Apps included in November 18 Post:
The Power of UDL: There’s an App for That!
The first in a series on Apps as tools universal design for learning and living.
Apps that focus on communication skills.
Answers “yes” or “no” in a male or female voice. Could be used with people learning to use the iPod/iPad/iPhone as a communication device, to teach yes/no preferences and cause-and-effect.
Grace – Picture Exchange for Non-Verbal people
This APP is designed to be an electronic picture exchange system. The user selects what they want to say from the screen (there are some ways to structure conversations). The user shows it to another person who reads the message with them. It allows 8 symbols/icons per message.
Grace Communicate is designed by a mother of a girl with autism. check out Mom’s with Apps for more information.
iMean is designed for the iPad. It turns the iPad into a letter board with large, easy-to-read keys and word suggestions.
iCommunicate is one of those App finds outside of the special education category. It is filed under “Medical.” It’s App Store page shows it with photographs only, but drawings or icons could be used if saved in the appropriate file format. iCommunicate is designed for creating pictures, flashcards, storyboards, routines, and visual schedules. “Storyboards’ can be used as social stories or pre-teaching stories. iCommunicate uses audio recorded by you.
At first I thought this was overpriced. Especially if it was merely going to provide prompts. The program is endorsed by Autism Speaks and does far more than provide picture-based prompting. Uses include: Picture Schedules, Visual Countdown timer, Choice Prompts, and an image library. If you have a fourth generation iPod or IPhone, you can take photos for the program using the camera in the device. It is designed to communicate TO someone or WITH someone, not for spontaneous communication FROM someone. Audio is recorded.
Look 2 Learn
Look2Learn is designed for early communicators providing a method for basic choice making and learning to pair an image with a word. The photos and button sizes can be adjusted for best results for the person using the program. The App allows for a statement and a choice such as , “I want…” or “I like…” The number and types of messages a person can use to communicate with this program is limited. It is essential to have a plan for the next step when using this program for teaching early communication methods. The website offers instructions and lesson plans for using the App. This program is being used in Orange County, CA Schools as part of a teaching strategy for students with autism called Touch 2 Learn. (They have also developed a Stories2Learn App for social stories).
My Talk Tools
Moble App: $39.99
Desktop WorkSpace: $9.95 for subscription
Mobile Lite: Free
My Talk Tools is able to use photos and images to create menus and layered levels of communication menus. It uses recorded voice and photos or drawings that are uploaded either to the device or to the My Talk Tools Workspace. The App provides 1-8 squares for communication selection. In addition, space can be built between the photo options for new users. My Talk Tools provides a one message at a time button system rather than a system to build a sentence. Users can string messages together. Users can also select one button to share a complex message that is recorded. My personal favorite feature is an online workspace to create the communication boards and upload pictures. The iPod or iPad then syncs with the workspace so you can record the voice output for each button. The workspace is optional and is offered as a subscription-based service rainging from $9/mo to $175 for 3 years.
This program is one that appears to have the broadest support in schools. Keep in mind that does not mean it is the best choice or the easiest to use. The program works similarly to a Dynavox. The communicator builds sentences using symbols and then plays the sentence back. The system uses digitized speech for voice output, which can be difficult for some users to understand.