Sunday, December 20, 2015

Wearing Your Words

Jabber Jas Harness

Custom ChatBag
Wearing your words is essential when you are an ambulatory AAC user.  You need to be able to access your AAC at all times and you can't do that if gets left in another room or is in your backpack.  AAC users who also use wheelchairs or strollers face different issues in terms of mounting their AAC systems but sometimes it is even more of a challenge if the user is running around and active.

Parents or schools should implement a means to carry/wear AAC systems at the same moment they acquire the "talker" itself.  However, it is never too late if you are already using a mobile talker.  Some children do just fine with a shoulder style carry bag that is open to the screen and allows the talker to be flipped up and used without removing.  Others will try to remove or throw such a system and need a harness style carrying system that is more tamper proof.  The goal is to find the least invasive system that allows full access without risk of losing or throwing the talker.  Custom designs can increase appeal and "buy in" where as off-the-shelf, commercial solutions may look more "typical" and be less expensive.  The draw back to commercial solutions is that they may not be fitted for children or teens and may not be as durable.  It might be important for certain features to be available for example the ability to attach a bluetooth speaker, to block access to various ports or to charge without removing the carrying case.  Another consideration is any orthopedic issues or potential for future orthopedic issues from carrying 1-2 pounds over the shoulder or in a harness. If this is a possible issue consult your OT or PT. A waist belt with flip up attachments can be created in a DIY manner if over the shoulder(s) is not a good solution.
Please see this list to assist with feature matching.
Jabber Jas

If you are starting off you child in wearing his or her words and you need to help them understand how important it is some ideas include: you wearing his or her words as well, social stories about wearing your talker and using pictures of other children wearing their words such as in this Pictello book in PDF form (or get through sharing server with this  code which is good for 100 days 9658-4211).  You can also check the #seemeseemyaac find photos. 

Custom Made

Shoulder Strap Style

Harness Style
Commercially Made

Shoulder Strap Style
Harness Style
 *has one handed use option

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Real Cost of Premium AAC Apps

This blog post from October 2014 has been updated.

Some prices have changed, some apps added and some removed.  The premise of this post is that in making all things equal in terms of assuming customers need a robust vocabulary, a premium TTS voice and a means to back up and share files we can compare the real cost of premium AAC apps over time. 

The most expensive app both for one and five years remains TouchChat/TouchChat HD.  Some app companies have realized that schools and health insurance reimbursement requires apps without add-on purchases and have started offering all inclusive versions of their apps.  Perhaps the most interesting development in the field is some apps offering premium TTS voices included in the cost of the app (Proloquo2Go and Clicker Communicate, for example) or for a minimal price and others have higher price points for the same voice (TouchChat and Go Talk Now offer a premium voice for $11.99, while Speak for Yourself offers the exact same premium voice for $24.99).

Of course price point isn't the only  reason to choose an app, which is why this chart seeks only to compare oranges to oranges price-wise and not to examine any of the other reasons why you would choose one app over another for your student, client or child.
Direct Link
PDF Version 

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