Review & Comparison of Features in Digital PODD iPad apps in 2021 (simPODD, Grid for iPad, Snap Core First and PODD with Compass)
I just updated my comprehensive blog post about PODD AAC to add Snap Core First with PODD to my in-depth review and comparison of features in all of the digital PODD iPad apps currently available in the USA App Store: simPODD, Grid for iPad, Snap Core First and PODD with Compass. Rather than doing it in a separate post I decided to add it to that post to keep everything PODD related in one spot.
Updated info is highlighted throughout that post and I tested all links and updated those. Scroll down towards the bottom of the post until you see the same pic that is on this post to find the app reviews and comparisons of features:
. Want to suggest PODD resources or info to be added to that post? The best way to reach me is via Facebook messaging over on my OMazing Kids page. If you are an app developer and would like to have me review a new digital PODD app for the iPad or PODD that was added to an existing app via IAP, 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.
Angela Moorad, MS, CCC-SLP, Founder of OMazing Kids, LLC
Did you know that a “force-restart” (aka “hard reboot”) is different than the normal process of turning off an iPad? It’s similar to the difference between restarting vs powering off a computer. When an app is acting glitchy a “force-restart” will often resolve this issue. Just to be safe, be sure to backup any customized programming in an AAC app BEFORE doing a force-reset
How to force-restart an iPad with Face ID
1.Press the Volume Up button for one second and release it.
2.Press the Volume Down button for one second and release it.
3.Press and hold the Power button for five seconds until the Apple logo appears.
How to force-restart any other kind of iPad
1.Press and hold the Home button.
2.At the same time, press and hold the Power button.
3.Continue to hold both buttons for about 10 seconds, until you see the Apple logo appear.
This simple process often resolves the issue.
If not, there are other things to try. It’s best to look on Apple’s website for that info since the process varies based on the model of iPad & the version of iOS it is running.
There are far fewer AAC app options on the Android platforms compared to what is available for the iPad and iPhone.
Why? The problem with the Android platform is there are hundreds of variations among devices which makes it difficult to insure any app will run as expected. Even the app developers who offer options across platforms advise that the iPad is the most reliable choice and have info about the minimum and recommended specs for Android devices on their website.
Good Android Tablets are Not Cheap: I have considered getting an Android tablet but every time I researched what specs would be needed to reliably support AAC and therapeutic apps the cost was not much less than a basic model of iPad. So I don’t have one and therefore I can’t answer any detailed questions about how to program apps or troubleshooting on that platform. But I can share what I know based on the research that I’ve done.
Please steer clear of the cheapest Android tablets or the cheapest models of an Amazon Kindle Fire tablet. The saying “You get what you pay for” comes to mind. Based on what I’ve read from app developers, some of those cheapest devices don’t have good voices for speech output and the processor may not support reliable use of AAC apps (may have significant lag or crash).
Android AAC Options:
That being said…. I know the reality is I get asked very frequently about Android AAC app options. I’ve shared them in a few different posts but decided to do this round-up post to make the info easier to share. AAC apps in this post fall into two categories: Symbol-Based & Text to Speech (typing to talk)
Symbol-Based Android AAC:
Robust Options: Coughdrop & Avaz are the two most robust AAC options available for Android. I have the iOS version of both of these apps and they are both awesome! But how well they will work on Android depends greatly on the model and type of device being used. Both offer a free trial and then a subscription. So you have an easy way to try them out before purchasing or recommending.
Windows: You can install CoughDrop as a Windows desktop app on your computer or Windows device. CoughDrop on Windows has some eye-tracking integrations that will help it work better with more devices. Please make sure to download the right version for your operating system. https://www.mycoughdrop.com/download
Web Browser: CoughDrop is a web-first application, and should work with many modern web browsers.
Predictable is a robust option for TTS AAC. I have the iOS version and it is awesome! The reviews for the Android version are mixed so I suggest contacting your state’s AT lending program to see if they have it available for short term loan or for SLPs to ask the app developer for a free copy to be able to try it out with the patient before recommending it since it’s more expensive. My guess is the mixed reviews on the Google Play App Store are likely due to folks trying to use the app on a device that is too cheap or old to support reliable use.
How to find the AT Lending Library in your state: https://www.at3center.net/stateprogram. Some have Android tablets 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.
Want to suggest an app be added to this list? Found a broken link or info that needs to be updated? The best way to reach me is via Facebook messaging over on my OMazing Kids page.
