Friday, April 23, 2010

Updated AAC Demands


A couple of years ago I wrote a post of my AAC demands (and in retrospect wasn't it bold of me to make
demands?), with a new Tobii C-Eye in the classroom I thought it might be time to review and renew my demands.  I have to say I am more pleased with the Tobii C-Eye each day we use it, especially the demands that it does meet from that first list, like external volume control and hot swap batteries.  However, there is always room to grow and there are other AAC companies out there, all of whom are probably working on their next generation devices!

So here are my new and updated "demands" (some things have stayed on the list because not all companies listen):
  • AAC content automatically backed up online and available online with full access to family/SLP/school for use when device is down, for troubleshooting by the tech support and for programming
  • external AND internal volume control
  • MP3 (and other music files) played from within the communication software via a MP3 player like set-up (and the ability to stop and MP3 once it starts!)
  • MP4's and videos with the ability to do the same
  • constant, free updating of communication picture symbols
  • bluetooth, SMS messaging, e-mail, built in cell phone calling
  • full array of wireless environmental control options (Tira, x10, infrared...)
  • wi-fi and 3G or 4G options
  • USB, AC, Switch ports you can get at (please don't make us tip over a nearly $20,000 device to plug in the keyboard)
  • built in stands that still work with mounting plates attached
  • integrated eye gaze option
  • add on curriculum packages for schools (both to teach AAC use and to teach content areas - especially literacy)

  • online user communities
  • online SLP/teacher/communication partner/caregiver communities
  • free resources, lesson plans and materials online to prepare for and teach students who have or will be getting a device (like PRC has)
  • free materials sharingbb
  • accelerometer
  • better voices, especially child and teen voices
  • automatic grammar correction and verb tensing (like on Proloquo2Go)
  • automatic data collection/analysis/graphing, perhaps with a way to switch data collection on/off for when a communication assistant helps (this would be pretty easy on eye gaze systems or even switching systems - collect data if selections are made with eye gaze or switches, do not collect data if selections are made by mouse or touch screen)
  • option to run the device via morse code or power chair joystick (why are companies dropping these options? to those who use them they are vital!)
  • always excellent customer support (recently our rep from Tobii actually came and set up the mounting system for our student's new Tobii, in all our years using other AAC companies I always battled the mounts with the assistance of the PT and Deassy on the phone, that kind of customer support made me want to have every student pick a Tobii)
  • better tech support (seriously, I should not get fantastic tech support because I am a blogger, with an option to e-mail the big wigs, while everyone else gets hit or miss support and instructions to do stupid things like delete the preference file or re-install the software) and to state the obvious we can search the knowledge base ourselves, tech support needs to do better than that!
  • up-to-date, cross referenced knowledge base and no registration needed to access them
  • sharing sites for communication software
  • every device comes with 2 AC chargers, FREE
  • free one or two week trials of devices (yeah, we should pay for shipping and maybe insurance)
  • lower rental rates
  • lower purchase rates (or else all direct selectors will have iPads with Proloquo2Go, not that that is a bad thing!)
  • low cost handheld, "palmtop" AAC devices (smaller than the Xpress, more dedicated than an iPod with P2G)
  • teeny, "screenfree" device for the blind that can be accessed via auditory scanning, morse code and other "sight-free" methods and attached to another computer for programming
  • smaller screen or "mini-screen" on the communication partner's side of the device to help the partner understand and cue the user, if not possible at least some kind of indicator light or something that lets the partner know if the user is formulating a message or is just "zoned out" (what we call "being a teenager")
  • option of a communication partner main page that links to every page on the device
  • multitouch that can be turned on and off (because multitouch can be a problem for some users)
  • completely waterproof devices (there is a company that does a special spraying of electronics to make this possible)
  • completely glare proof screen options
  • take PRC's lead and allow trial downloads of communication software or Tobii's lead and send out the discs of a trial version of the software
  • also taking Tobii's lead and issuing two copies of the communication software with every device purchase (one for school or SLP and one for home)
  • devices should have case (in colors that match devices) AND built in handles (don't want to be dropping these expensive items!)
  • more options for live and web based trainings at all levels, basic, advanced and extremely advanced
Most importantly responsiveness to users and their SLPs, communication assistants, teachers and caregivers - you should be assessing our needs, surveying us and asking us what we think - and then doing it!


  1. This updated ACC is looking great, your offer is really very good, i am going to check this out and i am sure this will be helpful in teaching.

  2. great list. I am a huge fan of these two:
    -teeny, device for the blind that can be accessed via auditory scanning, morse code and other "sight-free" methods and attached to another computer for programming
    -smaller screen or "mini-screen" on the communication partner's side of the device
    and would love to add
    "the ability to send notes/secrets or hold a private conversation if out of wireless range or computer range via an old style tape printer and also have the ability to use the device as a through put for any other switch access device so you never have to unplug your main switches but can add extra items into your AAC device and select that output.


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