Pre-order day

I pre-ordered my iPad today so am feeling excited, its getting closer to arriving and me been able to use Proloquo2go on it to create custom designed communication system.

I wanted to show that it could be done for under or around £500 even on the bigger iPad.  Obviously it would be much cheaper on an iPod Touch but as a person with Ataxia who struggles with tiny buttons and small screened gadgets with wafer thin styluses to try and grip,  I was looking for something a little bigger (although not as big and heavy as computer).

I watched Proloquo2go’s you tube clips on how it worked (demoed on iphone) and I could see the potential to create a customised system that would be so much cheaper than the major leading manufacturers charge for their products (£4,000 + for smaller screened products 5-10 “,  £6,000 + usually for their average sized tablet PC’s).

Don’t get me wrong they have put some serious research into their products, and offer very high tech solutions such as Eye Gaze for people who are unable to use their arms at all.  (usually range from £12,000 +)

My issue is,  as an adult with an acquired disability that came on later in adulthood,  it is much harder to get funding for these machines if you are no longer able to work and not in education.  If you can still use a touchscreen device why have to wait for months to see if you can get funding for a touchscreen device to communicate your basic needs and general conversation to family members etc when you can get a device for under £500 which is a much easier amount to get funding for either family members to raise or bank loan or credit card.

The Apple iPad provides a solution to this.  For £429 you can now get the 16GB wi-fi model of iPad.  For £1.19 you can get ‘speak-it’ app from iTunes store which is a basic qwerty keyboard,  you type and it speaks,  the iPad version also allows you to store and view your stored sentences altogether on screen (landscape mode)

For me personally I like the idea of been able to create my own system but I don’t have the technical knowledge to program a computer from scratch,  I have an idea what I’m looking for but I need the basic building blocks to help me get started.

Proloquo2go offers that to me.  It offers a basic communication program you can choose to have it all with symbols or all without,  as you can also edit each button individually you can make a ‘mixed page’,  as no-one else has attempted this yet I can’t show you yet until I try it out on my own.

Most of the PR shots include symbols the makers of the progam did email me some shots with the symbols removed.

Actions category 8x8 grid (on-screen)

Also bear in mind that the iPad,  unlike traditional touchscreen tablet has a scrolling screen,  so instead of having to go through several pages to find a word,  you just scroll up and you potentially have another 64 words below.. and another below that! This is ideal if you need bigger ‘buttons’ on each page so you cant fit as many within the viewable screen area.

If you decided you wanted most of your grids to be words only but occasionally a symbol on some say to represent a longer sentence,  you can just remove all symbols and edit the individual buttons of the few that you wish to have a picture on.

You may wish to keep the symbols on category buttons and the ones like food etc where you get little pics of branded products which are cool like coca cola,  but may wish to remove the symbols for abstract words such as ‘and,  as,  but, because’ etc which are classed as non-picture generating words as opposed to words like ‘house,  car,  buildings,  transport,  pets’ etc where the symbols would be fairly obvious.

You can also removed the coloured outline of boxes and have all buttons simply outlined in black,  or you can keep the colours to match the grammer rules,  pink=verbs etc.

One of my favourite features is the auto-conjugation of verbs which seems a really big posh word but basically all it means is say you are looking for word  dogs’  to say ‘my dogs’ favourite toy is’..  go to pets category press and hold ‘dog’ and up pops ‘dog,  dog’s,  dogs’  etc.  if you press and hold a verb for example:

when you press and hold ‘are’ as shown in screenshot above you get the past,  present,  future variations of the word such as ‘am, is, was, will be’ etc  on other words you get different word endings so pressing and holding ‘play’ will bring up ‘played,  playing,  will play’ etc

You can just have symbols in the ‘grid’ and not in the text box if you wished to use symbols to represent categories but once you opened the category just have words as shown in previous screenshot.

With Proloquo2go you can really make it your own,  you can remove categories completely if you wished or just edit them to make use of the buttons where one page already leads to another.  Say for example you didn’t need the school category you could turn it into ‘work’ or ‘shopping’ or if you have children/grand-children you can adapt the category to ask them about their school day (assuming its an adult that’s lost speech rather than the child).

Even though this app is around £110 and is one of the more expensive apps,  it is a complete AAC solution and in comparison with the cost of most AAC devices (even if you got an higher priced model of iPad) you are still literally saving thousands in price difference.  If budgets are tight for just over £500 (around £539)  you can get 16GB wi-fi model AND Proloquo2go and have your communication aid.