It took time to write this post so please mention OMazing Kids when sharing it on social media and do not copy/paste the info 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 foreseeable future.
Angela Moorad, MS, CCC-SLP, Founder of OMazing Kids, LLC
Happy Cyber Monday! We are all using technology now more than ever in 2020. There has been a significant increase in Speech Language Pathologists and parents asking for app recommendations in the midst of this pandemic since so many are doing distance learning and teletherapy.
So I spent the past 8 months creating this FREE resource to help fellow SLPs and parents.
A big shift has taken place in the iOS App Store kids and therapeutic app market since I posted my original big app list on 12/31/16 (https://bit.ly/3js1CA7). Many of those apps are no longer available for purchase and some have totally disappeared. I chose to leave that post up as a time capsule of the apps that existed then plus it’s helpful to have the names for older apps when you want to find an app in your “Purchased” area in the App Store.
This is a fresh resource list with items that were all verified as being available and links verified as working at the time they were added over the past 8 months.
An iPad is only as good as the apps that you load on it. Think of the iPad as being the toolbox & the apps within it as tools. Many high quality apps specifically designed by SLPs for SLPs allow you to do in-app data collection, look at data over time, e-mail reports, and swipe through stimulus cards rapidly which allows you to get in more reps. Plus many kids are highly motivated by anything presented on an iPad. Having most of the major robust AAC apps at my fingertips to try at any moment was life changing for many of my patients.
Don’t have an iPad? No worries…. there are tons of things besides apps included on this resource list: Boom Cards, Teachers Pay Teachers materials, online games, green screen resources, tips for screen mirroring, document cameras, etc… In the Articulation section I included info about Android versions of apps. If you are a pediatric SLP or a parent of a child with special needs, I promise you’ll find something on this list that you’ll love! I provided services for kids, teens and young adults (birth – 21 years of age) for 28 years so I have a vast and varied collection of apps and other materials and resources targeting almost every goal and theme you can think of.
This is a “vetted” list with a mix of paid and free items. With very rare exceptions, I only share info about apps and resources that I have actually downloaded and tried and only post about those that I see as being either helpful in therapy, classroom or to parents of kids with special needs. There are thousands of apps in the App Store and thousands of other resources so it can be difficult to find ones to best meet our needs as SLPs.
The interactive PDF is not intended to be printed due the number of pages (currently 253 pages), number of links and since it will be periodically updated. It will be most useful to save the PDF in the Books/iBooks app on your iPad and iPhone where you can tap on links to apps and resources and hyperlinks within the Table of Contents to jump to that section, zoom in and scroll. It should work in the same way on Google PDF Viewer for those wanting to view it on an Android tablet or phone. It can also be viewed and used in Adobe Acrobat or other PDF Reader software on a computer.
Other Important Info: None of the links in this document are “affiliate” links and nobody “paid” to have their apps, resources or products included. I am providing this as a FREE unbiased resource from OMazing Kids. That integrity is more important to me than any potential money I might have been able to make by selling this as a resource on Teachers Pay Teachers or on my blog. I may venture into creating Boom Cards and TPT materials in the future but at this point everything that I have created remains free on my blog.
Want to suggest an app or resource to be added to this list? The best way to reach me is via Facebook messaging over on my OMazing Kids page.
If it’s a free iOS app, please send the link from the USA App Store so I can try it out.
If it’s a paid iOS 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 or iPhone is compatible in order to try it out.
If it’s another type of resource that’s free, please send the link so I can try it out.
If it’s another type of paid resource, please send the link so I can take a look at the info before sending me a free copy.
Found a broken link or an app or resources that is no longer available? I anticipate that there may be apps and resources that have disappeared over the 8 month timeframe that I worked on this document so please let me know if that happened or if you notice that any have disappeared in the future. The best way to reach me is via Facebook messaging over on my OMazing Kids page.
I plan on periodically updating the this list so it’s best to “bookmark” and share the link to this blog post since the link to the PDF will change when it’s updated. I will update the date on a revised PDF and will indicate the date it was updated in the blog post. You’ll then need to delete the old copy from the Books/iBooks app on your iPad and save the newest version.
Video Demo of this Interactive PDF:
Click here to get the PDF (UPDATED: 1/14/21, deleted original PDF and uploaded new one):
The linked Table of Contents is on Page 4. Tap on a link to jump directly to any of the 192 sections. The document is also searchable.
