Thursday, December 10, 2009

Fed Up

Once upon a time there was a special needs teacher.  She supported a teenager who used a communication device from Big AAC Company.  The model of his device, the Quick Silver, was older, but not old enough to allow purchase of a new AAC device.  Sadly for the teacher, the teenager and the speech pathologist, the Quick Silver runs software from Giant AAC Company.  Giant AAC Company has grown very huge recently, with their gobbling of smaller companies and so forth.  However, one of their main stay products remains the software that runs on the Quick Silver.

The thing is that every time Quick Silver breaks the teacher or the speech pathologist calls Big AAC Company for support.  Big AAC Company says the issue is a software issue and that they are "no longer allowed" to support Giant AAC Company's software.  This is because Giant AAC Company has decided to make their software licenses unobtainable through pricing or other methods.  The teacher and speech pathologist have been hearing this story of licenses from just about every AAC vendor on earth these days and they are pretty tired of it.  In fact it is making them want to never, ever buy anything from Giant AAC Company again.

However calls and e-mails to Giant AAC Company claim that the issue would either be fixed by paying all sorts of money to upgrade the software or that the issue is not software related at all.  This is only after the teacher and speech pathologist loose hours of work with disappeared programing and the directive from Giant AAC Company to delete the preference files (a very bad idea).  Giant AAC also claims that Big AAC is allowed to support their software, which is an annoying argument to be stuck in the middle of when a teenager is sitting around voiceless.

Something is very wrong with the AAC industry when Big AAC Company and Giant AAC Company cannot manage to support the users they have.  This is almost ironic for the teacher and the speech pathologist because Big AAC Company and Giant AAC Company are both bending over backwards right now to try to sell devices to other teenagers in the same class.

Guess what?  This teacher is voting for Little AAC Company or Less Well Know AAC Company until Big AAC Company and Giant AAC company redirects their focus towards meeting the needs of AAC users.


  1. Good on you for standing up for what's best for your students, must be hellish for them to have no way to voice stuff when equipment isn't working. And shame on the companies for not giving support - the enormous prices paid for this equipment is supposed to be mostly BECAUSE of the support needed isn't it???

  2. Take a look at "my talk". A father developed it for his son once he was fed up like "this teacher".

  3. The Giant AAC company recently ate the small AAC company we bought our son's device from.

    Their lack of customer-friendliness was one reason for not buying from them originally.

  4. This morning I got an early call from UPS. They're dropping off a package from Dynavox today, and will need a signature.

    Friday morning I called Dynavox about their offer to update/tune-up our son's Tango and was given a routing number to write on the outside of the box.
    That afternoon, I paid %60 to mail (and insure) the device to Dynavox in Pittsburgh. I have not heard from Dynavox since.
    I give you one guess as to what UPS will be dropping off.
    I give 100 guesses as to the reason. Your is as good as mine.

  5. Well, I called Dynavox and the tech support person said the start button has been repaired and the tune-up/upgrade has been completed. This is a quick turn-around.

    No one contacted me about the cost of the repair, so now I'm wondering if I will get hit with a big bill. If there is a cost, I would have like to have been contacted before the repair was done.

    I told the rep they should call or email people when these packages are enroute. This turnaround was so fast I thought there had been a glitch, and the repair had not been done. I was going to refuse to sign for the package until I was sure it had been!
    * * * *
    Re your students' problems, I think SLPs and parents who have had problems with the company should approach it as a group. I know you are not alone.
    Why don't you check the yahoo PACT list for help?

  6. Giant AAC company conference called with the SLP and I today. They some techy (and marketing) people on the line. Nothing was really solved with the device as of now. However we have a plan. The SLP emailed some of the problematic boards and some of the not problematic boards to the software people to check. I was sent directions on doing a disk check on the device, with instructions to e-mail the results back to Giant AAC. It sounds like we are running with the theory of it being a Hardware Problem. Which means I need Big AAC Company to step up now. The question in my mind continues to be, "What happens to people who need tech support/help who are NOT popular bloggers?" I didn't start blogging to get extra tech support from companies, I started blogging to share my knowledge and resources with colleagues. I would like some reassurance and some PROOF from Giant AAC (and Big AAC) that they are going to improve their tech/customer support for everyone else.


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