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Aided Language Stimulation
Assessing Communication (AAC Evaluations)
Autism & Communication
Behavior & Communication
Communication & Inclusion
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Employment & Communication
(for consumers & families) /
Health and Sexuality
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Ideas for Using AAC
Office of Developmental Programs
• Services and
Tablets and Portable Technology
Transition to Adulthood
Vendors and AAC Product Resources
Young Children & Communication
(Mobile Technology: smart phone, iPad, Kindle Fire, etc.)
Are portable, generic, easily‐available devices, including:
(Apple iPod Touch, Nintendo 3DS)
(Droid, iPhone, Samsung Galaxy S)
(Kindle Fire, iPad, Galaxy Tab)
May run "apps" (applications or programs) that can be used by people with disabilities and/or professionals
Are becoming increasingly popular for use as assistive technology
What's the Difference?
Each product varies by:
Picture of tablets side-by-side.
iPad by Apple
Galaxy Tablet by Samsung
Mobile Operating System
HINT: Similar to difference between Windows vs Mac computers
Apple, Google, Microsoft, Blackberry, Palm, etc.
Apple vs Android visual
Where you buy the device
iPod Touch, iPad, iPad2, etc.
platform from Google
Where you buy the apps
internet &/or computer program
formerly "Android Market"
Special Education section of App Store
Search Play Store
Use keywords like "Special Education" "Autism" or similar
VoiceOver, Zoom, Captions, Assistive Touch, etc
Varies by product
Most have text-to-speech, vision, & hearing support
Google provides info to app developers
How Can I Use It?
It is important to know how and why these devices
help people with disabilities - and what they
Uses of Mobile Technologies - Columns. Click to view PDF file.
Venn diagram describing the overlap in use of mobile technologies for work, play, assistive technology and learning . Click to view PDF file.
Most “Public” options
(Medicaid, Private insurance, etc.)
require that an assistive technology device be “durable medical equipment.” This currently excludes MOST mobile technology options.
individuals have had success getting coverage for an iPad with communication app when it is "bundled". Examples would be AACI's Choice Communicator, Ablenet's
SGD, or Saltillo's TouchChat Express.
Some people have had success getting payment/reimbursement for apps. The cost of the specialized app may be considered “dedicated software.” The CPT Code E2511 is for "Speech Generating Software Program, For Personal Computer or Personal Digital Assistant." Specialized apps may be funded this way.
Many people (especially families of children) have better luck with private funding, scholarships, etc.
iTaalk company is a non-profit set up specifically to help with training and funding of iPads as assistive technology. They have a page of scholarship/grant information
In PA, consumers can apply for a mini-loan from the Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation (PATF) at
. It may fund a low (or
) interest loan to purchase assistive technology for a person with a disability.
Apps for Telecommunication
Modern telecommunication is no longer just about landlines. Most of us rely on smart phones to make calls, text, answer and send emails, and to check in on social media. The use of apps for telecommunication can benefit people with disabilities, making it easier to communicate across settings, participate in work, and self advocate. The following is a list of apps that may benefit people with disabilities. Many of tof these apps are free and many may be used over Wifi networks. Some may only work on Apple products and others are cross platform. While apps are listed by disability type, there is a great deal of crossover. As well, the native accessiblity features on any tablet or cell phone should be considered. Word prediciton is built into many keyboards and may also help the individual user to send texts or emails. This list will grow over time, and we welcome feedback as to apps that should be included on the list. Let us know what works for you!
Picture symbols of communication modalities for people with disabilities.
Magnifying Glass with Light
Sprint IP Relay
Hard of Hearing
Spring IP Relay
Mobile devices can support people with disabilities in many ways. Software programs or "applications" are available to help with multiple areas of need, including Behavior (visual schedules, reminder systems), Cause & Effect (early learning for communication), Communication (use pictures, words, or recorded speech to express self), and much, much more!
describes how mobile technologies can promote community inclusion and independence for people with disabilities. It gives information for the professionals and/or family members to help set up an iPod Touch or iPad to be used by self-advocates. Examples of apps are provided for various types of assistive technology (AT), including: communication, social skills, language development, fine motor skills, organization, behavior, functional living, hearing, vision, and
iTech Apps & ASD - ASP - 3-13
Going green? Click
a printable PDF file of these slides in handout format (6 slides per page to save paper).
