Lots of cheaper alternatives to try (letterboards, iPad apps, neo??? Is that what they're called).
DS1 can't type (we're working in it) but does brilliantly with a vantage lite using LAMP (with unity). It has been life changing for him - he didn't get on with other AAC devices so worth paying the money if the device is right for your child (thinking about the cost of the light writer). Can you trial one - we trialled the vantage for 3 weeks.
He is just learning to type single words atm; letterboard, laptop, netbook all being used so far, and it's coming on well (he's only 4 but already it's obvious he can type far better than he can vocalise or sign).
I was not thinking of paying for a Lightwriter (not now anyway!) but we are probably going to be given one to try (from specialist NHS team), so just wondering what experiences other people have had.
PS I had not heard of the Vantage, will look into that. Thanks for the info. What is the difference between that and the Lightwriter? (I knew about none of these until yesterday when it was discussed at an assessment by the specialist team, which is why I have put up the question!)
Oh definitely give it a go then - I think it's hard to guess how it will go from other people's experiences as our kids are sll so individual & have different preferences. A vantage produces words using a combination of button pushes - but if typing is going well that's probably the way to go. A vantage has thousands of words in it, but typing is even more flexible with unlimited words
The A/AC company getting my top vote at present (I deal with many) is Therapy Box. The key issue is whether your child needs a symbol based system, text based system or a mixture of both. Check out Proloquo2go, Chatable and Predictable (as well as Scene & Heard0.
Their reps hoof it up and down the country week in, week out, giving free demos and will also come into schools to do the same. There is no hard sell or pressure. Tonnes of useful videos demoing their products on their site too.
I would also say that not all symbol based systems are the same. Ds1 refused to use categorical systems (which a whole load -most? - of them are). That ruled out things like proloquo2go -we tried oh we tried. LAMP was definitely the way to go with him - didn't have to be the vantage or via liberator but he needed something that would work with LAMP.
However if your child can use text/typing unsupported then I would choose that just because it offers unlimited vocab.
This is a useful sort of summary on the different symbol based apps -and she's highlighting the difference between those which take into account motor planning & those which don't - this turned out to be the key to something working or not in our case. I agree with what she's written & similar to my experiences http://www.wantapeanut.com/2013/04/choosing-aac-device-part-2.html?m=1. There's no LAMP for life in the UK but there's unity core (or something like that) which is similar.
A keyboard takes into account motor planning anyway (letters are always in the same place).
Will keep an eye on thread. Too early for ds now, but he has latched on so brilliantly even to the really basic, free grid player (he asked for juice!) that we will be seeing AAC Salt soon to discuss options. I don't know anything about the writing/typing AAC devices.
It does pretty much the same thing (and more!), and also has a really wizzy detachable display thing...
And make sure you think about a way for it to be truly portable - ie, will your son carry it in a bag, be able to keep it with him all the time? An AAC system is only useful if you have it with you at pertinent moments! Particularly in the early stages.
Very exciting! - and great that you're going to be set up with a trial!
Thanks! All looks very interesting. DS is probably, from what we can tell so far, going to be able to use typing without the need for symbols (although it is early days, but his ABA consultant is very keen to try the typing route right now).