5e. Different Technologies for Different uses.

Updated by Global Symbols with UNICEF ECARO

AAC tech (Image thanks to UNICEF)

  • The project may not be planning to introduce a single AAC application, but prefer to offer families a mixture of applications and devices.
  • This flexibility is important and contexts for use change, so choices should be made as to what is most suitable for a child at various times.
  • However, when a 'talker' (device wtih visual aids and speech synthesis) is chosen consistent and frequent use is vital to support communication skills.
  • Portability is an important factor in ensuring the child can have access to the device regardless of location.
  • Think about user preferences and abilities, resources and expertise available, environment and tasks before choosing the tools. Don’t forget ongoing support and remember the need for independence.

David Banes provides an overview of AAC and some of the many technologies available. YouTube Video Independence and Inclusion

  • In most cases, a decision will need to be made to offer Apple (iOS) based devices or Android when it comes to speech output and symbol use. Both are reliable solutions, but we recommend that devices supplied always be compatible with the latest version of either operating system. Devices should also have sufficient storage and memory to run the software without freezing or becoming unresponsive.
  • Specifically designed AAC applications may also be found on Windows operating system tablets, so it is important to check compatibility and expertise in local use of any speech generating devices (SDGs) and assistive technologies.
  • The cost will be a factor in deciding. Apple devices are usually more expensive than many Android devices, although there is some evidence that Apple devices may be used longer than some Android devices.
  • Familiarity of users and carers with the devices is also a factor. If a child is already familiar with one device, it will be far easier to use a device based on the same operating system. This is also important to carers who need to know how to install applications and find files on the device when needed.
  • Depending on the region or country that the device will be used for, it is often helpful to find out which languages are fully supported, including onboard text to speech voices.
  • It can be tempting with Android devices to opt for the lowest cost models. However, we would recommend selecting those with warranties and post-sales support in making a purchase. Some imported models are only available for a short period and have limited access to apps. These should be avoided if possible.

See Also