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PECS/AAC Apps. Any recommendations?

(30 Posts)
ouryve Fri 28-Feb-14 15:44:20

Either Android or iOS.

moondog Fri 28-Feb-14 17:30:52

Proloquo2go but recommend you follow the pecs protocol for use. I like the company therapy box very much. They provide an excellent service.

ouryve Fri 28-Feb-14 21:16:16

I will have to look at that. He's becoming quite adept at using PECS at school and is beginning to put sentences together, using the "I want" card. Cards tend to be sabotaged at home, by big brother, so we need a portable alternative.

moondog Fri 28-Feb-14 21:27:38

That's good news that you are using pecs already. I have (despite initial reservations) been delighted to see how several kids and young people have got on with proloquo2go.

youarewinning Fri 28-Feb-14 22:08:33

Iirc Makaton do an app? It allows you to create folders to lace groups,of symbols in and starts off with the simple symbols, builds up through the selection and keeps developing as the child develops their skills. Iirc you can get to the point you can type what you want to ask.

If it's not Makaton that does it I can find out on Tuesday who it is - our AAC teacher is not in until then.

youarewinning Fri 28-Feb-14 22:15:13

I think it's called my homie or something similar. I know there is a free app (the very basics) that you could download and try.

Also heard prologue is brilliant.

DS uses an iPad app called text to speak. It reads to him what he's written. (His is a literacy aid) I wonder whether your ds would enjoy something like this for the individual letters as he's loving alphablocks at the moment?

youarewinning Fri 28-Feb-14 22:15:49

Not homie!! That's autocorrect for you! It's called mychoice

ouryve Fri 28-Feb-14 22:36:51

I have the lite version of the Makaton app - choice pad, but I don't think it's that instinctive to use so don't feel good about forking out for the full or pro version. My Makaton trainer said it's good form to use the Makaton symbols, as they're consistent, but DS2 struggles to recognise a lot of them. He does better with coloured symbols and with the flexibility to add in photos of specific items eg flapjack or fruitus bar.

youarewinning Fri 28-Feb-14 22:47:12

Tap to talk and grid player use colours they also have free lite versions so you can check them out before committing something that doesn't work for your ds2.

youarewinning Fri 28-Feb-14 22:47:33

Committing to something!

ouryve Fri 28-Feb-14 22:49:01

Aha! A couple of names I've been trying to recall!

ouryve Fri 28-Feb-14 22:52:11

Considering getting him an iPod Touch, as it's a little more portable than a tablet. There does appeaar to be shockingly little for Android, or else I'd be trying out the apps for his Nook, which he has access to, most of the time. I think it would be useful to have something with no games on, though.

moondog Sat 01-Mar-14 08:18:25

I loathe Makaton symbols. So ugly and dated.

autumnsmum Sat 01-Mar-14 09:59:25

I haven't used it but I went to a talk on apps at dd2s sp sch and they mentioned grid player

hazeyjane Sat 01-Mar-14 19:48:04

Ds has taken to the free Grid Player app (a taster app for The Grid 2), and seems to find it very easy to navigate.

We are waiting to see an AAC SALT about the different apps out there and which one would suit ds best. I would like something which we can download photos onto.

I draw a lot of the Makaton symbols for ds, and the dd's to learn, I too hate the symbols in the books.

The therapy box packages do look great, Moondog, we are hoping to get some funding for one of the mini ipad ones for ds.

ouryve Sat 01-Mar-14 20:06:19

I'll have to have a play with Grid Player. Easy to navigate is a high priority, at the moment.

SingySongy Sun 02-Mar-14 08:08:27

The only problem with Gridplayer Ouryve, is that unless you have The Grid (which costs money!) on your main computer, you can't edit the program, and personalise it. It's a good programme, but even the best programs still need personalising. Before you commit to it, I would decide whether you would be able long term to purchase The Grid as well. The other slightly annoying thing is that because you can only edit within the Grid, you can't quickly add things, for instance, when you're out and about.

Also, on the iPad, you are limited to certain symbol sets - Widget (good!), Makaton (not so good!), and symbolpics I think. You can't use PCS, which is very widely used in schools, due to licensing issues.

That might not matter at all. I'm sorry I can't remember how old your son is, but if he is in school (or about to be), where a particular symbol set is used, then I would go with that. Children learn symbols (when they're working well for them) as a language - so switching from PCS to widget (for example), would be like switching from Italian to Spanish.

I'm personally not a fan of the iPad as a platform for communication programmes. There are millions to choose from, but I've yet to see one that I really like and would recommend. I would at present always suggest an android system, as - for instance - you can run The Grid directly onto that. And then you have masses more (quality) choice of programmes.

Always good to get some specialist advice though if you can - to make an AAC system work it needs to be completely personalise and tailored to your son and your situation, so getting it right is key. Do you have a specialist SLT service you can ask for referral too? If he's getting on well with PECS it sounds like you're right to seize the moment and try to move him on! smile

hazeyjane Sun 02-Mar-14 09:29:21

That is good to know, singsongy - TheGrid costs about £360 for the full programme - I didn't realise that about not being able to upload images etc out and about. - is it not possible on the iPad?

youarewinning Sun 02-Mar-14 09:42:47

We use widget symbols at school. We use a PC programme called communicate in print. It opens up so many doors for pupils with language difficulties.

Does your Ds2 school use symbols worms the school? If not you may be able to get them to purchase a symbol programme - inclusion? (Obviously much easier typed here than actually done I appreciate)

youarewinning Sun 02-Mar-14 09:43:18

Worms? Around!!!!

ouryve Sun 02-Mar-14 10:06:41

That's good to know, SingySongy. He's 7 and currently in mainstream and is using the symbols around school. His SALT can create and print off whatever symbols he needs there. It's not working at home, though. Symbols are routinely hidden or destroyed by a big brother who also has ASD but is entirely unsympathetic towards DS2's needs.

DS2 is very able with technology, considering his other limitations, so I want to explore in the first place a relatively inexpensive solution. If we can make that work, in whatever limited way it's possible, then I have no problem with making a bigger investment in the long term. His current NHS SALT is not remotely tech savvy, so unless she can refer us onto someone with some expertise in AAC, I suspect I would have to see advice privately.

It's good to know that The grid can be purchased for Android. If nothing else, I can get DH on board with that - plus Android tablets are so much cheaper than apple!

ouryve Sun 02-Mar-14 10:11:54

I forgot to say, he can sight read words that matter to him, with font not seeming to matter too much, which gives him some potential flexibility with the exact symbols used, so long as they're not indecipherable outlines like some of the makaton pics.

youarewinning Sun 02-Mar-14 10:23:48

That's brilliant the school are using symbols around school.

"DS can sight read words that matter to him" grin it's no co incidence 9 times of 10 I start doing PECS with pupils using food!

I do wonder if you start with a simple but possibly limited programme at home and can evidence it's success you'll have more success gaining funding.

ouryve Sun 02-Mar-14 10:38:03

That is one of my hopes, youare

His PECS breakthrough was bread sticks!

theDudesmummy Sun 02-Mar-14 12:10:46

We are using typing (and text to speech) rather than pictures or symbols, and at present are using an app called AAC Speech Assistant on the Android and Speak It! on the Apple devices.

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