What are some of the considerations for using an iPad® as a speech generating device (SGD)?
A dedicated SGD focuses mainly on intelligibility rather than comprehensibility. Using an iPad as a dedicated SGD can certainly help a person to be better understood. Many of the pros and cons of an iPad as an SGD are the same pros and cons of other SGDs. However, there are a few advantages and disadvantages specific to using an iPad as a dedicated SGD that are worth noting. The accessibility feature is very appealing to many people. It is very familiar to a lot of individuals and is not threatening. An iPad is something that people feel empowered to pick up and use. They can go to the store and buy one themselves. That advantage can make it a better choice as a dedicated SGD and should be considered during the assessment process with clients.
In terms of disadvantages, a powerful one relates to the idea of device confusion. Is it too much of a cognitive challenge or a pragmatic complication for a person with complex communication needs to have a device (i.e., iPad) that is used for their voice output as well as how they get their news, read books or watch videos? Since the iPad can do all of those things, does that create device confusion? This also needs to be taken into consideration when conducting an assessment for SGDs.
Please refer to the SpeechPathology.com course, iPad® Opportunities and AAC for more in-depth information about obstacles and opportunities that occur when using the iPad to augment communication.