Game Apps & AAC: why these need to be on separate devices (updated 7/26/22)

{Game Apps & AAC} Here is a perfect example of why an AAC app needs to be on a separate iPad from the “fun stuff”. Last week one of my patients earned 5 minutes of play time at the end of a session. We had already done a full session of aided language input and practice in using the TouchChat with WordPower AAC app. But I did not turn that off when I got out my secondary iPad with all the fun game apps… I always leave a “talker” out and available. This patient chose a basketball game and was having a blast shooting virtual hoops. But the true magic happened next. The game app has a variety of vehicles that go by on the street in the background. To be honest I hadn’t even noticed that they were there. He got so excited and spontaneously activated “groups” -> “vehicles” -> and then found the button for the vehicle that had just gone by in the app. It was fun to watch him go back and forth between shooting hoops and commenting on vehicles. I modeled use of social comments “sweet” & “awesome” when he made a great shot. If I only had one iPad, he would not have had the opportunity for this spontaneous language experience.

I just checked and the game app that we used is still currently FREE:
Streetball Game by Rodrigo Schmitt de Andrade

(Updated 7/26/22: Unfortunately that particular Streetball basketball app has disappeared from the App Store. But it was just an example. There are lots of apps that a child would enjoy talking about on their AAC device while playing)

{FYI… yes this patient has his own NovaChat AAC device. Unfortunately the charging port is damaged so it has been shipped back for repairs. Glad I have TouchChat set up with the same pageset so we can continue to practice AAC use while his talker is being fixed during his inpatient admission at the hospital where I work as a SLP}

Additional articles about this:

More Than an AAC Device?

Is it ever appropriate to use a student’s tablet—designed for facilitating communication—for other purposes?

Also readUsing 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):

Important Note: Decisions about whether or not an iPad or tablet should ONLY be used for AAC need to be made based on individual needs, age of the user, how long they have been using AAC, etc… The needs of a young child first learning how to use AAC are very different than the needs of an older teen or adult who uses tech to multitask.

Have a question? The best way to reach me is via Facebook messaging over on my OMazing Kids page:

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

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