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DIY low tech "back up" systems to complement high tech speech generating devices

Author-Avatar Deirdre McLaughlin

12/6/2018 3:39 AM

To refer to my earlier statement that devices break, devices can’t go hiking or swimming, and devices have batteries that aren’t always charged or whose battery life is diminishing - low tech “back ups” are a great way to complement a patient's current speech generating device and may be the easiest method for a clinician to create a low tech system. The goal whenever possible for AAC systems is to create consistency across systems!

1. Low tech systems of custom page sets in AAC applications:
 Many AAC users utilize custom page sets made in applications such as Sounding Board or Go Talk Now on an iPad. You could make a low tech back up by completing the following steps. 
- Take a screenshot of each page
- Print out pages
- Laminate
- If it is a dynamic page set, create tabs for navigation.
- Use air-craft cable rings, zip ties, or binder rings to secure pages together

2. Pre-programmed page sets: Pre-programmed page sets from major dedicated device companies (Tobii, Saltillo, etc) have editors for PCs to customize programming. This is sometimes the easiest way to both customize page sets for speech generating devices and print pages for a low tech book. The chat editors are generally free (you may need license to print) to experiment with. If you are learning a new language system this is also a good first step before modeling on device. The other benefit of using a chat editor includes having a saved copy (back up) in a location other than the device (PSA: always back up! So sad when custom programming is lost). 

Please see links below:

Saltillo: Edit vocabulary using Chat Editor (OS: Windows) and make low tech back up. how to install chat editor

PRC: Edit vocabulary using PRC Application Support Software (PASS) software. how to install PASS software

Tobii: Edit using Communicator 5. You need a license but can use a PC version (not on individual's device) to edit vocabulary. 

3. "Double duty" page sets: Some brilliant clinicians (shout out: Alycia Berg CCC-SLP at Boston Children’s Hospital) have taught me the  strategy of creating custom page sets the can also easily transition to low tech versions. For example, using a check board configuration in communicator 5 and leaving middle buttons void of programming in a checkerboard configuration can create a way to also easily print a low tech eye gaze book. Designing custom page sets with both in mind may be useful to tackle both. 

As always, if anyone has thoughts or other suggestions - comment below! 

Level 6. Abstract Symbols,Level 7. Language,Speech-Language Pathologist,Educator,Parent/Family Member,Researcher,Developer Vendor,Intervention Strategies

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