Being able to communicate effectively, whether because of a physical or developmental disability can be extremely frustrating. For the child, it means enduring endless time until the other person finally gets what you want to say. This can often take away the spontaneity of speech, which is such a crucial part of communicating with others.
But what if you could use the technology that everyone is using today, in order to help your child communicate with others with a fun, easy to use product?
Enter Proloquo2Go. It’s developed by a firm called AssistiveWare, and uses an iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. At $189, it’s MUCH cheaper than other dynamic talking devices out there, and the tech support is excellent. It comes preloaded with all kinds of categories (sports, emotions, foods, hobbies, etc.) but you can also program individual words, phrases, and sentences.
You can also program individual icons, choose from various kids’ or adults’ voices, and control the volume. You can use this for children who have very little speech, but it’s also good for kids who have some speech, but not enough to get by. For example, some users have programmed it with things their children have done (“I went to the dentist today).
Your child can use the program to initiate conversations with teachers and other caretakers, who can then ask simple questions about what happened. You can also let your child practice saying the real-life sentences he hears, in order to gain confidence in saying those sentences on his own.
It’s a great solution for teens and young adults who want to be like their friends, but it’s easy to use and to program, even for non-techies. If your child has autism, cerebral palsy, Down’s syndrome, developmental disabilities, or apraxia then this is a great product that looks “cool” and is easy to transport.
Note: Your child will need to have moderately good fine motor and pointing skills in order to use this product. Most kids seem to be able to manage, though.
Other iPad apps for kids with autism:
It's not always easy to know whether a particular app for kids on the spectrum lives up to the product designer's claims. Here's a link to a NYT article that gives extensive resources of sites that have checked out extensive numbers of apps for the iPad:
UPDATE: One of my readers (thanks Mike!) suggested a new, Android alternative to Proloquo2Go: Sonoflex. It plays on pretty much every mainstream device out there, including the Kindle Fire, iPad, IPod, and iPhone. It's also much cheaper. Definitely worth checking it out.
Here's a video of the product:
Anyone tried both? I'd love it if you'd comment below and tell me why you think one is better than the other.