When I was a teacher, trying a new AAC system required renting a device from the district. If they didn’t have the one you wanted in stock, you had to wait weeks or even months. Then, if the device or system seemed to work for the person, you began the process of advocating for the purchase of the device. In some cases, this process may still be a reality. The iPad and other devices like it, however, have really changed the game when it comes to access to sophisticated AAC options. Now, educators and families can try out any number of AAC apps with the touch of a button. Some of these options don’t cost a dime and many others are incredibly cost effective, especially when you consider the thousands of dollars we once spent on high-quality systems.
One of my favorite AAC apps is augie. It is created (full disclosure here) by my colleague and friend, Vic Morris, a special education administrator here in Illinois. Vic really understands what kids need and he has seen the limitations of other systems throughout his career. When he designed augie, therefore, he worked with many experts to be sure this system could be customized, affordable, and comprehensive. augie comes pre-loaded with high frequency vocabulary, but it only takes minutes to personalize the content. augie’s voice output communication categories are designed for functional communication and are easily modified to support classroom participation, personal conversations, and more. This versatile app also includes home and school daily schedules, a one touch critical communication dock, and user-defined voice output communication content. You can learn more about at the augie website.
How about you? How has access to AAC changed for your child or teacher as a result of the iPad? What apps have helped your students and children communicate and find success in the classroom?