Want to find out when I do new posts about high quality apps and resources that are are either free or a great deal that day and highlights on more expensive apps that are particularly helpful and well worth the price?
Iinviteyouto join me on myOMazing Kids social media sites. I post the most frequently on my Facebook page and in the AppPeeps group. For particularly great finds, I cross post on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest to help spread the word. Be sure to “like”, “follow” and “join” and adjust your notification settings. I can’t pay to promote posts since I don’t generate any revenue off of the sites.
Ignore any ads that you may see on my blog. It’s a free blog site so I don’t have any control over the ads nor do I profit from them. You can also subscribetomyblog to receive e-mail notifications when I do new blog posts. I don’t send out newsletters or sell contact info so no worries about getting spam.
I hope you find this resource helpful in your work as an SLP or as a parent of a child with special needs. Working on compiling it was a labor of love and was something positive for me to focus on in the midst of the COVID-19 / coronavirus pandemic and other craziness of 2020. I’m SO incredibly grateful to be retired and have the time to help others through the sharing of resources, prayers, helping elderly relatives get groceries/supplies, etc… I have all my fellow SLPs in my prayers for God’s safety and provision. I also have all the families of kids with special needs in my prayers that God would give you the wisdom and peace needed to help you help your child/children during this incredibly stressful time 🙏🏼
Angela Moorad, MS, CCC-SLP, Founder of OMazing Kids, LLC
A free visual support for parents to use to help document the often unseen supports that they are providing that help their child succeed at school.
Unfortunately it’s common for evaluators who are not familiar with a child to state things like “But I don’t see any signs of Autism” or “But he doesn’t “look” Autistic” when they haven’t gathered all the info, looked deeper below the surface or even done any tests that would be part of the process to confirm that diagnosis.
This is especially unhelpful for a child who was accurately diagnosed with Autism at a very young age, has had years of intense intervention and they, their family, their teachers, their SLPs, etc… have worked very hard to make gains to achieve this level of success. You may mean well but pushing to change the eligibility category based on such limited info is harmful.
I worked with lots of kids, teens and young adults with Autism over my 28 year career. Most of the patients on my caseload either had that diagnosis or very similar needs.
So I know firsthand that Autism doesn’t just disappear. A particular individual’s needs may ebb and flow over time and can vary greatly even day to day depending on how they feel, sleep patterns, dietary changes, hormones, environmental sensory triggers, etc… And I’ve read numerous posts from adults with Autism who describe their part time use of AAC and varying need for supports depending on the needs, setting or communication partners. At it’s core Autism is a life-long neurological difference that we need to acknowledge, honor and support over the lifespan.
If you are in the process of completing an evaluation on a child you just met or don’t know very well, I invite you to:
Understand that Autism is a life-long neurological difference
Listen to that individual, their family and those who know them well regarding their journey and the types of supports that are needed in order for them to be successful
Remember what you are seeing in an eval, even one done over a couple of sessions, is just a tiny tip of a much larger unseen iceberg
I created this visual for the mother of one of the most amazing kids I ever had the pleasure of working with. I saw him for several years and his transformation was quite extraordinary. But he still has Autism and still needs support. He has an incredible family who have always been willing to move heaven and earth to get him the services and supports that he needs. I have no doubt he will either discover or invent something that will be world changing. So when she reached out to me of course I had to do something. I will never “retire” from caring 💕
So I’m posting a FREE PDF and pictures of this in case anyone else might find it helpful.
Or tap to open each full sized picture and then save the full sized picture of the one you want to the Camera Roll on your iPad or iPhone and then use the fabulous SnapType app to easily add text to the boxes. You can also take a picture of any worksheet to import it into that app to fill it in.
Example of me filling it out on SnapType (not specific to any particular child… just examples based on commonly occurring supports). After you are finished you can save it and export as a picture, as a PDF or as a SnapType file to share via e-mail or text message. The yellow highlighting only shows up while you are completing it… not in what you share.
I made this visual using the iESLp app by Irmgard Raubenheimer, https://apps.apple.com/us/app/ieslp/id912953895, iPad only, iOS 8.3 or later. The SymbolStix symbols are included in that app. The iceberg photo is an open source, non-attribution photo that I found online.
Please feel free the share this blog post but do NOT upload the PDF, any of the pictures or any of the links to those items to any online files, servers, Boom Cards, Teacher Pay Teachers, or any other sharing platforms. Just refer folks here to this post to get the items for themselves. I feel that it’s important for them to read this blog post to understand why they were created.
