New in Assistive Technology

The Apple iPad…it’s as though the word is just lingering in the air today. Why is that you ask? The new iPad 2 comes out today! This means that there is a new iPad available, but you can also find the first iPad at a much more affordable price! The new iPad promotional video even features a lengthy portion to the unexpected use of the iPad by kids with special needs.

As full supporters of living a life without limits we continually look for ways that your children can communicate, learn and play effectively. Recently we have come across a couple applications that are innovative and that really work, and conveniently available on the iPad. Many special educators, speech pathologists and occupational therapists use these applications now and have seen positive results. These apps make communication fun and are great for kids with autism, down syndrome, cerebral palsy and other special needs.

We are really excited to tell you about these apps! First we would like to introduce you to the Proloquo2Go. This is a product from Assistive Ware that provides a full-featured communication solution for people who have difficulty  speaking. It has a text to speech feature that will allow your child to type or select an action when they have a hard time communicating their needs or wants. This is also a learning tool for young toddlers so that they can learn their shapes, colors and expand on their vocabulary! UCP-OC has recently, through a Bellows Grant, provided 3 year-old Gabe with an iPad and Proloquo2Go application and his mother says, “He has blossomed with his speech production, and is now imitating words constantly and recognizes shapes, colors and the alphabet…Not only has the iPad improved his speech production, it has been a tool to help him learn and share with the rest of the world all he knows, even with limited speech abilities.”

You can find more information at http://www.proloquo2go.com/About/article/what-is-proloquo2go this app is available on the iPad, iPhone and iTouch and is $189.

The second application we want to tell you about is called Tap to Talk and is similarly offered on Apple products as well as the Android, Nintendo DS and PCs. It is a yearly subscription for $99.95 and they offer a 30 day no questions asked trial. The program originates on your computer and the apps for your mobile devices come free. On this app your child has 2,500 pictures to choose from so he/she can organize and make their own albums. The text to speech option allows your child to speak to you, or allows you to record your own voice to different pictures to stimulate memory for your child.

For more information go to http://www.taptotalk.com/

Of course before making a purchase look at reviews online and try it out! These applications give children the opportunity to learn and share with the rest of the world despite their limited communication abilities. Allowing them to be independent…truly living life without limits!

written by: Elizabeth Wylie