (prepaid TracFone that has NOT been activated for cellular service) on Amazon. Shout out to Karen Erickson for sharing that idea in a comment in the AAC for the SLP group. It was only $59.88 and essentially gives me an Android equivalent to an iPod Touch (which Apple has discontinued) for pocket-sized AAC. I added a $12.99 case that has a tiny ring stand and sliding cover for the camera. So for $72.87 (+ the cost of the app) I have a very affordable pocket-sized AAC device.

See this video for a look at some of the AAC apps I have installed on it: https://youtu.be/ZKio8rtkufg and a sound comparison: https://youtu.be/qbYj7-nI8yE

Resources:

Fundable iOS-Based AAC Devices: https://omazingkidsllc.com/2021/03/12/fundable-ios-based-aac-devices/. Other sizes of devices & quite a bit more funding info that you may find helpful.

Of course there are lots of other fundable larger tradional SGDs. Check with your local AAC vendor reps to discuss those options. There are also several pocket-sized or wearable mid-tech devices that could be considered.


Have a question? The best way to reach me is via Facebook messaging over on my OMazing Kids page: https://www.facebook.com/OMazingKidsAAC/


Angela Moorad, MS, CCC-SLP, Founder of OMazing Kids, LLC, OMazing Kids AAC Consulting

• Teachers Pay Teachers Store: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Omazing-Kids-Aac-Consulting

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• OMazing Kids AAC Consulting Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/OMazingKidsAAC/

• AppPeeps Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/OMazingKidsAppPeeps/

• GoTalk Now AAC & GoVisual Visual Scene Apps – Ideas and Sharing Facebook Group: https://bit.ly/GoTalkNowAACappGroup

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Backup AAC Customized Programming (updated 8/22/22)

It’s critical to backup customized programming in any AAC apps. This includes making sure that you’ve backed it up in at least one way outside of the iPad. The options for doing this vary by app.

Here are links to where you can find the instructions for several AAC apps:


Resources:

AAC Tutorial: Backup / Restore / Share Customized Programming in AAC Apps: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/AAC-Tutorial-Backup-Restore-Share-Customized-Programming-in-AAC-Apps-6940629

Five Feature Matching Resources for AAC Apps (comparing features in AAC apps) + several videos comparing AAC apps across platforms (iPad, Android, Amazon Fire, Windows): https://bit.ly/5aacFeatureMatchingResources


Using Guided Access and Screen Time to Prevent Exiting an App + preventing deleting apps, installing apps and in-app purchases + info for those using Android, Amazon Fire and Windows devices (updated 7-16-22): https://omazingkidsllc.com/2020/10/20/using-guided-access-to-prevent-exiting-an-app-updated-info-for-2020/

Looking for in-depth info about features AAC apps? Check out these resources:


Have a question? The best way to reach me is via Facebook messaging over on my OMazing Kids page: https://www.facebook.com/OMazingKidsAAC/


Angela Moorad, MS, CCC-SLP, Founder of OMazing Kids, LLC, OMazing Kids AAC Consulting

• Teachers Pay Teachers Store: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Omazing-Kids-Aac-Consulting

• YouTube: https://youtube.com/user/amoorad1

• Ko-Fi: https://ko-fi.com/omazingkidsaac

• OMazing Kids AAC Consulting Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/OMazingKidsAAC/

• AppPeeps Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/OMazingKidsAppPeeps/

• GoTalk Now AAC & GoVisual Visual Scene Apps – Ideas and Sharing Facebook Group: https://bit.ly/GoTalkNowAACappGroup

• Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/omazingkidsaac

• Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/amoorad

• Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/OMazingKids/

• Linktree: https://linktr.ee/amoorad1

• LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/angelamooradomazingkidsaac

• Blog: https://omazingkidsllc.com

Sesame Street “Up Goes the Castle” – Belly Breathing

Fun Sesame Street “Up Goes the Castle” song to go along with belly breathing:

https://youtu.be/o6lgismLjeg


Angela Moorad, MS, CCC-SLP, Founder of OMazing Kids, LLC OMazing Kids AAC Consulting

Ko-fi: https://ko-fi.com/omazingkidsaac

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.)

OMazing Kids AAC Consulting Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/OMazingKidsAAC/

AppPeeps Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/OMazingKidsAppPeeps/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/omazingkidsaac/

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/amoorad

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Linktree: https://linktr.ee/amoorad1

Blog: http://omazingkidsllc.com

Fundable iOS-Based AAC Devices

Wanting to get a bundled iPad with a robust AAC app in a durable case funded as a “dedicated” SGD (speech generating device) / DME (durable medical equipment) through Medicaid or insurance?

There are several companies that offer locked/managed/dedicated iOS based devices with a variety of iOS AAC apps as an option. You’ll need to contact each company’s funding department to find out if they are in-network for the funding sources that you are considering. This varies state-by-state:

Logan Tech: Might be an option depending on your state & funding source: https://logantech.com/pages/funding-2019


Several companies that sell traditional SGDs also offer iOS-based devices:

PRC:

Saltillo:

Those outside of the USA can check with these branches of the PRC company:

Smartbox:

Tobii Dynavox:


See this post for info about how to find your local vendor rep: https://omazingkidsllc.com/2021/02/14/how-to-find-info-about-aac-at-companies-and-local-vendor-reps/


If a particular company has a waiting list to borrow a loaner device to trial then you may want to also check with the AT Lending Program in your state.

