Are you a parent who wants to try out AAC options for your child? I highly recommend that you pursue an AAC eval (including feature matching and trial of options) with an SLP who has expertise in this area.
This is not meant to put up a roadblock or to “gate keep”. I like to compare it to decisions made regarding wheelchairs. Could you just go pick one out and buy it? If you had the money, sure. But it may not be the best “fit” for that person.
But don’t feel that you HAVE TO wait.
Unfortunately it’s still common to see comments from parents who have been told “no”, “only after we try _____”, or “only after they demonstrate ________ skills”, etc.
Another reality is not every parent will have access to this type of evaluation. This may be even more challenging in the midst of the pandemic despite the best efforts of SLPs to provide these services remotely.
It may just be a little trickier to determine what the best AAC option will be for your child since many parents don’t have unlimited resources to buy several AAC apps to try.
Here are some resources that can help you make informed AAC purchasing decisions:
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.
The AT Program in your state may also know of SLPs who do AAC evals and funding resources (including grants) specific to your area.
You can search for AT Reuse programs: http://www.passitoncenter.org/reuse_locations.php
You can learn about AAC apps by joining the various AAC user groups on Facebook and watching free webinars on the company’s website or YouTube channel.
- Avaz: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1404976513132058/?ref=ts&fref=ts
- CoughDrop: https://www.facebook.com/groups/CoughDropUsers/
- Clicker Communicator: https://www.facebook.com/groups/Clicker.Communicator/?fref=ts
- Grid for iPad / Grid 3 (Smartbox Community): https://www.facebook.com/groups/smartboxcommunity/
- LAMP Words For Life: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1541091616125345/?ref=ts&fref=ts (if you use an Accent SGD, also check out this group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/491906254326527/)
- Proloquo2Go for Parents: https://www.facebook.com/groups/241684205905600/?ref=ts&fref=ts
- simPODD: https://www.facebook.com/groups/AssistiveWaresimPODD/
- Speak for Yourself: https://www.facebook.com/groups/273873326092019/?ref=ts&fref=ts
- Tobii Dynavox: https://www.facebook.com/groups/tobiidynavoxcommunity/?fref=ts
- TouchChat: https://www.facebook.com/groups/touchchatapp/?ref=ts&fref=ts (NovaChat & ChatFusion users: https://www.facebook.com/groups/novachat)
And there are several parents that share info about their child using AAC:
Hold My Words:
A Star in Her Eye
Uncommon Sense Blog:
A great recorded webinar that Dana did “Getting Started with Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) for Your Child”: https://www.ctdinstitute.org/library/2015-12-15/getting-started-alternative-and-augmentative-communication-aac-your-child
We Speak PODD:
You can see the pricing history for any iOS app on the App Sliced website (gives you an idea of the pattern of when it goes on sale): https://appsliced.co. Many AAC apps tend to go on sale in the USA in April (Autism Awareness / Acceptance Month) and in October (AAC Awareness Month).
Feel free to send me a private message on my OMazing Kids AAC Consulting Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/OMazingKidsAAC/).
I have 30 years of experience in AAC, have used almost every iOS AAC app in the USA iTunes (Apple) App Store, am glad to share what I know about the features in these apps and refer you on to where you can get good / accurate additional info.
Angela Moorad, MS, CCC-SLP, Founder of OMazing Kids, LLC OMazing Kids AAC Consulting
OMazing Kids AAC Consulting Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/OMazingKidsAAC/
AppPeeps Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/OMazingKidsAppPeeps/