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It is not our intent to review every app or media device that has been or will soon be released. Rather our goal is to provide a framework, based upon well established clinical considerations for feature matching a person's strengths and needs to available tools and strategies (Shane and Costello, 1994), and apply that to comparing and selecting an iDevice platform and apps (refer to Table). Only through an informed clinically based selection, can we minimize the emerging trend toward selecting communication apps based on the robustness of media coverage, public testimonials or recommendations from well meaning friends and family.
To this end, a chart was created to detail the features known to be vital considerations for a broad profile of people with complex communication needs. Not all of these features currently exist in apps thus highlighting the need to match a person’s needs to the right tools and strategies and NOT try to fit a person to a specific platform or app. In addition, this chart should be considered as dynamic ( the number of communication apps is constantly growing as is the scope of available features).
Feature Matching Communication Applications Chart (PDF)
To better understand the application of the chart, a case study will illustrate application of the assessment process and use of the app feature matching process/chart.
Nancy, a 69-year-old woman with Bulbar ALS was seen in August 2010 (Table 1.1 & 1.2)
Information gathered during assessment
Key App Features based on information gathered during the assessment
In Nancy’s case, the iPad is a tool that meets most of her communication needs, serving as her primary communication system. Recommendations in addition to the iPad during the AAC consultation included use of pen and paper (for written messages) and a low-tech alphabet board. Yet the iPad will be used as her primary tool due to the voice output features, ability to pre-store messages, and word prediction (thus enhancing the rate of communicative interactions). Assistive Chat was selected as the primary communication app, matching key features that Nancy needs within her price range (Table 1.2).
In Nancy’s case, both Prolqou2go and Easy Speak had just as many “matched” features to the final app choice. Yet in trialing them in the assessment with Nancy, she voiced a clear preference for Assistive Chat (due to quality of voice and what she described as “the best prediction”); thus stressing the importance of step four in Table 1.2.
ASHA Perspectives, July, 2011
Using a Clinical Approach To Answer “What Communication Apps Should We Use?” (PDF)
Gosnell, Costello & Shane
ASHA Leader, October 11, 2011
Apps: An Emerging Tool for SLP's
Family fun Day announcement
Communication Profile Template
Cursor Access to keyboard and Mouse
Cursor Access to Keyboard and Mouse for MAC
Inpatient Communication Profile
Zangari and Soto Announcement
Preserving Legacy: being Proactive with ALS, Message Banking and Low Tech
ISAAC 2014 Lisbon, Portugal July 19-24
Jenny Abramson: Visual Smorgasbord: Unique Visual to expand lang ASD
Costello and Santiago AAC in the Intensive Care
Costello and Dimery: Message Banking and Operational Considerations
Russell, S. and Buxton, J. Access is the Key
Rebecca (Therriault) McCarthy and Vicki Haddix
Non-Negotiable Strategies for AAC Support
Domains of Assessment and Feature Matching
Comm and Language
Comm and Tech
NORWAY ISAAC Costello, J.M. April 2013
AAC in the ICU
Errorless Co-construction of Language
AAC and CVI
Caron, Buxton and Rice: SUCCESS WITH SWITCHES: BALANCING THE TASK AND TECHNOLOGY
Costello and Santiago: AAC In ICU and Acute Care
Costello: Message Banking
Lecture 1 Opening Lecture
Lecture 2: Changing Role of the SLP in Hospital
Lecture 4: Message Banking and Creating Legacy
Lecture 7: AAC and CVI
Lecture 8: AAC an Erroless Co-Construction of Meaning for Language Learning
Lecture 10: Banquet Keynote: AAC and Finding a Voice; Reflection on the Hong Kong State of Practice
DRAFT GUIDE FOR MESSAGE BANK: This guide features the working definitions and terminology being used when introducing the concept of 'Message Banking"
MESSAGE BANKING: Messages banked by many people with ALS in the event they need to use a speech generating device July 2012. (part of the evolving BCH Augmentative Communication Protocol for Message Banking)
Costello AAC in the ICU: New Standards and Professional Preparedness
AAC and EI Building a Foundation (Berg EI.pdf)
AAC ICU/Acute Care (Pritchard.pdf)
CVI Complex Needs (Costello.pdf)
Think outside the box with apps (Gosnell.pdf
Visual and Tech to Support Language ASD Abramson&Laubscher.pdf
Role of OT in AAC, (Russell.pdf)
Costello and Pritchard ASHA 2010
Preoperative Voice / Message Banking
Costello, Voice Banking in Pediatric ICU
AAC Intervention in the ICU: The Boston Children's Hospital Model
Communication vulnerable patients in the pediatric ICU: Enhancing care through AAC
Last words, Last connections: How Augmentative Communication Can Support Children Facing End of Life
Dynamic Display Examples
These power point 'dynamic displays' were created to support our patients and families to have experience and practice with navigating dynamic pages while waiting to purchase a commercial software program or arrange a trial with a dynamic display speech generating device.
Speckled Frogs PowerPoint
Chase Me PowerPoint
To access the slides missing from the 4/24 Needleman Conference "Evidence-Based Communication Treatment for Children with ASD", please click on the link below.
Evidence-Based Communication Treatment for Children with ASD Conference Slides
We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”