All states in the USA are supposed to have an Assistive Technology Lending Library program where parents & professionals can borrow AAC devices, iPads with AAC apps & other AT for short-term trial. It’s a great way to try various options out before making purchasing decisions. Find the AT Lending Library in your state: https://www.at3center.net/stateprogram

Even if your state’s program isn’t loaning out equipment due to the pandemic they might have the option to do a short term loan of the software/app.


Another “bundled” option is the Talk Tablet. Based on my experience, that app is not very intuitive to program or to use but I am sharing the info here in case anyone is looking for a less expensive alternative in situations where a funding source isn’t available. Their website is geared towards private pay but be sure to compare the cost of what they offer vs. just putting together your own by buying an iPad, AAC app & case: https://gusinc.com. The iOS version of the app: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/talktablet-pro-autism-aphasia/id1436382584 (+ extra cost of adding a high quality voice via in-app purchase)



We are fortunate in Oklahoma that SoonerCare / Medicaid will consider funding an iPad with a robust AAC app in a durable case as a SGD / DME but they require us to try the full version of the app in order to do a complete feature-match, submit a video of the patient using it and extensive justification as to why that particular option us being recommended. Here in Oklahoma, we can typically only get funding once every 5 years for AAC (with very rare exceptions) so it’s very important to be able to get a good match for that individual’s needs. See details here: https://www.okabletech.org/community/soonercare-provider-for-speech-generating-devices/

{Note: This video is a couple of years old so be sure to check with Oklahoma AbleTech about the current process and requirements}

Oklahoma Able Tech: https://www.ok.gov/abletech/# & great info here: https://www.okabletech.org/at-discovery/speech-communication/

Device Loan Program: https://www.okabletech.org/guide-to-all-services/device-loan-program/

SoonerStart Early Intervention Collaboration: https://www.okabletech.org/community/soonerstart-collaboration/

PreK-12: https://www.okabletech.org/education-services/at-services-for-pk-12/

Another source that I’ve had good success with for funding an iPad with a robust AAC app in a durable case here in Oklahoma is the New Voices grant through Ability Connections Oklahoma: https://www.acok.org  (the funding comes and goes on this grant. See their Facebook page for updates: https://www.facebook.com/abilityconnectionoklahoma/).

If you are in Oklahoma, also check out the AAC Funding Guide: https://www.okabletech.org/resources/at-funding-guide/ (those outside of Oklahoma should ask the AT Lending Program in your state if they have a similar resource)

This website has good info regarding potential funding sources: http://ectacenter.org/topics/atech/funding.asp

  • It is best practice to do an AAC eval, feature matching & trial of options. It is important to try out any device and app with the potential user before making a purchasing recommendation or decision. This is also important when using any extra hardware (keyguards, switches, switch interfaces, carrying straps, stands, mounts, etc…) to support AAC use. Many funding sources require documentation regarding a certain number of options being considered and trialed. It is wise to get as much information as you can before you start the process.

 

  • The funding department for the company selling the devices should provide info regarding what’s needed. Read through the definition of “medical necessity” and all the required elements for purchase of a speech generating device (SGD) as durable medical equipment (DME) for that insurance company and/or Medicaid in your state. This will give you both verbiage to include in your report and a checklist of all the bases you need to cover.

 

  • Once you start the funding process you have to be willing to do what it takes under very short timeframes when they request additional video or ask for an addendum for additional information. If you don’t meet their very short timeframes then the request may automatically be denied and you may have to start all over. If you get a denial, find out why and submit an appeal.

 

  • There are many reasons why one would consider a traditional SGD vs. an iPad or any other tablet with an app: durability, warranty, tech support, built-in switch ports for scanning, eye gaze access, etc… (see more info at: https://bit.ly/3sUNINw)
  • But there are many folks who may not have a funding source for a traditional SGD. And there are things about having AAC on an iPad or iPhone that make it a great option for particular users.

 

  • There are situations where you may need to consider an Android tablet instead of an iPad. I recently received info about that platform having many more voice options compared to the iOS voices or voices within AAC apps on an iPad. In some instances an Android tablet may be the only option for voice output in a particular language. An example of this is Vietnamese. Which explains why the Vietnamese version of Avaz & Talk Tablet are only offered on that platform. CoughDrop can be translated into that language but only has access to a Vietnamese voice on the Android platform. See info about Android AAC apps on this post: https://omazingkidsllc.com/2020/12/01/android-aac-apps/

Resources:

Three Feature Matching Resources for AAC Apps (comparing features in AAC apps): https://omazingkidsllc.com/2022/02/28/three-feature-matching-resources-for-aac-apps-comparing-features-in-aac-apps/
.
AAC Funding: Jumping Through Hoops & Proving Accuracy: https://omazingkidsllc.com/2018/02/14/aac-funding-jumping-through-hoops-proving-accuracy/


Disclaimer: I assume no liability for device or app purchases and am not making patient-specific recommendations.


The best way to reach me with any questions is via messaging on the OMazing Kids Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/OMazingKidsAAC/. That way AAC related messages don’t get lost among the spam in my e-mail


Angela Moorad, MS, CCC-SLP, Founder of OMazing Kids, LLC, OMazing Kids AAC Consulting