iPad as Assistive Technology

A few weeks ago in one of our Instructional Support Services department meetings, I passed the iPad around.  My colleague Marlene was really excited to finally get her hands on one – as one of her main assignments at IU1 is to learn about, train, and support teachers and students with assistive technologies.

One of the most common tools in use for students who have speech challenges is the Dynavox. The Dynavox is one of the tools that Marlene most often trains students and teachers to utlize. The Dynavox website indicates that this tool is designed for folks with a wide variety of challenges – from Autism and Cerebral Palsy, to the effects of a stroke.

Enter iPad and iPad apps.  My colleague Susan stopped in the other day to show me a new iPod Touch/iPad app called “AutoVerbal,” a simple talking soundboard.  I added it to my iPad at a cost of $0.99 from iTunes.

AutoVerbal Customization Page

While it doesn’t have a huge database yet, it is customizable. The video embedded above will give you a pretty good sense of what AutoVerbal can do.  In comparison, the Dynavox costs approxmitely $6000!  So I’d imagine that the iPad is going to change everything in this particular niche of educational technology tools!

For arts educators who have students with special needs mainstreamed into the art or music classroom, this sort of app could also prove invaluable!

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4 Responses to iPad as Assistive Technology

  1. Thanks for the writeup! I got a Google alert that AutoVerbal was mentioned!

    We priced it low ($0.99) to reach a larger audience, and to get feedback, so if you have phrases, etc., that you would like us to add, please let us know! There is a FREE update, pending review from Apple, that adds a Female voice. It should be approved any day now.

    Thanks again and take care!

    • Mary Bjerke says:

      Does anyone know of assistive technology to be used with the ipad or ipod that will take symbols to text? My son is developmentally delayed and has fine motor skills problems, so his writing is all but illegible and I don’t think he will ever be able to master the keyboard in any meaningful way; spelling is also lost on him, so I was wondering if there was anything like “symbols to text” technolgoy… Thank you.

      Thank you!

  2. Lora says:

    I went on iTunes and AutoVerbal has had a HUGE price increase in six months. It is now $9.99 not .99. I have a 4 year old non-verbal daughter that I was considering this purchase for. And for .99 thought it would be a good price to try. Most of the reviews on iTunes say that it is geared more toward adults. I will be holding off on my purchase and looking for a better alternative.

    • Lora,

      As noted, we offered the initial priced of $0.99 to reach a large audience and gain the feedback that will make it (and has made it) better. We’ve updated it several times since and have a major enhancement underway. At $0.99, we were losing money on each sale because of the licensed voice technology, but felt it was worth the extra exposure.

      Also, please keep in mind that there are $4.99 versions which does everything the PRO version does but has ONLY a Male or Female voice (PRO has both and costs $9.99). You don’t need PRO if you have one user. AutoVerbal GirlTalk is $4.99 and if that is too much, I’d be happy to provide a free promo code.

      Compared to $190, it remains a bargain.

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