The DYnamic Therapy Associates Blog
Disclaimer: I really am not a static display device fan. Seriously not a fan, as in I groan audibly when one of my new patients tells me he uses a static display device at school for his communication. I hate for children who really need a comprehensive communication system to be given 20 buttons and sent on their way. It makes me clinically insane. If the static display device is part of the AAC system, okay, but if it is THE communication system, ugh. So you can imagine GoTalks haven't been on the top of my go to communication device list.
This app has all the tools of a comprehensive communication app in a build it yourself version. The content that is available is in an early stage of development, but the potential, ENDLESS.
So with this app you have the ability to create a page of 25 buttons and with a few clicks drop it down to a 2 button page. You can access a quick message popup on every page. You can turn on a message window. It's simple to add a photo symbol to a button from your library or camera. Don't have your own photo? A couple of taps and you can search the internet and drop an image on your button. Multiple images can be placed on a single button. Buttons can speak a synthesized message or you can record your own. Not only can you make grids for communication, you can easily make scenes for context based messages. And it SCANS. Craziness! It's an amateur AAC page developers dream. Easy to use, easy to customize with a ton of great features.
There are several options to get started with the GoTalk Now App:
GoTalk Now Free- one book with 3 pages, Free
GoTalk Start- one book with 5 pages, $19.99
GoTalk Now- unlimited books and pages, voices, templates, backup and restore, and sharing via wifi, $80
GoTalk Now Plus- all of use above plus Symbolstix library, Ready, Set, Communicate book and Acapela voices, $150
This app is one to have in every classroom and is also a great simple app to trial AAC with your child. It has potential to help teachers and therapists introduce vocabulary symbols, especially for activity based boards. I believe it has potential to give students an ability to participate in their environment, learn new symbols or to practice more advanced syntax and morphology in a low distraction environment. For my purposes, it has become an exceptional evaluation tool. If you took the time to build it, you could create a communication app with absolutely everything you could possibly need for a 25 location comprehensive communication system.
A real disclaimer: I was given an evaluation version of this app to test out. Then again, I'm given a lot of apps. I only talk about the good ones :)
When I first meet a child for therapy, I always ask parents to tell me what their child likes to do. What characters, what toys, what games, what videos, what books.... So many times parents of children with severe speech and physical impairment look at me like I'm a little crazy when I ask about board games. "Well, she would probably like them but she can't do it." Since that sounds like a challenge, I have been adapting board games for many years. (Plus, I like games and my own kids are getting too old to play Candyland with me anymore!)
...you can just add numbers (or colors, or letters) to the playing pieces so your child can use his/her device to make a selection. For this game, Alli uses her communication device to pick 2 numbers to guess where the two halves of Gingerbread Man are hiding.
The next step is to make sure the game is as visually and physically accessible as possible. Here's a Candyland Game I adapted to help kids with fine motor difficulty move and place their pieces without sliding and falling. We tap out each move so our kids with visual challenges can hear how far the players pieces are moving.
I know, I know, it's a PECS system...but actually it's a LOT more. As I may have mentioned before, I'm really a high tech kind of person so I walked past the Proxtalker booth many times over the past few years. A quick glance told me all I needed to know- it's a PECS system with a bunch of little cards that would make me and my kids crazy. Okay, so I was wrong. Today we had the pleasure of having Glen Dobbs come out to our office to meet us and show us his Proxtalker and ProxPAD. We have recently reconsidered the Proxtalker and ProxPAD as we began working with more children with visual impairments. The possibility of putting tactile symbols on a voice output system is intriguing. After seeing both the Proxtalker and ProxPAD in action, I agree that it's pretty powerful for these folks, but I was pleasantly surprised at the other features these devices offered for many of our other patients.
What I Liked:
Wish List: (What we would love to see)
Here's a video where you can see the Proxtalker in action, hear Glen's explanation and watch them drive it over with a truck!
About the Author: I am a SLP who has the distinct fortune of having a job that is also my passion. I have been an AAC Specialist for almost 25 years in schools and my private clinic. I currently own Dynamic Therapy with my husband, Chuck (also of 25 years) who is my business partner and enabler. We have a wonderful staff of SLPs & AAC Specialists who work with us to help our patients. I hope you find my blog helpful as you join me in our journey with our unique and amazing friends! Vicki Clarke, MS CCC-SLP