I am also planning to use mine as a jumbo touchscreen IR remote using the Mini Red eye dongle and app.

create your own big button remote!

Watch this space 😀


16 thoughts on “Pre-order day

  1. i have pre ordered my Ipad and I’m extremely exited. I am currently using an AAC device with my nose. The keys stick down and I curse it, mainly because i had to pay three and a half grand for it.

  2. Hi Lyn

    What AAC device are you using? I went to your page and saw video of you typing with nose on your Mac.

    I was given Lightwriter SL40 last year, it is good but doesn’t get used much as I live alone and my family can understand me anyway, they don’t know proper BSL but we have our own system of ‘home’ sign combined with whatever sounds I can get out and I lip-read well.

    It’s mainly needed for emergency use after I had an allergic reaction and was unable to get hold of an interpreter, with having Ataxia in hands now handwriting is a struggle too. It has all my emergency medical details on.

    As I’m getting to needing more help I’d like a device that I have customised myself and which can also be used for other things plus I’ve always wanted an ipod touch but screen was too small for me to manage! :O)

  3. I am the parent of an almost seven year old who is not yet speaking. She is developmentally delayed, and we are struggling with her Dynavox. We are looking into an iPad as an alternative. Thanks for your informative comments!

  4. Your welcome, check back in a couple of weeks as mine is due to arrive next friday and it may take me a few days to get it set up to how I want it.
    Although I may shows some more text only screenshots which maybe useful for adults with acquired disabilities, before I start customising it.

  5. I havent actually got mine yet. (I’m in UK) its due this week though. Your contents insurance should cover it, or some other insurance companies may cover it for travelling, in same way you would for a computer.

  6. Hi Katilea:

    Our son has CP and has fine motor control issues. He desperately wants an IPAD and we are wondering if there are ways to control the sensitivity of the touch screen. With his CP his fine motor control isn’t great and I am worried he will get frustrated with it quickly!

    • Hi

      If you click on the banner at the top that says Kati’s blog it will take you to the most recent page just updated where I have just done a blog on Physical Accessibility and also more details on Proloquo2go (the blog that follows it)

      I havent found any controls for sensitivity however I find you have to get it just right or it wont activate at all, several times when I have been searching for symbols within P2G i have pressed the text bar to enter word has nothing has happened. Also within the Broken Sword game I have pressed on help icon several times and nothing come up I’m not sure if meant to hold for a certain length of time or press with a certain force.

      Does anyone you know have one he could try out? If you are in UK Therapybox has loans of iPad with P2G on now for people to try before they buy.


  7. I think the Ipad seems to be a great device for people with disiblities there are even a few apps made for such things like one for people who have problems talking they can point to objects/pictures to convey what they want and there is a text to speach program for it too.

    I have a disiblity too where i cannot smile or frown and have a speach impediment and its really hard to sometimes connect with people. Growing up i had a touch talker in elementry school that was big and then a smaller one in high school i think the 2nd one was like 500 bucks or so ..the price of an ipad now. and you can do so much more with an ipad and its only half an inch thick so with a case for it you can easily carry it around or put it in a backpack.

    so its great to hear about other people using it with disiblties and such
    because a lot of specially made commication type devices can be quite pricey so having something like the ipad that can help people with special needs that also does so much more too! is nice 🙂 and its a LOT easier to carry around then some of the other things out there!

  8. I have a beautiful 10-year-old deaf boy who really loves computers. Can you please send more information regarding the iPad and software programs for the deaf?

  9. Hi Muriel

    I don’t use any apps specifically for the deaf, unless you are referring to the text-to -speech app I mentioned, which is more geared towards speech impaired.

    you can find more information on Proloquo2go from their site.

    I use mine for hearing people who do not sign but it may not be as effective if he goes to a school for the deaf as they won’t know what its saying without seeing what he typed anyway.

    Information on the iPad can be found on Apple’s site.

  10. Just a thought for the people with fine motor control issues. Have you tried putting on a light cotton or wool glove and just cut the tip of the index finger of the glove off. That way your childs palm/hand can rest on the screen but only the touch of skin to the screen will activate the Capacitive touch screen of the ipad. Pressure on the ipad screen should have any bearing on it. Haven’t tried it but am looking at an Ipad for my young (5yrs) son for the same reasons.

  11. That’s a good idea. I use thermoskin fingerless gloves in winter to try and keep my hands warm and relief pain in them. Obviously all my fingers are then exposed.

    I have got some iphone gloves that have a special coating on index fingers so can use these devices with gloves on and they do work too!

  12. Pingback: iPad Assistive Technology/Disability Round-Up

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