Are you an SLP looking for free AAC apps to use with your students? I am here to tell you to try these FREE AAC apps that will be life-changing for you as an SLP! SLPs need free trials for testing, assessing, modeling and well, trialing with students. AAC equipment and programs can be very expensive. Let me tell you about some FREE apps that you can try with your AAC students.
If you are an SLP, you probably already know that AAC stands for Augmentative and Alternative Communication. AAC is used by people who, some or all of the time, cannot rely on their speech. According to ASHA, “By recent estimates, well over 2 million persons who present with significant expressive language impairment use AAC. AAC users encounter difficulty communicating via speech due to congenital and/or acquired disabilities occurring across the lifespan. These conditions include but are not limited to autism, cerebral palsy, dual sensory impairments, genetic syndromes, intellectual disability, multiple disabilities, hearing impairment, disease, stroke, and head injury.”
A number of AAC options are available to begin the intervention process. Ideally, the decision to introduce AAC should be made in consultation with the consumer, family, and a team of professionals. However, no individual should go without communication, and all individuals should have access to AAC systems that promote effective communication.
Over my years as an SLP, I have used many different forms of AAC. New programs are always being developed and things change a lot in the AAC world over the years. Below are some leading companies and apps in the AAC world and these companies provide you a free copy as a certified SLP.
FREE AAC Apps for SLPs
- Compass Connect App
Created by Tobii Dynavox, the industry leader helping connect lives through communication and learning for over 25 years, the Compass Connect App provides a research-based communication solution for individuals of all ages and abilities who cannot use their natural voice to successfully participate in their everyday lives.
With the ability to quickly customize your communication pages based on age, ability level, and by identifying the topics YOU want to talk about, Compass Connect provides communication that empowers individuals to learn, grow, and achieve their goals. Clinician-developed communication pages are structured to address the unique needs of individuals with autism, cerebral palsy, aphasia, apraxia, Down syndrome, developmental disabilities, ALS and other neurological disorders, traumatic brain injury, and other communication challenges.
- Communicator 5
Communicator 5 empowers people with speech and language disabilities to efficiently convert text and symbols into clear speech. This communication solution also offers control of computers, phones and the home environment including access to a suite of popular social media and entertainment apps. This app is great for high school students and beyond. It even lets them communicate via Facebook Messenger!
- Snap Core First
I recently found out that as an ASHA member you get the FREE, full speaking version of Snap Core First for your iPad. This is my FAVORITE AAC app for nonverbal students.
Here is how to obtain Tobii Dynavox for Professionals:
-First, to register for Tobii Dynavox for Professionals, you will need your own my myTobiiDynavox account.
-Click the “Create an Account” button next to the login button to create your profile.
-Once you have logged into your myTobiiDynavox account, click the “Professionals” box under More Stuff. This is where you will enter your information including your professional membership number or ID.
-If you are an ASHA or SAC member, your membership will be verified immediately. If you are an SLP outside of the US and Canada, or maintain an active membership in a related professional organization, your consideration for membership will be reviewed and you will be notified within a few days.
-Once you have been verified, you will see the “Professionals” title under My Stuff. Click on it. Snap+Core First is available for both Windows 10 devices and the ipad. The Tobii Dynavox Professionals Program offers FREE access to the full speaking version. To choose your version, follow along the links on the downloads tile and pick the version that suits your needs.
-During the Snap+Core First app startup, you will be asked to log in to myTobiiDynavox. Use your new professional account to enable speaking capability.
-Note: You can deactivate the speaking capability on the Snap > Devices tab and enable speech on a different device.
*Snap+Core must also be running 1.1 to use.
- LAMP Word for Life
The LAMP Words for Life language system is a full language program that combines the power of PRC’s Unity language system with Language Acquisition through Motor Planning (LAMP™) principles and strategies. It’s available on the full line of Accent® devices, PRiO® products and as a standalone app for the iPad.
The LAMP Words for Life program is appropriate for a wide range of individuals, from those just beginning to communicate to those with advanced language skills. Throughout the language learning process, the motor patterns used to say words remain consistent to allow for the development of quick and easy communication.
Free copy for SLPS: LAMP Words for Life® has been an app I’ve used with several students and PRC will give clinicians a free copy of their app for use with their students if you complete several of their training courses. Please reach out to the PRC rep for your area for more info on the trainings required to get a free copy.
TouchChat Express is a full-featured communication solution for individuals who have difficulty using their natural voice. It combines the familiarity of the TouchChat app with powerful hardware, amplifier and protective ChatWrap case. This device provides a seamless transition for those who know and love iOS technology. WordPower™ is a word-based vocabulary that is used to create sentences ‘on the fly.’ WordPower was developed by Nancy L. Inman, M.A.T., CCC-SLP specifically for the Chat devices. Contact your representative to find out how to get this app for FREE.
Which one of these apps are your favorites to use for AAC?
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