Electronic Augmentative and Alternative Communication Systems with Dynamic Displays come in a wide variety of hardware options, with several different operating systems and a plethora of applications!  These are the "high tech" systems you've heard of, typically offering thousands of words on hundreds of pages with many different means of organizing vocabulary. On this page we will consider both Tablet Based AAC applications and Dedicated Speech Generating devices, as well as the use of AAC applications on off-the-shelf technology.

Equipment Choices:


AAC applications can now be loaded on a number of different pieces of equipment, which makes our options for talking with AAC much more flexible!  Many of the AAC applications include both a Tablet options and a Windows option.  That means if you have your own iPad or Windows tablet, a Smart Board or desktop computer, you can load your AAC application right onto your own equipment!   Classroom Displays for AAC Apps are brilliant options for helping you "talk with tech" yourself, and provide an immersive AAC environment for your student to learn to communicate. If you like to "walk and talk" you might consider having a Teacher Modeling System, or a staff tablet so that teachers, paraprofessionals and therapists can move around the room talking with their voices and modeling with the AAC applications!


Choosing Between a Tablet (iPad/Android based) AAC Application and a Speech Generating Device?
What's the difference?  Basically the difference is durability, fundability and support.  Tablets are a great solution for families looking for a familiar entry into the world of AAC.  They can be bought off the shelf, and now are fundable through insurance and Medicaid through certain companies (Ablenet, Forbes Rehab Services). Speech generating devices (SGDs) are durable, medical grade devices, purpose built for communication.  They typically have more alternative access options (like eye gaze, switch ports for scanning) than tablets. Because SGDs are more expensive, they often come with more technical supports, local representatives and add on features, like additional AAC applications you can put on your own iPads.

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AAC Application Choices

There are MANY options for AAC applications and they run on a variety of types of equipment. Dedicated Speech Generating Devices (on Windows devices) typically have a wider range of their AAC applications and software pagesets available on than the iPad versions.  If you like a particular iPad app, you might want to check out the manufacturer's other options available when you choose their durable equipment!

AAC on Tablets (iPads, and Androids)

GoTalk Now
Snap Core First - Tobii Dynavox UK
TD Snap

LAMP Words For Life
Touch Chat with Word Power
Snap Scene
My First AAC

Avaz App Vocabulary Screenshot


Cheat Sheets to help you learn TD Snap AAC Application and TouchChat with Word Power are linked in the files below! Take a look for quick handouts to get you started!

Dedicated Speech Generating Devices (SGDs)


Dedicated Speech Generating Devices (SGDs) are durable, medical grade devices for the purpose of providing speech output to individuals whose speech does not meet their needs to communicate.  Medicaid/Medicare and most insurance companies fund these dedicated systems at a higher rate than more "off the shelf" tablets with AAC applications.  


  • Operating Systems:  Dedicated, fundable SGDs come in a variety of operating systems including Apple iOS (iPads), Windows (Tablets) and Android (Tablets).  
  • Accessibility:  Dedicated SGDs are typically accessible in multiple ways.  Many of them are used by individuals who cannot touch a screen but can listen or watch a scan through on-screen buttons and can activate a switch to select a message. Some of the systems have the ability to "read" the focal point of the user's eyes and will activate where the person is looking. Some of these systems can be operated using a joystick. Assessing a person's ability to access a device both physically, visually and auditorily is an important consideration when selecting an appropriate SGD.

Communication Device Info and Summaries

Trying to decide which device is best for your student?  We have a tool to help you! You can download our Communication Device Info and Summaries for a detailed description of the most commonly recommended systems, their features, options, support and warranties.  Use this tool as you work with your families and IEP teams to make the right choice for your student!

File link below!

Classroom Displays for AAC Applications

Chat Editor on SMART Board
Snap on a SMART Board


Did you know that many of the most popular Augmentative and Alternative Communication applications run on Windows computers?  A few run on Macs too! AND, many are free to AAC users and professionals? Given that little piece of information, are you already thinking about your interactive Smart Boards?  Well we certainly did!  Having a student's AAC device displayed on a classroom sized display can be very powerful as a tool for teachers to model the use of the system in real time and at a size which is accessible to the entire classroom.  We like that all students have access to visual language when the AAC system is on display at the front of the room.


AAC Application for Windows: TD Snap, NuVoice, Chat Editor with Word Power

AAC Application for Multiple Platforms:  AVAZ


Interactive Large Display Board

How To

TD Snap

Chat EditorSm


Miss Carrie explains how she uses her Smart Board with Chat Editor and Word Power 20 for Morning Meeting