My latest tech rabbit hole to go down is use of an external Bluetooth keyboard with AAC. I’ve gotten a few inquiries related to this recently so I decided to see what I could find.
Features: I wanted something that could be used across all of my tech (iOS, Android, Windows), is affordable, portable, reliable, easy to pair, has a nice feel to the keys, has a slight incline, etc. This keyboard has three separate Bluetooth buttons to be able to toggle easily between three different devices that have been paired to it (not used simultaneously on three devices but makes switching between them very quick).
It’s been surprising to discover how many AAC apps (symbol-based & text-based) support use of an external keyboard. I’ll be adding this info to the next update for my feature matching resources.
I’ve been impressed with the Arteck Universal Multi-Device Bluetooth Keyboard that I bought on Amazon.com: https://a.co/d/2Qn2f9d. Great price ($17.99 – an extra 20% off = $14.39), has a good feel to it and it fits perfectly in a Vera Bradley pouch that I already had.
See more about this Vera Bradley item and what will fit in it on my Vera Bradley YouTube channel:
This item was on sale for a good price when I purchased both of them back in December ($20.75). It’s priced higher now but prices on Amazon change frequently so it’s something that you may want to save in your cart and watch for a good sale: https://a.co/d/dSPfFhM
Important Considerations: These keyboard features would likely be the top features for folks who are able to type on a keyboard on a laptop or computer and are wanting something portable to use with their AAC. A couple of the inquiries that I received were regarding adult AAC users who preferred to type on a keyboard vs. on a device screen, a couple were from folks wanting a keyboard for use when editing & a couple were related to children who have a passion for letters and keyboards (based on the info that I was provided they are likely Gestalt Language Processors with Hyperlexia) and those supporting AAC use thought that they might prefer using an external Bluetooth keyboard. Each situation is unique. If you are wanting to explore external Bluetooth keyboard options for individuals with complex access needs then it’s important to consult with an OT and/or AT Specialist. There are several alternative assistive technology keyboards on the market but those are very specialized, typically much more expensive and may not work across multiple platforms.
It’s important to find a keyboard that’s compatible with whatever operating system is used on that device. I read through tons of reviews prior to deciding to try this particular keyboard. I took the time to add my own review for it on Amazon to help others find it more quickly than I did. That’s also the reason that I decided to post about it on social media and write this blog post.
Looking for in-depth AAC feature matching resources? See this blog post: https://bit.ly/5aacFeatureMatchingResources. That post also includes videos comparing AAC apps on various devices on various platforms.
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
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