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AAC Apps: Finding the Right One for Your Client

AAC Apps: Finding the Right One for Your Client
Carole Zangari, PhD, CCC-SLP
February 26, 2013

 This text-based course is a transcript of the live event, "AAC Apps: Finding the Right One for Your Client," presented by Carole Zangari, Ph.D.

>> Carole Zangari:  I have to admit that I was not among the earliest enthusiasts for AAC apps, but I was very motivated to learn more about them.  I was motivated particularly to do this presentation because as I conversed with my colleagues around the country, I noticed that this was a topic of conversation everywhere and SLPs were struggling with how to do this.  Everywhere I turned it seemed that people were recommending the same 2 or 3 AAC apps over and over again because those were the only ones they had access to or they were the only ones they knew about.  On the other hand, there were some people who were just avoiding the topic altogether.  I certainly could understand both of those ends of the continuum.  We really need guidance in this state of affairs.  Mostly I think we need to see the AAC app landscape and the assessment process within the context of knowledge and skills that we already have, because in the end like other things that were doing at AAC, these are just tools. 

We are going to try, in the hour that we have together, to go over a basic set of features that you can consider when you are selecting AAC apps for the clients with whom you are working.  I want to make sure that you leave here with an ability to find additional resources so that you can identify apps as you go through this process with your clinical population and make sure that you have a process for app selection based on the features of the different apps that we will be discussing.  I want to leave you with some ideas for how to stay informed because this is a landscape that is changing pretty quickly.

Disclosures - I do not have any financial items to disclose, but I do want to say in a nonfinancial category that I do run an informational website with a colleague of mine at the University, and this is separate from our University work.  There is no income or anything associated with that, but occasionally as part of that site, I am given AAC related apps.  However, I try very hard not to let that influence my perception of those apps, and the views and the opinions of those apps and others are my own. 

Many Choices of Apps

Let’s start to think about the AAC apps that are out there.  Clearly so much has changed over the past two years that you practically have to be living under a rock not to be aware that with the advent of all the mobile technologies and AAC apps, the landscape has really changed in terms of the AAC tools we have at our disposal.  There are just so many options that are now available.  The growth has really been explosive particularly in the last nine months or so.  Much of the growth that we have seen has begun in the Android market, but the iOS, or the Apple® platform, was certainly the first one to come out with the different apps.  There are still, at this point, more options for the Apple products and for the most part they have more high-quality apps then what we find on the Android market.  Not to say there are not good apps on the Android market as well.  However, in general, more of the high-quality apps you will find with the Apple products.  There are certainly more and more available practically every week.

When should we consider them?  When we are doing an AAC evaluation, we certainly should be considering them.  They may not be the right thing for that client, but is certainly something that we should consider.  When our AAC evaluation warrants us looking at mobile technologies, this is when we turn to looking at the different apps that we are going to talk about today. 

carole zangari

Carole Zangari, PhD, CCC-SLP

Dr. Zangari is a faculty member in the SLP Department at Nova Southeastern University (NSU) and Executive Director of the NSU Center for Autism and Related Disabilities Satellite. She is co-author of TELL ME: AAC in the Preschool Classroom and co-edited Practically Speaking Language, Literacy, and Academic Development for Students with AAC Needs. Dr. Zangari teaches AAC courses to students at the master’s and doctoral levels, supervises in the AAC clinic, and coordinates the AAC Lab. She blogs at www.PrAACticalAAC.org

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