Saturday, October 18, 2008

Logan's Prox Talker AAC Device

Logan's Prox Talker is an AAC device designed for students who efficiently use PECS (Picture Exchange Communication). The basic idea is that the device replaces a sentence strip at the bottom of a PECS book. The symbols in the PECS book have embedded RFID (radio frequency ID). The device automatically detects what symbol is placed on each of the five buttons, then those buttons are pressed (in sequence) to make a sentence. See the brouchure for more information.

The device is not yet available for purchase, nor is there a listed price, however Jeanette VanHouten shares in the comments that the price listed at Closing the Gap was $3800 (which is more expensive than a Springboard Lite or the ChatPC Silk for comparison). It is supposed to available this fall (although fall is quickly turning to winter...).

While I think the idea and the technology for the Logan's Prox Talker is cutting edge I do have some professional concerns.

PECS is an extremely structured program which should only by done by those trained to implement it. The process of PECS is meant for a specific population of learners and involves multiple steps in teaching communication. PECS is broadly misunderstood and misused. Many people think that if they implement a program of picture symbols that are stored on velcro that it is PECS. Students are often found using PECS style boards and books without having been taught the picture discrimination or communicative intent included in PECS training. I have seen students using 1 inch square picture symbols in a PECS style set up when the student is too visually impaired to possibly see those symbols. I have seen students with PECS style books who never move on from the very early stages of PECS because those offering the book don't know what comes next. I have also seen students who "stim" so much on the tearing of velcro that a PECS style set up is just a set up for failure. It is hard to remember that AAC, including PECS, is not one size fits all, nor should those choosing the AAC system (PECS or otherwise) fall victim to flavor of the month syndrome.

I worry that the Logan's Prox Talker is just another way that PECS can be misunderstood and misimplemented. If users of the Logan's Prox Talker can choose symbols well enough to warrant considering the Prox Talker device perhaps it is time to consider teaching the skills of using a more traditional AAC device where individual symbols play an entire sentence, beyond this the higher level of PECS has students make sentences with their symbols (which the Prox Talker is obviously created for), if students are doing this then a traditional AAC device where students create sentences with symbols is likely indicated. A traditional AAC device is much more likely to allow the students to say anything they wish, rather than be limited to the symbols that they are carrying with them (because although the Prox Talker has 10,000 words in its data base and the ability to add more it can only play the words that the students has on him in at any given time).

I would feel much more comfortable talking about the Logan's Prox Talker is Pyramid Education (the company that own the PECS system) were to add its use to their training manual and to give their seal of approval.


  1. I had a chance to talk to this company at Closing the Gap. The device price is $3800. It will not come with 200 tags but only 100.

  2. This information is a little out of date. The base price for the device is $2,395 which is similar to many other dynamic screen speech generating devices. 100 tags come with the device, but more can be ordered and every tag can be programmed to meet a child's specific needs. The company designed this device to be used with persons who have already mastered PECS. While I agree with the previous commenter that often systems that are NOT PECS are called PECS, as an SLP who works with children who have a variety of moderate to severe developmental disabilities, I was excited to see a device that offers so many words/phrases without relying on dynamic screens. I have found that my kids often do better with lower tech communication devices because they reduce other cognitive demands. However, I have seen first hand the benefit of speech output devices. This device won't work for every child but I think it deserves more credit than the previous commenter gave it.

  3. Hello all. This is Glen Dobbs, president of LLC. I welcome any input or inquiry regarding our device. You can reach us at or email at We developed the Logan ProxTalker for my son Logan who is non-verbal and autistic. It works quite nicely for him. It is my hope that ultimately he will learn to use a higher level AAC device as he progresses. The proxtalker is a great transition from PECS for him and he can still use PECS. We are currently in production.

  4. Lenore Miranda SLP
    I have a student who is blind and cognitively impaired who is learning to use a modified, tactile, "PECS-like" system. I would love to try this device with him as he gets further along in the program since there is no way he can use visual/dynamic screens. We've been stuck using a TechTalk 8 with him which constantly breaks down. Also, there is no way to efficiently switch levels without damaging the tactile symbols. I hope I get the chance to try this with him.

  5. I had the pleasure of meeting Glenn at a conference in Connecticut (June 09)and was very impressed with his device. It far exceeds anything I have seen for use with students who are non-verbal and have cognitive limitations that would lessen the need for more complex sentence structure. In addition, it is highly user friendly which makes it a good choice for paraprofessionals and teachers who are not as tech savvy, thus it would not be as likely to be buried in the student's cubby. As as an SLP, I am anxious to have a chance to use the Proxtalker with two students who fit this description.
    Joan Shaw, SLP


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