Why I prefer to save videos to the iPad vs. linking to YouTube when using the GoTalk Now app:
I had too many patients’ highly preferred videos disappear from YouTube. That typically triggered a meltdown or they lost interest as I attempted to find a different version of it on YouTube.
Saved videos play immediately (no delay = immediate reinforcement of that request). I had several patients who had been seen multiple times by various SLPs over the years at the facility where I worked and they never appeared to understand cause/effect or be motivated to communicate when in fact the issue was the reinforcement wasn’t immediate enough for them to form that connection.
See a side by side comparison in this video.
I used the Screen Recording feature in the iPhone Control Center to take a screencast video while I was playing the YouTube video to save it. Then I edited the video to crop off a little at the beginning and end. My iPad Pro running iOS 10.3.3 doesn’t have a Screen Recording option in the Control Center. My iPad Mini 2 running iOS 12.4.8 could record but didn’t have sound. I was able to do this via my iPhone 11 running iOS 13.5.1 and then used AirDrop to send it to my iPad Pro to use in the GoTalk Now Plus app. My guess is an iPad running at least iOS 13 would have sound in the screen recording but have no way to know for sure 🤷🏼♀️
Update 12/15/20: It is also possible to play saved and play linked YouTube videos within the TouchChat AAC app.
Here’s some differences between playing a “linked” YouTube video in GoTalk Now vs. playing a “linked” YouTube video in TouchChat:
In GoTalk Now, a button programmed to link to a YouTube video exits the app and takes you to YouTube on Safari (that would be blocked if using Guided Access or on a managed dedicated iOS based device). It would be difficult for most AAC users to get back to the GoTalk Now app (have to tap a tiny thing in top left corner of screen and if they play other videos that might disappear).
In TouchChat, a button programmed to link to a YouTube video opens it on a screen within the TouchChat app. It’s easy to tap “done” to return to the previous TouchChat screen. The linked YouTube video will play within TouchChat even when Guided Access is active. But you’d still have issues if YouTube is down or that linked video disappears from YouTube. I’ve used “linked” videos in both of those apps if it’s something I wanted to program on the fly in the middle of a session. If it turned out to be a highly preferred video then I went through the process of saving it to the camera roll and then programming to open it that way 😊
When using either app for this purpose I consider this to fall under the category of “Assistive Technology for Adapted Leisure”. So this is giving them an adapted means of accessing videos. I also use it as an adapted means of accessing music.
An alternative to using Screen Recording is to download free software onto your laptop that will allow you to download and save videos from YouTube and several other sources. I just tried out the YouTube ByClick software and it worked very well. The resulting video was a little larger on the screen than the one made via screen recording. But it involves having to use your laptop to download the video, e-mailing the video to your iPad and then saving that video to the Camera Roll. https://www.youtubebyclick.com.
I can see using YouTube ByClick when I want to save several videos ahead of time to prep for a session. But the Screen Recording method would be my “go to” for the convenience.
In a pinch you could even just use the iPad to video a YouTube video being played on a computer or TV. I’ve done that before. The quality isn’t nearly as good but the patient still enjoyed watching it.
Reminder: GoTalk Now & GoTalk Now Plus are both on sale through the end of October 2020. Extremely rare sale so if you’ve been wanting either of these apps NOW is the time to get it.
If you will be using an iPad with kids, then Guided Access is your new BFE (Best. Feature. Ever!). It can be used to disable the home button (or swiping to exit on devices without a home button) and lock the child into an app. Especially critical if you will be using the iPad as an AAC device or using it in therapy with kids with poor impulse control. See this info from Apple for the most current info and step by step directions: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202612
Visual supports with voice output for the “win”! I attended a presentation by Kari Dunn Buron, coauthor of The Incredible 5 Point Scale, at the Oklahoma Autism Conference offered by the Oklahoma Autism Network in 2017 and was inspired to make this for a patient who had been having a particularly difficult time and exhibiting a significant increase in aggressive behaviors. I watched for very subtle signs of increased agitation and modeled use of this to both talk about emotional states and offered choices to help calm before he got beyond a “Level 3”. He showed understanding of it the very first day and smiled when I acknowledged that he was struggling. He chose “go for a walk outside” and “go back to the house and rest”. The next day he spontaneously tapped “go for a walk outside” before he got beyond a “Level 2” and a huge smile washed over his face as we exited the sensory overload inside the building into the brisk air and total peace outside. I was often totally overstimulated by all the “Christmassy” stuff at our facility too so we ended up taking lots of walks outside 😉.
