Wednesday, December 6, 2006

AAC Device Pet Peeves

In the past three years I have worked with at least five different high tech dynamic display AAC devices. All of the devices I reference below were purchased in the past three or so years (the speech therapist on my team is very over worked). Here are some of my pet peeves of working with the devices:

  1. some very recently purchased devices use obsolete or inadequate operating systems - i.e. Windows 98
  2. frequent need to reboot, soft reset or other method of restarting the system, especially when programming - wasting valuable time
  3. some are very difficult to back up to a secondary location, leading to a possible loss of hours of work
  4. incomplete symbol systems without an easy means for the user or programmer to extend or add to the symbol set
  5. broken promises from device vendors regarding training and support
  6. a few devices have low parent/para friendliness factor - programmer tends to need high level of training
  7. repairs are expensive - shipping alone can blow your budget
  8. repairs take too long leaving the user with no means of communication
  9. repairs are needed FAR too frequently
  10. difficult to block users from programming controls (we've resorted to pad locks on the cases of some devices and we still haven't totally stopped the problems)
  11. glare problems
  12. poorly designed wheelchair mounting systems causing very expensive devices to fall over or off the mount - the best wheelchair mount in my classroom is made from spare parts I scraped together
  13. carrying case is not included, leaving us to improvise with egg crate foam pads and donated tote bags
  14. short battery life - some can't even make it a full school day
  15. irreplaceable parts lead to some devices being junked (and users being without devices) long before the five year insurance limit for new devices is up

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