SPEAKall! App Review
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I’m excited to be reviewing an AAC App today. SPEAKall! is an Interactive Augmentative and Alternative Communication Application, often referred to as an AAC app. It can help facilitate speech and language development. It allows the learner or facilitator to communicate by choosing illustrations and pictures within the app to create a sentence. It comes with a lot of basic but clear illustrations for feelings, foods, people, needs, and possible wants. You can also upload your own photos into the application to use as picture cards. I love this feature because getting the learner to understand and connect with the images is essential in using this program. SPEAKall! was developed by SPEAK MODalities and it was created at Purdue University. They have created a wide amount of support and help with this app including video tutorials. You can view the tutorials through the app on the main page.
When you enter the app, You will be asked to create an Account or enter your login information. You can choose to not create an account and still use this app but having an account gives you access to a community feature that is called SPEAKtogether!. SPEAKtogether! gives additional support and updates regarding the app. After you have gotten past the login, choose “Administrator” found on the main page.
As an Administrator, you can create learner profiles, upload custom illustrations, adjust the activities seen by the learner, and so much more. To start, create a learner profile found in the bottom right corner on the Administrator Page. You can have one learner profile with the free version of this app, two learner profiles with the premium version and unlimited learner profiles with the premium plus version. You can customize options for each learner profile and they are saved automatically so you should only need to adjust them periodically or as wanted. At first when I was trying out this app, I was worried because the learner needed to drag and drop all of the pictures into the speaking strip. This could be difficult for those that struggle with fine motor skills. Luckily, when I went back into the learner settings, I realized you can choose between a one touch mode or a drag and drop mode. I was happy and relieved. Some other great customized features that are included in the learner settings include: a screen lock, the type of audio used, and changing the order of the illustrations. With the premium and premium plus versions of the Speakall! app, you are able to choose between 4 different synthesized voices, and choose the rate of speech (ex:slow, medium, fast).
To upload photos and illustrations into the learners’ activities, you will search for “Media Collections” found in the Administrators’ page. You can choose “Add Collection” which will give you a chance to name the collection and upload photos. You will also need to record the name of each photo so that audio can be used. To sort the photos into the activities you will click on one of the Activities or create a new activity choice. When you choose an activity, the media library will be below. You can change the collection and find your photos to add. You can organize them however you choose. Once everything is set up, you are ready to play. This time, rather than choosing “Administrator” when you enter the main menu, you will choose “Play”. It should bring up a menu of activities that are full of the pictures you have organized. For the learner, it is simple. They can click on the illustrations that are available to them. Every time they click on a picture, the audio will speak the name of the picture and it will be put it into the sentence strip. The learner can choose many pictures to form a sentence and then remove them by pressing “Return to Original”.
What’s Great About This App
This app is full of great ideas and has great support. I love the video tutorials and instructions provided on the main page. You will likely need the instructions and help at first because it can be a little confusing and there are a lot of options to choose between. Because it is often used in your everyday schedule and may be with the learner all the time, getting it set up correctly is essential. Every once in while, the app froze on me and I had to force quit the app and get back in. Once I re-entered the app, it worked great for a long time with no problems. I was impressed with the amount of options available and the different learner profile settings. I also love that you can add your own images and audio. The included illustrations are very basic and so personalizing those is key. I would recommend this app to those who are non-verbal that require an assisted Augmentative and Alternative Communication program. I also love that this system is relatively affordable when comparing it to other similar programs.
The SPEAK MODalities website provides evidence based methods and learnings aids to improve the quality of communication for those with speech delays or Autism. At the time of writing this review SPEAKall! Premium retailed for $24.99. SPEAKall! Premium Plus retailed for $39.99. There is also a free version to try out before purchasing.