Platform: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
Category: AAC Apps
Upcoming: 79 Acapela Voice Engines and 20 Language Packs
I want to preface my review of Able AAC with this: one of the reasons that this app is great is that in a few weeks (check the publish date on this post) Able AAC will offer 79 new (natural-sounding) Acapela voice engines and 20 language packs as in-app purchases.
The language packs will translate the entire AAC app into the language of your choice (text and audio). This is one of the only programs that has this option, so it’s a must-have for anyone who does not speak English in the home. (Note that you will be able to alternate between languages.)
These Acapela voice engines will also allow individuals to listen to internet content, stories, and emails!
Since I started out talking about voice engines, I should probably talk about the ones that are currently available! They are available as in-app purchases for $9.99, and are all English, but have different inflections. For example, Deepa is an Indian American, and Little Will has a creature version of his voice that closely resembles that of Yoda. (Star Wars fans out there?)
Simple and Advanced Interfaces
When you first open the app, give it a minute or two to initialize. (This only happens the very first time you use the application.)
Unlike many AAC programs, you do not have to go through the trouble of creating a user, rather all of your options are stored in the framework and you can alternate between sets of options that you have created. The main AAC portion of the application includes the Simple and Advanced interfaces, which I’ll talk a little bit about right now.
The simple interface is for children who do not have a solid understanding of how communication and the iPad function in the real world. This interface, which appears as an option on the left side of the screen, has buttons that don’t “sequence together.” By this, I mean that if you tap one button and then tap another, both will not show up in the sequencer … only the last button you tapped will show up.
More advanced users will want to use the advanced interface, which will allow them to string words together to create their own sentences as opposed to using pre-loaded ones.
Personalization With My Info Button
Able AAC allows the user to personalize their experience by using the My Info button. Contact, medical, and allergy information can be stored for your child with ease.
The user can also personalize the app by changing the word “My” to the first or last name of their child.
For example, “My Tasks” becomes “John’s Tasks” or “My Info” becomes “John’s Info,” etc. To make these personalization changes, just go to the Settings area and look for “My Name.” Easy!
Type And Speak
There are a couple of ways to utilize Able AAC in terms of a text-to-speech device.
There is a dedicated section for this function, also located on the left side of the app page.
In addition, you can also type directly into the speech sequencer where the buttons show up after they are pressed. This is great for kids who have a hard time finding things and would rather just type out small words than scroll and tap them.
Some examples of pages that come up under the Simple interface are Critical, I Feel, and I Want.
Some examples of pages that show up under the Advanced interface are Action, Emotions, Family, Food, and many more.
Lite Version Available
Note that you can purchase the FREE version of the app in order to see what the app has to offer! All of the AAC buttons are visible, and the recorded voices are activated in the Simple interface. The user can alternate between Ryan, Heather, and Kenny voices. It’s a great way to gauge of whether or not the $99.99 purchase is worth it for your child!
My Tasks and Storing Sentences
Another cool feature of Able AAC is the ability that you have to store sentences straight from the sequencer. If your child uses a certain phrase frequently, and it does not appear in one of the pages listed in the app, then they can just hit the “Store Sentence” button to create a new module with that sentence in it!
My Tasks is an awesome part of this program, which basically tracks your child’s progress in a range of areas. Completing specific goals in My Tasks can reward the child points in the My Points section, which are then translated into physical rewards via the Reward Center.
So, take note that with a plethora of features and natural-sounding Acapela Voice Engines and soon-to-be-released language packs, Able AAC is more than just another communication app! Bravo!