The other day Tammy over at Praying For Parker asked for "A few good bloggers" to review a new AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) app for the iPhone or iPod Touch, called Voice4u.
After reading the review on the creator of Voice4u over at Tammy's blog,I thought we should give it a shot for Max.
It is difficult to try out iphone or ipod apps before purchasing them, so I wasn't sure how this would work for Max...but I knew I wanted to try. We are up to our ears in trying to get Max's newest AAC device to work for what Max needs. This, after using the TANGO! for a few months, and it just not working because it is really not geared at a scanner. We finally traded it in for a new device called a Dynavox V. This has all the scanning capabilities we could ever need...but the personality of a rock. Max does not at all engage with it, because it doesn't sound human, there is no tone inflection, and it is HUGE! Oh, and the best part, it runs on an operating system that isn't even made anymore!
So, needless to say, when I first saw the Voice4u app, I was excited to see how it might work for Max!
I downloaded Voice4u, and immediately was impressed with the simplicity of it. The photos are very gender neutral, and the voice is very clear and understandable. I watched all of the tutorial videos, and added a couple of new icons. This was SUPER EASY! I just took a photo right off of the iPod, and typed in the word for the photos. Next I recorded the word for the photo, and voila...a new icon was created!
The Voice4u comes with 130 choices already programmed in, put into nine categories. I had absolutely no problem jumping right in!! Did I mention it was so EASY?!?!?!
The best part about the Voice4u, just might be the price! The "talkers" we've used previously for Max all carry the price-tag of anywhere from $5,000-$10,000! All you need for this application is an ipod touch, or iphone. Something a lot of families already have. Then the app itself only costs $29.99!
We've played around with app on the iPod this week, and it is really impressive. We won't be able to use it as of now with Max, however. Like I said before, Max is an auditory scanner. This means that ideally, the 130 choices would be spoken aloud for him to listen for the choice he wants. He then clicks a switch button to choose which choice he wants. I do wish this could work for Max, but maybe when the iPad comes out, with the larger screen, he may be able to see it better to try it.
I do see how this could work for a large variety of people. Anyone with a speech processing disorder could benefit from Voice4u. I can also see it being helpful to use with adults who have developmental disabilities, and those who have had a stroke, or traumatic brain injury.
It is an all-around great product, and kudos to Yumi Kubo who saw an impossible situation with her son's speech and doing what any super-mom would do to find a way through the obstacle!
And finally, to keep the blogger trolls happy, a disclaimer:
This was a sponsored post. I was compensated for this review and given a free app of Voice4u. I am grateful to the team at Voice4U for asking me to try it out! It is a great option for a cost effective AAC device!