Monday, March 23, 2009

Tango at Home

I was sent this fun video of a boy using his Tango to read books with his mom. I have to say, having just finished a trial with a Tango for a student in my classroom this is a pretty accurate representation of the Tango. Notice how the mom is doing lots of the navigating and linking, that happened with our student too. The Tango has a high cognitive load (i.e. is not very intuitive) for users which means that users with developmental delays or intellectual impairment need higher levels of support with the device compared to other devices, especially navigating/linking. However the voice is just awesome and the smaller number of pictures can be easier for students who have access issues and students with cognitive issues if someone else navigates for them. Another issue I saw was that the icons, well beautiful, are not familiar to students who have used other symbol systems their entire lives. Older users especially may have issues learning a new symbol set. If Mayer-Johnson Picture Communication Symbols or SymbolStix were available this device might make a difference in a lot more lives. I also bet to differ that only a Tango would be comfortable in that setting. What about anything from the Chat series from Satillo or the Palmtop or iChat from Dynavox? How about any of the Lite devices from PRC? Even a Dynavox V would be fine - my student with a V curls up with it on the beanbag chair and even holds it comfortbaly on her lap and talks on the school bus.

Like any other device the Tango might be just perfect for some and not so for others. That is why we do full evaluations, trials and collect data.


  1. I agree with you. The Tango is perfect for some people (I can think of several I work with through respite care) but not necessarily the solution for everyone. I have kids for whom the situation in this video would never be a "comfortable fit" with their AAC because of their need for a "bulkier" system that uses at least one and usually two head switches. Or because only 6 buttons would have them continuously navigating from page to page to actually find the desired message. What I find most intriguing about the Tango is not the device itself but the Phrase First communication and the voices. It would be awesome if the other companies (particularly Mayer Johnson for me) would put out series like that (or do they already?). I'm always struggling with that vocabulary (all my current kids use phrase based rather than word based communicaiton) and Blink Twice seems to have an edge there. Thanks for sharing your experiences with the Tango!

  2. Our son has a Tango. I prefer the icons to those of Boardmaker. I like the portability, the ease of programming, and the voice.
    I found the company easier to work with than Dynavox. The sales people at Dynavox were very nice, but when I dealt with someone at a higher level, he made me feel that as a parent, I was second class to an SLP. Did not appreciate it, and ended up returning the device within the period allowed. Tango staff respect parents.

    I like the phrase-baseed language and all the langauge programmed into the Tango.
    I heard Karen Erickson speak, and bought Tango to Literacy (modeled over Four Blocks), which she helped edit.


Comments and respectful discussion are welcome and encouraged! No advertisements or spamming.

Contact Me at:

Contact Me at:

Visit our advertisers:

Fujitsu Computer Systems Corporation, LLC Try Nick Jr. Boost FREE for 7 Days ... Label the things you love !! Build-A-Bear HearthSong - Toys Outlet