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  • Annie Galvin

Scene & Heard Pro - let your photos and videos help you communicate about the world around you

From Photos and Videos to Conversations: The Power of Visual Scene Displays in Scene & Heard Pro

In 2023, it is common for people with communication disabilities to communicate using text and typing or grid-based symbol vocabularies; for some people using photos and videos of their environment, routine, and the people in their world is much more powerful! Scene & Heard Pro uses this approach, called Visual Scene Displays, by allowing people to take a photo on their iPad and add hotspots. These hotspots are drawn on the meaningful aspects in each photo, such as the people and objects that the person wants to chat about. The hotspots can be loaded with spoken messages, videos, text labels and literacy supports.

Whether used at home, school or in the community, Scene & Heard Pro has been designed to be used across the lifespan by people who benefit from personal context to support their communication, hopefully offering them opportunities for conversation, information sharing and increased independence. Video Visual Scenes allow people to splice a video with individual scenes that pause to give the user a prompt that they may want to tap on a hotspot to have a message play. This particular feature has been guided by the team from The RERC on AAC, a collaborative centre, funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (grant #90REGE0014), that is focused on

research related to alternative and augmentative communication and the transfer of this research to real-life products with businesses worldwide. Researchers from the RERC on AAC provided valuable guidance on how video visual scenes were used to best support increases in successful participation in vocational and community activities by individuals with complex communication needs.

Scene & Heard Pro also features a new tool called Transition To Literacy (T2L). More than 90% of individuals with complex communication needs enter adulthood without literacy skills, and the team at The RERC on AAC is currently conducting a series of research studies to evaluate the effects of the T2L decoding features with individuals with complex communication needs across a wide variety of ages and disability groups. T2L has been designed in consultation with the RERC on AAC researchers, with plans for the tool to be enhanced in coming updates as more is known about how people with complex communication needs develop literacy skills.

Professors Janice Light and David McNaughton from the RERC on AAC have said, “

Scene & Heard Pro is an exciting addition to the AAC field! It is a powerful, easy to learn tool to support language and literacy development and enhance communication and community participation. The app incorporates cutting edge research by the RERC on AAC team to improve outcomes for people with complex communication needs.”

Full feature list:

  • Photo visual scene displays with hotspots for audio, video and text interactions

  • Video visual scene displays with paused scenes for opportunities for communication and independence skills

  • Transition To Literacy (T2L) using sight words and decodable words

  • Visual timetable

  • Grid-based communication with symbol library

  • Linking of scenes for creating stories, sequences and learning opportunities

  • Communication book to print and share

  • Record content in any language

Scene & Heard Pro for iPads is available by subscription in the AppStore with one month free for new subscribers.

Therapy Box is an award-winning AAC company based in London and the developer of the top-selling app, Predictable.


Rebecca Bright

Therapy Box

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