Technology — no-tech, low tech, light tech, high tech

General Information and Concepts

Joanne Cafiero — "Unlocking Language Through Technology"   "Assume communication potential! ... Opportunities to communicate should be continuous. ... Individuals with autism who can speak may not have access to their full internal vocabulary at all times, especially if stressed and upset. Therefore AAC should be available to support these difficult times. ... The communication partner is the single most important factor in a successful AAC intervention."

AAC Devices, USSAAC website. General information on low-tech, high-tech, and symbols.

5 Things to Remember About AAC Technology by Carole Zangari, PrAACtical AAC blog. #2. "You always need a back-up. Another device, an app, a communication board, a PODD book, a print-out of the main SGD screens. Something."

What Is AAC? What are AAC systems? What type of AAC systems are there? Penn State University Mentors Project website.

Multi-Modal Communication, The Bridge School. What it is, What it’s not, How it works.

Features of AAC Systems. University of Washington AugComm website. Basic information on various features to consider when selecting a device: output, input, selection set, message composition, and physical features. (Note: Article covers basic concepts; before introduction of tablet device.)

Low tech [and non-tech] strategies can be equally effective. Examples with video clips (with transcripts) of partner-assisted scanning, eye gaze, alphabet board. (Older site with basic concepts; before introduction of touch tablet technology; video clips helpful.)

Multiple modalities are essential. Examples of modes of communication for various purposes with video clips (and transcripts). Older site before introduction of touch tablet technology.

Speech Bubble website by Ace Centre (UK). Detailed information on communication aids: choose a communication aid or search by feature or compare communication aids; find software, find a vocabulary; searchable site.

Strategies evolve over time, and there are many access strategies to consider for any individual. Examples of the various strategies one person (Morse Code, partner assisted scanning, eye gaze) has used through the years (video clips and transcripts).

No Tech / Low Tech / Light Tech

(yes/no cards, choice cards and boards, communication boards, books, flipbooks, alphabet boards, rating scales, basic devices with prerecorded voices, etc.)

Yes/No Series (6 parts) by Kate Ahern. The series "explores the complexity of yes/no and provides information on the various communicative functions that are served."

Communication Boards, PrAACtical AAC blog

Communication Books, PrAACtical AAC blog

Communication Charts

Communication Passports

Flipbooks, PrAACtical AAC blog

Talking Mats

E-Tran Eye Gaze Frame – Eye Transfer Communication

Eye Gaze Board – Video of the Week - Using an Eye Gaze Board with Crystal and Kelly from the Thames Valley Children’s Centre. PrAACtical AAC blog

Laser Pointers for Low Tech Augmentative Communication by Margaret Cotts, MP, ATP. Video demonstrating use of laser pointer with a communication board, including suggestions for communication partners.

Low Tech AAC for Adults with Aphasia: What Does That Mean? Carole Zangari, PrAACtical AAC blog. Describes the flexibility and appeal of communication books and how they may be helpful, if personalized to the individual.

Low Tech AAC – AAC Devices. Single message switches, static display devices.

Lots of Alternative Pencils for Everyone by Jane Farrall. Includes alternatives for spelling: alphabet flip charts, eye gaze boards, adapted keyboards with keyguards.

Light Tech Communication, Part 1, Partner-Assisted Scanning by Linda Burkhart. Downloadable handout: Eye pointing, touch choices, sequenced social scripts with switch device, reject/accept movements, dry-erase boards, scanning.

Light Tech Communication, Part 2, The Power of PODD, Autonomous Communication for Beginning Communicators by Linda Burkhart. Downloadable handout: PODD = Pragmatic Organization Dynamic Display; partner-assisted, partner-powered page turning; light tech or high tech versions available.

Rating Scales - 5 Ways to Use Rating Scales to Enhance Communication with AAC by Carole Zangari, PrAACtical AAC. Several examples of rating scales and suggestions on how to use them.

High Tech Devices

Touch Tablet Communication

AAC Apps Lists for iPad (iphone/ipod) by Jane Farrall. Frequently updated, alphabetical lists in chart format include Symbol/Picture Apps, Symbol & Text Based Apps, Text Based Apps. Information on each app includes its symbol system, pre-programmed pages and customization, voice output and speech, access options, and rating (out of 3). Note: Vastly more augmentative communication apps have been designed for ipad/iphone devices, but some apps are available for both iOs and Android formats.

AAC Apps List for Android devices – Search augmentative communication apps on Google Play.

Dynamic Display Devices (some examples)

Communication Devices – Dynamic Display. Key Technologies website (Grid, Boardmaker)

Communication Devices – Dynamic Display. Assistive Technology Works website (PRC, Saltillo products)

Eye Gaze Devices (some examples)

Eye Control computers, Touch-based computers - Tobii/Dynavox

Eye Gaze Edge - communication technology.

Brain-Computer Interface – developing technology under research

Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) By Betts Peters, M.A., CCC-SLP and Melanie Fried-Oken, Ph.D., CCC-SLP. Questions and answers about BCI: what is it, what is it for, what does it look like, how does it work, how to get involved, future, BCI research labs in the US.

From brain waves to communication: Speak :prose - Think to Speak with the first sensory communication platform. "...because we want to democratize voice for millions of people." (accurate captioning; run time: 2:17)