If you were to ask me what the main reason was that I decided to change from wanting to be a Gifted Education teacher to wanting to major in Speech-Language Pathology, the answer would be a simple one: AAC. When I was in High School I was interning with an amazing gifted ed teacher (that I actually work with now… how funny?!?) and had the opportunity to observe another educator. At the hinting of my SpEd teacher mother, I observed an SLP. He worked with a student with cerebral palsy who utilized an AAC device to communicate. I fell in LOVE! How amazing is it that children who would otherwise not have a “voice” are heard via a device? Anyway, I digress…
I add a photo or drawing of “Speech Therapy” then record the voice saying it. If you want to have another peer say the word it may help with it not sounding differently as an adult voice would.
- It’s a new approach to AAC and the interface is gorgeous.
- Good symbols – easy to understand and fun.
- Real children were recorded for this app – gives the child a “real” voice.
- Promotes language learning in-app.
- “Learns” to anticipate what a child may be wanting to say.
- Designed for children specifically which is a pro if you work with children.
- Editing is “locked” by swiping or a pin.
- Every word is customizable at any time. Using drawings, photos, recordings of words, and placement in categories.
- Words can be disabled if need be or added back into the library.
- Search bar included when adding words to the tree.
- Included “favorites” page creates easy access to frequently used sentences.
- Shortcuts remain on the screen at all times to have easy access to those needed frequently.
- Unlimited users/profiles.
- Students who have struggled with grid-based systems may benefit from this setup.
- “Connector” words are a huge part of this app and encourage full sentences (eg. “I want to eat apple” instead of “want apple”)
- “Pruning” allows you/the user to cut words from a word tree temporarily/permanently.
- aacorn staff is available to help users if difficulties arise. They can even skype with you.
- It is cheaper than many current AAC app options. It is $189.99 with a 50% discount on volume orders from education institutions and 15% donated to further research about children’s health issues.
- It’s a new approach to AAC and there is no research regarding it at this time.
- The included library is fairly small compared to some other apps. I’m hopeful that they will add more words in future updates. (for example, common words such as “shoe” is not included which seemed odd)
- I wish the speech bubble was a bit closer to either the word tree or the sentence bar. Though, you can touch the first word in the sentence bar at any time to activate the sentence as well.
- The voices are quite young. I would say using this for students that are teenagers or above at this time may be strange. However, all words can be re-recorded so it is possible to use with any age if words are re-recorded.
- Students who are used to grid-based systems may experience difficulty.
- The editing tools and robot can be distracting – we utilize “guided access” to avoid this when needed. The robot will be lock-able in future updates though.