Angela Moorad, MS, CCC-SLP. Over 33 years experience in AAC. OMazing Kids AAC and app consulting. Creator of several AAC Feature Matching resources (https://omazingkidsllc.com/omazing-kids-aac-resource-links/). Includes info about unique features to support Gestalt Language Processors
Updated 9/17/22: Added a section with links to social media pages and groups that frequently share great examples of literacy strategies for AAC users, a website with free printable story props & more. Also includes info about a free PDF reader that can be used on any platform to view and search within the document. In order to easily find all instances of a particular Core Word in this list, open it in the free Xodo app. It works on any platform (even computers) and has a fabulous Search feature. https://www.xodo.com
Note: This resource started as a blog post in April 2018 where I documented core words in picture books that I was selling when I retired from clinical practice. I remember sitting in my living room surrounded by piles of over 1,200 kids picture books and Post It notes. Later I expanded it to include more books that I had used digitally and offered it here on TPT after I had received numerous requests for it.
Inclusion in the “Top 10” was based on features, long term availability in the App Store, good history of being updated, having patients who benefited from using the app, gathering data from app recommendations from SLPs who have expertise in AAC, etc. The list was purposefully limited to the top 10 in order to keep it manageable for updates as apps continue to add features in the future. I plan on maintaining and updating the chart for the foreseeable future to help meet the need for current and comprehensive info to be used in feature matching. Inclusion of particular apps is subject to change based on features and an ongoing track record of support and updates. The purpose of this chart isn’t to name a “best” app since the “best” AAC for that individual is the combination of options (variety of apps, SGDs, no-tech, etc.) that meets their needs at that moment in time. This chart is not intended to imply that any app not on this list is not well designed or serve a very important function.
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.)
I’ve received several questions about my new OMazing Kids AAC Consulting Ko-fi page (https://ko-fi.com/omazingkidsaac). Most folks haven’t heard of Ko-fi so here’s a bit of info.
Ko-fi is similar to the more well-known Patreon platform but different in many ways that made it a better option for me to try:
It’s much more affordable. I upgraded to Gold to be able to offer subscriptions but that was affordable to do (only $4.50 per month if paid annually)
They don’t take a cut of the earnings (just the fee deducted by PayPal)
Payment is via PayPal (both by you & to me). I’ve personally used PayPal for several years so I trust it. There is potentially an option to add Stripe as a payment option for credit cards but the process is complicated and the fees are higher. So I don’t plan on doing that unless there is a huge need for it.
It allows the option for me to post content accessible to specific audiences (subscriber only, subscriber + 1x supporter donation, public)
It offers the option to sell customized “commissioned” works
Even though Ko-fi has the subscription option I haven’t been able to find a way to edit the button that says “donation” to say “subscribe”.
How to “subscribe” in order to get access to my exclusive “subscriber only” content:
Create your free Ko-fi account (you need an account so Ko-fi will know to unlock subscriber content when you visit my page)
Tap “Monthly” (amount is automatically set at $25 – new rate as of 5/12/21)
Tap “Donate” (even though Ko-fi has the subscription option I haven’t been able to find a way to edit the button that says “donate” to say “subscribe”)
That will set you up to auto-pay $25 per month via PayPal. You should receive an e-mail from PayPal that can serve as a receipt or log onto your PayPal account and print what you need from there.
You will receive an email from Ko-fi when I post new content. When you are on the site you’ll also see a Ko-fi notification (🔔). I will also be posting announcements about new content on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) and my blog (which also has a way to subscribe to e-mail notifications)
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.)
Are you a parent or caregiver 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 and caregivers who have been told “no”, “only after we try _____”, or “only after they demonstrate ________ skills”, etc.
Another reality is not every parent or caregiver 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.
If your child is a Gestalt Language Processor, be sure to also read the section specifically related to Gestalt Language Processing & AAC at the end of this post.
I am not implying that a free or inexpensive app is always the ideal way to meet most communication needs. But these can be helpful to use until an AAC eval can be completed, a more robust option can be purchased, to meet a short term need or as a secondary tool to offer features that might not be available in their main AAC app, etc.
You may need to use a combination of several apps and add it to existing communication such as True Object Based Icons (TOBIs), facial expressions, gestures, vocalizations, etc. That individual can then pick what methods work best for them in any given situation. We all use various modes of communication (words, gestures, emojis, texting, drawing, etc).
Even when choosing a free or affordable AAC app you’ll want to consider the features that will best match that individual’s needs
Here are some resources that can help you make informed AAC purchasing decisions prior to purchasing more expensive AAC apps:
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.
Great video from Two Way Street: “5 Tips to Good Interaction When the Words Aren’t There Yet”
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).
I have several free resources available on Teachers Pay Teachers:
I’ve received lots of messages from parents asking what the “best” AAC app is for Gestalt Language Processors. I wish there was a simple answer for this but there isn’t.
Of the thousands of AAC users that I’ve worked with each one had unique needs. For some it was the language(s) that app needed to support, the method of access (tapping to select, drag and release to select, switch scanning, head tracking, eye gaze, etc.), how many navigational hits it took to get to a word, the sensory aspects (type and color of symbols, voice options), etc… This was in addition to unique features that might be helpful for GLPs.
That’s why it’s important to consider the bigger picture of all of their needs and hopefully try a few AAC options before making a purchasing decision.
If you are a parent and don’t have access to an SLP to help you navigate the AAC app options, feel free to message me on my OMazing Kids AAC Consulting Facebook page. I’m glad to answer basic questions about AAC apps and share links to unlisted YouTube videos related to those apps.
Why are those videos unlisted? Those particular videos were created as part of my in-depth feature matching resources that are primarily designed for SLPs and other professionals. Of course anyone can purchase them but they might be way too much info and overwhelming for those just getting started with AAC. I don’t want parents to feel like they have to purchase that type of resource just to see the videos.
So parents please message me if you’d like to see a video about a particular AAC app. I answer quickly on my Facebook page.
I’m not currently offering in-depth virtual AAC consultation or coaching but may consider doing that at some point in the future.
I have over 33 years of experience in AAC, have used almost every iOS AAC app in the USA iTunes (Apple) App Store, Android AAC apps, Amazon Fire AAC apps, Windows AAC apps, web-based AAC apps + lots of AAC-related apps. I am always 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.