Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Miracle of the iPad

I had a very interesting and rewarding day today.  Most of you know that I'm a speech-language pathologist.  Part of my job is working part time with our assistive technology team.  This team of two occupational therapists and me is responsible to evaluate special needs children in the school system to see if technology can help them access their education.  Today, the child was in a regular education kindergarten and hasn't spoken for over a year.  Diagnosis is still pending, but for my part, I brought toys and books to the school along with my trusty iPad loaded with Proloquo2Go. This is an 'app' that converts an iPad to a dynamic display communication device.  The child touches a cell (usually a picture is in the cell) and the iPad speaks for him.  He can touch a category cell which then jumps him to another page, so if he is playing with a toy, but suddenly wanted a drink, he could touch the 'drinks' cell which would take him to a selection of items to quench his thirst!   See this link if you want to hear from this program's creator:

 http://abcnews.go.com/WN/proloquo2go-ipad-software-voice-autistic/story?id=10497862

  My boy learned how to use this in about 10 minutes, navigating the pages, and playing the marble toy with me.  He was requesting the marble toy pieces with this voice output system, asking for 'little' marbles (when I gave him a giant one!), and saying 'my turn'.   Maybe now he can talk to his friends!   How frustrating the past years must have been for him!

What work or volunteer activity do you do that makes you feel like you have made a difference in the lives of someone?

6 comments:

  1. My work every day makes me feel like I'm making tiny differences, and especially when I feel like a teacher or intern I'm working with learns a strategy or "gets" what works to help kids learn--that's when I feel most effective.

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  2. I'm part of the AT team as well, but really our goal is just to educate others about AT. We don't do the evals. My problem with proloquo is the voice quality. Ugh. But... great deal compared to the big companies. I've heard that there is no customer service at all though. Do you know?

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  3. I actually took a training up at Closing the Gap from the guys who developed Proloquo2Go and they were great, but I don't know how they are if you actually want to talk on the phone with someone. The price is right, and our school system seems to have an ample supply of iPads. Dynavox must be worried.

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  4. Wow. I was really liking your entry until the comment about price & Dynavox. Price isn't the starting point for an AT eval, and an iPad doesn't perform miracles. It works really well for some students, but not for all.

    No, I don't work for Dynavox or Prentke-Romich. You can probably click my name to find my own blog, out of date as it is right now to verify that. I'm not an AT professional, although I do play one on email lists. I'm just a teacher who works with students who have a variety of special needs.

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  5. For this kid, the iPad, with it's portability and dynamic display capabilities, is just fine.... Pragmatically speaking, the iPad has been wonderful---it's just our budget reality here. I don't know what state you are from, but NC is in a bad place right now.

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  6. The voice quality of Proloquo2go should be same as other devices because we use some of the same voices. But the device's built-in speaker may be different so, unless an external speaker is used this may affect voice quality.
    The customer support is highly responsive. You can expect a timely and accurate reply from one of the knowledgeable and friendly support staff. While email is the preferred method of customer support, telephone support can always be arranged. If you have any P2G questions, send us an email at support @ proloquo2Go dot com.
    Pam Harris
    AssistiveWare Support

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