A video showing several boards including this one:
Thanks again Attainment Company, Inc. for making such a versatile app and giving me access to the most full featured version as well as several extras within it to help the patients at the nonprofit facility where I worked for the last half of my career. I was able to show this to his mother and she was very impressed with how easy this app is to program and to use for AAC and visual supports.
This app is definitely in the top 5 most used apps on my iPad. I saved this to the Online Gallery. Those who have either the GoTalk Now or GoTalk Now Plus versions of the app should be able to find everything that I have uploaded to the public Online Gallery by searching by my last name (Moorad)or a word in the title. See page 23 in the in-app Users Guide for info on how to find it.
There are several versions of the app with varying levels of features:
Wow! AAC news flash….. Attainment Company, Inc. announced a GoTalk AAC app sale (10/16 – 10/31/20) 👏🏼 I just checked pricing history on the AppSliced website and this is the lowest price on GoTalk NOW since 2012 and the lowest price ever on GoTalk NOW PLUS. ✅ So if either of these have been on your wish list NOW is the time to get them. ✅ (Tip: It’s wise to get apps at least a day before a sale ends to insure you don’t miss it)
GoTalk NOW by Attainment Company, https://apps.apple.com/us/app/gotalk-now/id454176457, iPad only, iOS 9.0 or later. They recently added Core Vocabulary Communication Pages and GoTalk NOW Curriculum Pages to the app. The Core Vocabulary pages are easy to find in Downloads – Core Words – options for 4, 9, 16, 25 and 36 locations. The Curriculum Pages are trickier to find. Those are free downloads from their Online Gallery (see page 23 in the in-app guide for details on how to find that). More info about the features: https://www.attainmentcompany.com/gotalk-now. Usually $99.99 -> on sale for $49.99
GoTalk NOW PLUS by Attainment Company, https://apps.apple.com/us/app/gotalk-now-plus/id742150885, iPad only, iOS 9.0 or later. This is the version that I have. This version has everything in GoTalk Now and adds a SymbolStix symbol library, a premade Ready-Set-Communicate book, and Acapela text-to-speech English voices. Usually $169.99 -> on sale for $119.99
Here are posts that I have done showing examples of how you can use this app:
***** Those who have either of these versions of the app can find everything that I have uploaded to the public Online Gallery by searching by my last name (Moorad). See page 23 in the in-app guide for details on how to find that *****
PCS & PCS Thinline symbols are also available as IAPs
The GoVisual Scene Maker app is also on sale in case you missed it being on sale back in May. GoVisual Scene Maker by Attainment Company, https://apps.apple.com/us/app/govisual-scene-maker/id1324635847, iOS Universal, iOS 13.0 or later. More info: https://www.attainmentcompany.com/govisual
Found another FREE hidden gem in the App Store! Names of Animal Sounds by Pioneer Logics, https://apps.apple.com/us/app/names-of-animal-sounds/id1351844864 (2 word phrase (animal name + verb of the sound they make, ex: Lion roars) while showing short video of it, 61 animals organized alphabetically and can swipe to choose specific one).
List of what’s included… a few of the names of the sounds seem a little off but when I researched names of animal sounds some had several listed or varied between sources:
Antelope snotes (snorts?)
Crocodile bleats (bellows?)
Cuckoo clocks (coos or cuckoos?)
Kangaroo grunts (chortles?)
Koel clocks (?)
Lemur gibbers (?)
Polar bear growls
Zebra clicks (neigh or whinny?)
I had a couple of patients with Autism who had a high interest in animals that would have LOVED this app!
In particular I remember one who had a very driven passion for animals so we got to see a peek into his amazing skills when we tapped into that high interest. I used the I Read – Animals (Reading Comprehension for Kids) app by Nerea Sanchez Dominguez (https://apps.apple.com/us/app/i-read-animals-reading-comprehension-for-kids/id940688959) & the First Nouns app by KIS Publishing LLC (https://apps.apple.com/us/app/first-nouns/id930990828, before it switched to only being accessible to their online school) and was blown away by his ability to type and spell animal names. Ended up taking video to prove it to the rest of the team and immediately went through the process to get him an iPad with a robust AAC app. Speak For Yourself ended up being a great match for him since it has only 1-2 hits to get to any word and uses the native iOS keyboard. I think about him often and wonder how he’s doing 😊