Monday, August 6, 2012

Journal 8 - Adaptive Technology

Adaptive Technology


     AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) is any form of communication (other than oral speech) that is used to express thoughts, needs, wants, and ideas.  It is the supplementation or replacement of natural speech and/or writing using aided and/or unaided symbols.

An example of a low-tech communication device is using PECS (Picture Exchange Cards).  One popular software programs used to make PECS is BoardMaker.  This software contains over 3,000 Picture Communication Symbols and is recognized as a top tool for educators and SLPs (speech and language pathologists) for creating printed classroom materials such as schedules, worksheets, reading and writing activities,
communication boards, and more.   

In my classroom, I use PECS with my students who have difficulty communicating verbally.  My students also benefit from using visuals.  I keep a set of PECS on a key ring that I carry with me at all times.  Sometimes when I need to communicate with a student, I will show him a specific PEC.  I also use PECS to create schedules and other visual resources for my students. 

High-tech AAC devices permit the storage and retrieval of messages, many of which allow the use of speech output.  An example of a high-tech communication device is an iPod touch or iPad.  There are various software programs that can be utilized with an iPod or iPad.   

In my classroom, one of my students uses an iPod touch to communicate.  In order to model the use of the software, I communicate with him in addition to verbal communication.   


An input device is something that is used to put information into a computer.  Examples of input devices are cameras, keyboards, computer mice, and touch screens.

An example of an accessibility option is an iPod touch with Touch Chat software.  TouchChat software enables Apple’s iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad devices to play an important role in providing an alternative voice for individuals who cannot use their natural speech.  There are multiple forms of communication available in the program: sentences, phrases, and individual words.  There are picture icons on each button, with the exception of several core words.      

In my classroom, my student uses TouchChat software on his iPod touch.  This software works great for him because of the predictability grammar feature.  This means that the screens will automatically change when a particular button is selected.  The new page will contain words that will allow a sentence to be formed.  I can edit the pages in order to add new buttons, or change the icon picture.  For example, I can add new buttons under the science button that will correspond to our classroom curriculum.  After the sentence or phrase is constructed, the device will speak, allowing others to understand the message and also give my student a model.  He will then repeat what has been spoken by the device.  

For more AAC devices, see the following blogs:
Noah Barringer  
Amy Dellar


  1. Hi April, I too agree with you about using the iPad and iPod. Technology is amazing these days. I found a quote for a mother, and she stated, "I don't think Steve Jobs knew he was going a voice to the voiceless." I think it is great that you have actually seen and used the iPod in the classroom.

  2. Hi April, I enjoyed reading about the Touch Chat software. I think I will look into this option in the new school year, as we recently purchased iPod touches at my school. Thanks for giving some insight as to how this software can be utilized in the classroom.

  3. April, the Touch Chat software seems like it is a great tool. That is really great that you have had experience with this tool and were able to put a personal touch on your research of different software. I also thought that your description of the low tech tool that you use was very interesting. This seems like a great alternative when technology is not available.

  4. I love the Touch Chat software. I worked with the iPad in a special needs classroom. The way the children light up and interact with the iPad is amazing. I think that every special needs classroom should have access to iPad giving a voice to the student as well as entertainment and fun!

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