Today, we’re going talk about an AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) app for Android, but first, let’s talk a bit about AAC, because it’s not the most commonly used piece of assistive technology out there, and there’s lots of people who have never seen these devices before. AAC stands for Augmentative and Alternative Communication and it refers to any communication device, system, strategies, or tools that replace or support speech. AAC can support a range of speech disorders that could be related to an acquired disorder, developmental disabilities, or a wide range of other speech impediments.
Before we get into the app, it’s worth mentioning that the professionals who are trained to deal with these issues are known as Speech-Language Pathologists (S-LPs), and if you or someone you know is struggling with speech/ communication, we recommend you reach out to a professional. Please click here(new window) to be directed to the New Brunswick Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists Public Register.
I Can Communicate! is available for Android smartphones and tablets. The main advantage of this free app is that users are not required to buy any additional hardware. This is important to note, as standalone AAC devices can sometimes cost hundreds to thousands of dollars. Essentially, AAC apps allows non-verbal users to navigate through grouped categories of symbols, and select responses based on context. For example, if a user selects the food/drink category, the app will populate messages related to eating and drinking, and the user can select “Eat” then “Salad.” to indicate that they wish to eat a salad, and the app will speak those words aloud.
I Can Communicate! allows users to customize a variety of button and text sizes, speaking rates, modification options, and more. From the settings screen users can also import or export their data, or view the quick start guide for more help.
This app definitely emphasizes quick and simple communication, but it also features a searchable database of over 13,000 pictograms so far. And finally, unlike some other apps or devices, I Can Communicate! allows users to choose whether they wish to type or whether they wish to use a pre-programmed message, thus giving users more freedom in how they wish to communicate.
To learn more about I Can Communicate! including a full list of features, access to the quick start guide and FAQ (and more), please click here(new window).