MAX Conference 2015: Increasing Communication and Language using Mobile Technology handout
Augmentative Communication Apps: Making the Best Choice for the Best AAC Voice
Webinar from AAIDD & ISAAC -
Watch online (slides + recording of speakers) at
The process of identifying the optimum AAC App (s) for an individual with complex communication needs begins by determining whether the individual would be best served by this tool as opposed to other strategies. If so, the next steps is to understand the basic features that match the individual’s skills and needs. This webinar provides information to assist in navigating these new options and new times in order to provide, where appropriate, the most functional AAC solution using mobile technology (e.g., iPod Touch, iPad).
Participants will leave with:
A clearer understanding of the variety of AAC Apps available
Features to be considered when making these decisions with real-life examples
Ideas based on case examples
Additional online resources for further learning
Handouts for additional information include: Apps Summary handout (
file) and Online Resources handout (
List of iTech (Apple product) Apps
Here's a list of "apps" that PIAT (Pennsylvania's Initiative on Assistive Technology) has posted. It includes the name, device (iPod Touch and/or iPad), price of app, and the potential category of assistive technology (e.g., useful for Communication, Vision, Hearing, etc needs).
You can also access the spreadsheet
Remember: there are new apps everyday, so this is not an exhaustive list. Please let us know (on the Discussion Board) if we've left off one of your favorites!
for a handout view of these resources (PDF file).
Check out this wonderful collection of iTech resources:
Thanks to Lauren S. Enders, a speech-language pathologist here in Bucks County, PA!
How to Get Started - iTechnology as Learning Tools
Training, Tips and Tutorials
“Do”s and “Don’t”s
In-depth instructions for iPad
Apps for Education article by ConnSense Bulletin
covers drops AND spills
iPad basics course at GCF Learn Free
volume purchasing program
for districts, tutorials, reviews, & manuals
Blog by SLP
an iPad for kids with disabilities, review of accessories, and how to get involved with others
, including ideas from teachers.
iPod and iPad User Group Wiki
, wiki by a teacher. There are links to other websites with even more information
Apps for school
Quixey, the Search Engine for Apps,
Let's you search ALL app stores by Keyword.Can sort responses by Operating System (i.e., Android, Blackberry, iPad, iPhone, Windows Phone).
When you do a Google search, you might feel like it is hard to see the forest for the trees. However, once you input your initial search, you will see additional search tools under the search window. If you click on "More", you can refine your search to look for apps only.
iTunes “Special Education” section
Reviews by keyword or category of function
Reviews by developmental stages of learning
Reviews by grade levels and subjects from educators
Review of apps based on skill (not age or developmental level) from online volunteer community
Reviews of apps for students with multiple/severe disabilities
“There’s a Special App for That” - Series of articles for different types of AT
Visual (Behavior) Supports
Vision & Magnification
Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Apps
NOTE: Remember that communication supports (including software, apps, and devices) should be matched based on the consumer's needs. It is important to review the person's communicative strengths and needs and receive input from a team before selecting an app
An easy way to remember how to choose an app is to Take "A GULP." Read more at
It's also a great idea to trial apps prior to purchase. Many app developers offer free trial or "lite" versions of their apps. Although they won't have
the features of the full version, they should provide enough information to decide if it's worth buying.
versions of AAC apps
Information and resources
for AAC apps, funding, and the differences between iPads and "traditional" AAC.
Newsletter on "iPad's Claim to AAC" from AT Program News.
ATPN "iPad's Claim to AAC"
of AAC Experts discussing the use of mobile communication technologies by people with complex communication needs. They cover assessment, learning about new apps, additional resources, and MORE.
feature matching chart
helps evaluate key components of AAC apps to find the best for the consumer. Available for download, along with information and case studies. From Children's Hospital Boston.
