"It is definitely the best of the apps designed for these users that I have tried"
As a speech language pathologist who specializes in AAC, it is important for me to have access to a wide range of options for my clients who are in need of a communication system.
With over 20 years of experience, I have seen numerous solutions, from no tech object and picture-based systems up through high tech robust eye gaze communication systems. Within the past 10 years, I have also seen and used numerous AAC apps on iPads with clients. AAC apps range from simple to complex, and from well designed, functional and user friendly to poorly designed, impractical and difficult to use. The bulk of the apps that are available are picture-based (picture icons with words) with the option to use a keyboard to type, and there are only a small number of apps available that are designed for the literate user who prefers to primarily rely on typing/writing to compose their messages. This presents a significant disadvantage to the literate user who wants to communicate in this way. The picture icon based apps that incorporate this function tend to either be overly complex, expensive, and poorly designed for this purpose. They simultaneously have features that this type of user does not need, while not having features that they do need. Having used two of the three apps designed like this for previous clients, I went in search of an app that could meet a current client’s needs more effectively, efficiently and functionally than the ones I had used.
The app Predictable by Therapy Box was suggested to me. I had the opportunity to beta test the newest version with this client. This app met all of my clients needs, and we will be requesting this app as a component of an iPad based communication device. The app has a simple interface with a well designed, easy to navigate configuration. It smoothly integrates a keyboard with word prediction with nicely placed, easy to use availability of frequent phrase (phrases the user will use often) buttons that also have pictures. The layout of the keyboard verses access to these phrases allows smooth user navigation without accidental setting off of the wrong keys. Multiple accessibility features such as time delay touch, and options to use scanning, switch access, and head tracking are available. Smart word prediction (learns what users say most often), variable grid layout options, and ability to send messages through other iPad apps are included. There is also an emoji option on the keyboard which my client loved.
I am thrilled to add this app to my evaluation toolbox and anticipate recommending it to any literate typing/writing based users in the future. It is definitely the best of the apps designed for these users that I have tried, and I appreciate the opportunity to get to try this app out.
Cheryl Sinner Stewart M.Ed. CCC-SLP
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