On Saturday, I presented at a wonderful, well organized Autism Resource Fair, sponsored by Autism Allies. I was asked to give a general overview of the iPad and how it may be beneficial for individuals with autism and to highlight some apps. I had a difficult time deciding which apps to highlight in the category of augmentative alternative communication (AAC). This group of apps gets a majority of the press coverage related to individuals with special needs. The obvious choice was Proloquo2go. This app has received a great deal of attention, rightfully so, as it is a well designed, useful app. It comes with a large price tag. Many have pointed out that in comparison to other comparable AAC devices which we're thousands of dollars, $189.00 seems very reasonable. Yet, in the world of apps, this is very steep. I decided to highlight Proloquo2Go and My First AAC which has a more moderate price point of $24.99. As I was preparing the presentation, I received an email from a colleague about two apps that were free for the day. I downloaded them and tried them out. I then added them to the list of AAC apps. I really liked this price, free! Even now that the sale is over, the apps are only $2.99.
The apps are Click n' Talk and Talk'n Photos. They were developed by a school district in Minnesota. The district supported a group of teachers who wanted to develop an app to meet a specific need and the results are wonderful. AAC is only one of many possible uses for these apps.
In ten minutes, I created a simple communication board for snack time using Talk'n Photos. You can add text and audio to the picture. Each photo is 2x2 which is quite standard. You can use your own photos or import from the web. The grids are three across and unlimited vertically. I added messages with "I want" along with the name of the food. When you select a message, the screen stays on the grid page. To leave an album, an arrow at the top is selected. As a communication device, this is an easy, affordable start.
|Talk'n Photos Album Page, I created the Snack album, the other two are examples that came with the app.|
|Talk n' Photo message page.|
Talk n' Photos can support many other objectives. Grids could be created for vocabulary building, language concepts, social stories, sequencing a self help routine and visual schedules. I hope to share other examples as our staff begins to use the app.
Click n' Talk is a little different from Talk n' Photos in presentation. The grid is similar but when you select a picture, the selection enlarges to the entire screen, the picture needs to be selected again for the message to play. Arrows allow you to navigate between photos. This app may be better suited for social stories and customized books. I created an art and snack album. I added numbers to request a quantity for snack.
|Album page, I created an Art and Snack album. The Milo album is a sample story that came with the app.|
|Snack Album page, when you select yogurt the next image will appear.|
Here is a link to a video showing a student using Click n' Talk. I hope to post more examples soon. Please share how you are using these apps with young learners or learners with special needs. Thanks!