Tacoma Tomilson, Community Technologist
Tacoma Tomilson is a Community Technologist for Do Space and a graduate of San Jose State University. On the weekends, she exchanges her Do Space cardigan for a USAFR flight suit.
In an effort to increase accessibility to technology, Do Space and communication experts at the Munroe-Meyer Institute (MMI) have worked together to ensure several high-end communication apps are available to test at Do Space including TouchChat HD, DynaVox Compass, Proloquo2go, Go Talk Now, Assistive Chat, and Verbally.
MMI is a federally designated University Center of Excellence for Developmental Disabilities Education, Research and Service. MMI specializes in providing services and support for persons with intellectual, developmental and/or genetic disorders.
Thanks to MMI’s recommendations, the following six applications are now available on an accessible iPad at Do Space:
TouchChat HD is described as “a full-featured communication solution for individuals who have difficulty using their natural voice. TouchChat is designed for individuals with Autism, Down Syndrome, ALS, apraxia, stroke, or other conditions that affect a person’s ability to use natural speech.
TouchChat 2.0 provides both English and Spanish options in one app and provides a universal app supporting iPhone, iPod and iPad.
TouchChat fits into the category of assistive technology known as Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) and includes features that were previously only available in much more expensive dedicated devices. Words, phrases and messages are spoken with a built-in voice synthesizer or by playing recorded message. Various English and Spanish synthesized voices are available, allowing the user to choose a voice that fits their own personality.”
According to its creator, “Compass provides a research-based communication solution for individuals of all ages and abilities who cannot use their natural voice to participate in their everyday lives. Compass was built by our team of leading clinicians, providing you with confidence that you have chosen a reliable pathway to communication success.
With the ability to quickly customize your communication pages, Compass provides all individuals, no matter their age or communication level, the power to communicate with everyone who is important in their life. Containing the largest variety of communication content available in any AAC solution, Compass provides pagesets structured to address the unique needs of individuals with autism, cerebral palsy, aphasia, apraxia, Down syndrome, developmental disabilities, ALS, Stroke, and Traumatic Brain Injury, as well as other communication challenges.
In addition to the exciting and dynamic communication options available at your fingertips, the Compass app uses the power of cloud technology to manage and update your communication pages anytime and anywhere. Compass seamlessly connects with your free, personal “myDynaVox” account which gives you access to teaching and therapy supports, the ability to share content between family, therapist, other users, and other members of the support team, as well as backup and restore your communication files.”
Proloquo2Go “is designed to promote growth of communication skills and foster language development through research-based vocabularies. Its innovative features provide support for parents, teachers and therapists to implement AAC best practices.
Proloquo2Go is one of the few AAC apps that covers all users, from beginning to advanced communicators, while catering for a wide range of fine-motor, visual and cognitive skills.
The Crescendo™ vocabulary offers three vocabulary levels in 23 different grid sizes. Users can easily transition as language skills expand while customizations are retained. Core words appear in the same location across folders to support learning through motor planning. Proloquo2Go and the Crescendo™ vocabulary are available in English and Spanish, with support for bilingual use you can instantly switch between languages at any time.”
According to its creators, “NOW combines the simplicity of GoTalks (Attainment’s popular original AAC device) with the dynamic capabilities of an iPad. GoTalk NOW has all the essentials of an effective AAC app, like adjustable page layouts, customizable navigation, recorded and text-to-speech capabilities, and an included symbol set. But we sweated the details to create unique and compelling features that clearly separate NOW from other AAC apps.
The new NOW offers three styles of communication pages: Standard, Express, and Scenes. In Standard pages, the action occurs when the location is pressed. In Express pages, recorded or text-to-speech messages build in a speech bar and play in sequence when the bar is pressed. Scene pages are built around a single photo or image. When you arrange invisible hotspots over people or objects in the photo, the hotspots play speech, music, or videos! Feel free to mix and match pages within a communication book.”
Assistive Apps presents the Assistive Express, “an affordable Augmentative Alternative Communication (AAC) Device, catered to people with difficulty in speech. The biggest challenge for such users when using AAC devices is the number of keystrokes or hits required to construct any sentences, which can take up a significant amount of time to have a decent conversation with anyone. To overcome this challenge, Assistive Express is designed to be simple and efficient, allowing users to express their views and thoughts at the most express manner, with natural sounding voices.”
Verbally from Intuary “is an easy-to-use, comprehensive Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) app for the iPad. Verbally brings speech to those without and enables real conversation with its simple, intuitive design. Just tap in what you want to say and Verbally speaks for you.”
If you are interested in using these applications, just ask the staff at the Tech Help Desk about using the Accessibility iPad within the building.