I was recently given the opportunity to test the Voice4U iphone application for augmentative communication. To say I was excited would be an understatement. I tried to win one when Tammy did a give-away, but it wasn't my lucky day. I'd been stalking the software for a while, so this seemed like a great opportunity for me.
So, I downloaded it, and we've been playing with it.
I actually think it's a great program for exactly where we are right now--transitioning Charlie over from a simplistic communication device to a more complicated one. It has over 130 icons pre-loaded and they're sorted into categories. The icons they use are distinctive and Charlie is already starting to know how to tap the ones we're working on. In my opinion, the best part is that you can actually create your own icons if they don't have the ones you want.
There are two other really great things about this application. First is portability--you just can't beat a program that's sitting on your phone--I mean, you carry your phone around anyway. Now, Charlie and I can practice using augmentative communication while we're sitting in the waiting room of the pediatrician's office.
The second great thing is the appeal factor. I don't know about you guys, but getting Charlie to actually touch his last augmentative device was a trial. He didn't like the thing. My iPhone is the complete opposite--he thinks it's fascinating and will perform heroic feats to get his hands on it.
And then there's the price--at thirty dollars, it's hard to miss. Both of Charlie's previous devices cost more and when we move up to a full-blown system that will probably cost thousands of dollars.
The only drawback I can see is that you will need a certain amount of fine motor control to work the device. It's set up to need a nice, heavy hand to make selections, but you still need to be able to tap with one finger. I suspect Charlie could do it by himself--like I said, casual movements don't activate it, but right now I'm still helping him hold out one finger--I consider that good OT practice as well.
As far as I know, the application can be put on the new iPad that just came out, and having it on that large a screen would definitely make fine motor less of an issue.
My absolute favorite part about getting to try out this application is that I also get to give away a copy to one of you.
I'm not a big giveaway girl--I've got so much talking to do that it's hard for me to give up a day of posting to talk about something that's not on my heart, but this--I thought you guys would be interested.
So leave me a comment--tell me what you'd buy with the thirty bucks you'll save--a couple of lattes, a pedicure? I'll draw a name next Wednesday.
As my parting gift (snicker) I'll leave you with this video of Charlie and I practicing with the application. I'm switching screens and stuff but the voice activating is all Charlie. Please excuse me for finding this kind of funny. . .