Choosing the right Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) device
A selection guide and primer on talking assistive speech generating products
What is an AAC device?
Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) devices aid people who find it hard to communicate by speech or writing. Careful selection of the right AAC device can often help a person communicate more easily. The family of solutions include terms such as Speech Generating (SGD) Devices, Communicators, Communication Aids, Talking Devices and Text to Speech (TTS) technology.
Who may need an AAC device?
More than 2 million people in the United States have a severe communication disorder that impairs their ability to talk (1).
How do I choose the right one?
You might chose based on lifestyle, motor skills and ability to type comfortably, and needs for verbal conversations. In technical terms, your choice for successful AAC use depends on motor, cognitive, linguistic, and sensory capabilities of the user and the operation of the AAC device chosen. For example, in many cases keyboard based speech products and devices suit patients with laryngectomy, tracheotomy , moderate stroke, moderate motor skill limitations and degenerative voice afflictions, while picture based products aid autism, patients with severe motor skill limitations or cognitive ailments.
How can TextSpeak help?
AAC devices include a range of devices, each designed to provide benefits focused on specific needs. 2 popular categories are keyboard based and icon/picture based tablets. The table below offers a brief review for consideration in your selection of the right AAC device. TextSpeak products are “Keyboard Based”.
|Traditional typing on a physical keyboard generates speech directly from typed text
|Pointing to a graphic on a tablet or screen generates speech associated with an image
|May suit patients and persons who desire the ability to create full phrases on demand, and who , with the correct keyboard choice, can comfortably type. May suit moderate stroke, Laryngectomy, tracheotomy, early ALS, throat cancer, Apraxia and aphasia. Large key keyboards suit patients with moderate mobility.
|May offer a solution for children with autism or who cannot spell. Picture based systems are also well suited for patients with speech limitation associated with severe brain trauma, or injury that results in limited cognitive and/or severe restrictions that restrict typing due to limited motor/mobility movement.
|Typing offers unlimited free text speech creation. Conversations can be fluid.
|Keyboards require mobility and cognitive skills to type with ease.
|Does not require spelling. Good for severe mobility impairments
|Speech is fixed to exact phrases limited to a single, specific icon or image
|Keyboards can be varied in width, weight and key size to accommodate the typing needs of users. This flexibility offers comfort to enter text.
|Many devices include integrated keyboard with keyguards Some that may not suit the needs of all users. Power-on time varies with some devices.
|Low cost picture based systems may be lightweight, durable. Many offer Instant-on features and operate on long life batteries
|Some Windows PC based systems may a “boot” period of several minutes before use. Weight can increase with these systems.
|New “system on a chip” technology support prices of Text to Speech keyboard systems (wireless & corded) approaching $500
|Until recently, computer, laptop and color screen based products with integrated keyboards have pricing ranging $3000-$6000.
|Systems with useful and interchangeable printed image surfaces (templates) are available at under $1000
|Versions with LCD computer ‘touch screens ‘ can instantly change ‘templates’. Costs range from to $3000-$7000
A wonderful and comprehensives report is available here.
Why choose TextSpeak?
If you want a Keyboard based AAC product then TextSpeak is the only product series sold today that is flexible, simple to use and affordable.
We offer a 30 day refund policy. We allow you to choose the right keyboard, one that fits your needs, and we are affordable. Our products are often 70-90% less expensive than other keyboard based solutions. We can offer this price without compromise of durability, warranty and support. Every product is assembled and tested here, in the USA.
The links below can offer some additional information. Click the MORE Icon below and you’ll go right to our TextSpeak TS-04 product page.