Introducing Say Hi! AAC | An iPad Communication App For Those With Limited MovementFebruary 27, 2012 by Bill Strong
No doubt, many physical things have been taken from Gwendolyn by spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). But one of the more frustrating -- for her and for us -- is the ability to speak. SMA never impacts the mind and like any spunky 4-year-old, Gwendolyn has a lot to say. She just can't say it -- at least not in the way we do. She created her own eyeroll/"gah" language to indicate yes and we can communicate some basics pretty effectively with one another. But as Gwendolyn has matured and entered pre-school, her inability to actively communicate wants, needs, and emotions with us, teachers, and peers has become more and more of an issue.
We've tried the Tobii eye-gaze system and while some aspects are exciting, we've had mixed results. It's clunky and antiquated and inconsistent. While it may end up being a useful educational tool for Gwendolyn in a stationary setting, in our experience it definitley doesn't provide an effective solution for true on-the-go communication. We've also tested countless iPad augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) apps and there are many incredible AAC apps out there. But the problem is that Gwendolyn doesn't have the strength to physically manipulate the iPad touchscreen on her own to make the apps "speak." For Gwendolyn and others like Gwendolyn, unfortunately these AAC apps are useless.
So, rather than accept the status quo we decided to harness technology and build an iPad app specifically for those with physically challenging conditions like SMA, ALS/Lou Gehrig's, etc. An AAC app that utilized the extremely portable and flexible iPad platform but allowed those with little to no movement the ability to navigate and "speak" via the iPad without ever having to touch the iPad touchscreen. That's right, an AAC app built specifically for those like Gwendolyn and so many others. And so -- "Say Hi! AAC" was born. Our hope is that Say Hi! AAC will open the world of communicaiton for those with severe physical challenges.
What is it?
- Say Hi! AAC is a first-of-its-kind AAC iPad app with the aim of opening the world of communication for those with severe physical disabilities, limited movement, and/or challenged dexterity.
- The unique app allows the user to communicate via the iPad without ever physically touching the iPad touchscreen.
- It's completely customizable.
- It's available now in the Apple App Store.
- And, it's 100% FREE from the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation (theGSF).
What do you need to use Say Hi! AAC?
- An iPad.
- Two iOS devices -- either iPhone or iPod Touch -- running iOS 4.3 or higher.
- A wireless network.
- And the free Say Hi! AAC app downloaded on all three devices -- the iPad and two other iOS devices.
How can you get Say Hi! AAC?
- Search for "Say Hi! AAC" in the Apple App Store from your iPad or iOS device (iPhone/iPod Touch),
- click HERE to go to iTunes,
- or go to SayHiAAC.com for more information.
How does it work?
- You gotta see this. Click play on the video below to check out how Say Hi! AAC works.