Communication is the act of giving, receiving, and sharing information. We emphasized the word ACT because there is a misconception that communication is just about speaking or writing or typing text. Every communication involves at least 1 sender, a message and a receiver. This may sound simple, but communication is actually a very complex. The transfer of message from the sender to the receiver can be affected by a huge range of things but we will give emphasis on the factors that affects children with Autism.
Children with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) often has difficulties with their speech and language skills which affects their communication. For these children, there is another option which will aide them to communicate – this is called AAC. This acronym stands for Alternative and Augmentative Communication. This describes any means of communication aside from the usual use of words in speaking, that allows someone to use language. As mentioned, communication is an “act” which includes exchange of pictures, sign language, visual aids, or speech-output devices like tablets, computers or iPads. For years now, research has shown that AAC can be used to help those with developmental and acquired disabilities to communicate successfully.
In Bridging the Gap, we utilize all the listed ways of communication. We believe that the earlier we start language intervention, the faster the child learns how to communicate effectively and eliminate unwanted behaviors. If you wanna know more about the usage of PECS, you make click this link: https://bridgingthegap.com.sg/easy-guide-on-using-pecs-at-home-and-in-the-classroom/.
For this article, we will share how we use SPEECH-OUTPUT devices through various applications. Currently, we are using the paid applications: Touch chat & Proloquo2Go. Note that the use of these applications was suggested by our Speech & Language therapist. The use of these applications for children with autism does not prevent a child from speaking. In fact, these studies reported that AAC may increase speech instead. On top of that, AAC allows a non-verbal child the ability to communicate a message to the listener even if he is not able to speak it.
Below are the reasons why we chose these 2 applications in our center:
- More personalized as it has many customizable features including its layout, sizing and icons
- It comes with a set of standard vocabulary words that can easily be edited, including the size of the buttons and spacing between buttons
- Able to take a photo right from the application, choose from your personal photo library or a symbol
- More personalized in a way that voice output can be recorded by familiar caregiver and offers natural voices in dozens of languages and accents.
- Fast and easier set-up period (minimum of 3 hours)
2. TOUCH CHAT
- Easy navigation for both the child and the members of family / care team
- Comes with “ready to go” basic vocabulary choices for emerging to more advanced communicators
- This is a great app for early communicators
- Slightly cheaper than Prologuo2go
- This has multiple device option and also compatible with tablets
There is no one-size-fits-all app and there are a lot of features that can make an app work well. Choose the one that will not only cater to your child but also to the care team.