Feature matching / rating chart
for AAC apps
AAC Apps Assistant
(from AAC TechConnect) is a fee-for-service tool that compares and contrasts available AAC apps to help narrow down options and find the ones with the desired features
Insurance Coverage and iPads for Communication
Over the past few years, companies, such as ACCI and FRS, have created iPad-based, "bundled", communication devices. These devices include a sturdy case and additional amplification. Bundling these features together means that it is now possible to request insurance coverage. These are considered dedicated communication devices. In insurance speak, this means that you can't surf the web or play Angry Birds. The iPads are 'dedicated' to communication, and will thus be considered "durable medical equipment." The following devices are currently on the market.
The TouchChat Express from Saltillo
The Choice Communicator from ACCI
The Prio from PRC
The Quicktalker from Ablenet
The Proslate 10 from FRS
Most companies provide funding assistance. Once your client is evaluated and the technology has been deemed appropriate, they will help you submit your claim to insurance, including Medicaid, Medicare, and private coverage. The report must be written by a speech-language pathologist.
Sorted by area of instruction (e.g., behavior, sensory, etc.)
Listing (with reviews)
Spreadsheet, compiled by parent, specialist, and SLP
Reviews of apps from Special Ed teacher, Jeremy Brown.
segment on "Apps for Autism", including Proloquo2Go
Accessories for Accessibility
Mounts, Cases, Keyguards
Suggestions about using Apple's standard iPod/iPad models (memory sizes), cases, and chargers
, including speaker cases, switches, and styluses
(also called Loc-Line) to
your iTech device (or almost any other lightweight item) with a flexible tubing material
for iPad apps, including templates for Proloquo2Go, AssistiveChat, and more
Switch Access (Scanning)
Overview of built-in iOS 7 switch control
Explanation of using switches with iTechnology (includes switch interfaces and accessible apps)
Download the "Switch Accessible Apps" resource guide
(PDF file), with lists of apps and switch interfaces available for iTech.
Don't forget about Android! Tablets and other mobile devices can also run the Android operating system from Google. That means these touchscreen mobile technologies can
help people with disabilities. But you need to find applications from Google Play Store (NOT iTunes) for these products. For more information about Android vs Apple, see the above Presentation.
Check out this blog post that features Android Apps specializing in access for the visually impaired and blind. It provides an introduction to specialty apps for Android and various Apps to try.
Searchable app engine with reviews, including Android apps.
Market to search for and purchase Android apps. Searching for "augmentative and alternative" shows many AAC apps. Also try to search for "Autism" to find learning apps.
Sony's Education Ambassador is
teachers - reviews apps and uses of Android tablets.
SLPs reviews Android apps for speech-language therapy.
Apps for Cause and Effect
Tablet computers, such as the iPad, can be used for teaching cause and effect relationships for early learners. The below list is divided into general apps for cause and effect, those that may benefit individuals with vision impairment, and those that work with alternative access modalities.
The below list is not comprehensive and prices may change over time.
General Cause and Effect
1. I Love Fireworks (on list)
2. Sensory Light Box $3.99
3. Make It Pop (Tryangle Labs) $1.99
4. Peekaboo Barn (on list)
5. Random Touch $0.99
6. Talking Larry Free
7. Butterflies (iBlower)
8. Fun Bubbles
9. Finger Paint with Sounds (on list)
10. Heat Pad HD $0.99
11. Touch Trainer (Touch Autism) $4.99
12. Touch Switch (Goatella) $4.99
Cause and Effect Apps for Switch Use
1. Sensory Room (Inclusive Technologies) Free
2. Splat The Clown (Inclusive Technologies) $2.99
3. Sight and Sounds Flowers (Marblesoft) $4.99
4. Sight and Sounds Fireworks (Marblesoft) $4.99
5. Switch Kids (Marblesoft) $9.99
Cause and Effect for Low vision
1. Buzz Back Free
2. Tap n See Now $2.99
3. Bloom (Opal Limited) $3.99
4. Bebot (Normalware) $1.99
5. My Talking Picture Board (for CVI) $19.99
6. Sensory Sound Box (Cognable) $0.99
7. Big Bang Pictures (Inclusive Technology) $19.99
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