Friday, April 29, 2011

Using Technology to Talk

This morning, I put some truth to the phrase "lifelong learner".

I went to Lily's school for a meeting and an iPod Touch tutorial.  While using all this technology is no big thing for the Bird, it doesn't come quite as easy for me.

Lily is using her iPod Touch along with an Augmentative and Alternative Communication app called Proloquo2go.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that it's very user friendly.  Or at least what I learned today was simple!

Here's what the home page looks like on her Touch.

And here's a close up so you can maybe see the choices a little bit better.

All of the those little boxes are things Lily can choose to click on depending on what she would like to communicate.  Since this is still new to us, we eliminated some of the boxes on Lily's screen so it's not quite so much to look at.

I think this is pretty fascinating stuff so I'm going to walk you through how she might use this to let me know she would like a snack.

Lily would first select the box labeled "Categories" which would take her to a new screen that looks a little something like this:

Next, she would select the category titled "Food and Drinks", automatically taking her to another screen that has more little boxes to choose from titled "Breakfast", "Lunch", "Dinner", "Snacks", and so on....

Lily would then select the box labeled "Snacks".

If at this point you're wondering how she knows "Snacks" from "Breakfast" since she can't read yet, it's all about becoming familiar with the pictures.  Just like my big girls could "read" McDonalds before they could really read.  This works the same way.

Once Lily is on the "Snacks" screen, those little boxes are now pictures of foods such as pretzels,  Goldfish, raisins, peanuts, Cheerios, etc....  She then chooses her preferred snack and shows me the screen.

Easy as pie!

You might think working through those screens would be complicated but not so for the Bird.  Actually, it's quite easy for all the kids at Lily's school.  I've been so impressed watching them just go to town with all this technology like they were born to do it.

One other feature that I learned about today was a speaker attachment.

Basically, I can attach a small, portable, and very lightweight speaker to the Touch and then every box Lily selects, the Touch will "speak" that word out loud.  Loud enough to be heard in a restaurant, or when Mom is cooking supper, or while sitting at a table with friends at lunch, for example.

What makes this so much fun is it allows for Lily to "converse" with someone.  If a friend asks what she is having for a snack, she can push the box labeled "pretzels".  Just today, I observed her having her snack and using the Touch to "talk" with a peer.

Of course, "Food and Drinks" is just one of the choices.  We can create categories for Outside Play, Inside Play, Bedtime Routine, Morning Routine, and all kinds of stuff.  There's really no limit since we can input exactly what we need into the device.

I am so excited about the possibility of opening yet another avenue of communication with my baby girl!


  1. That is so awesome and amazing!!! I love that it gives her a voice and let's her engage in communication like that!

  2. Awesome! Where does she go to school? and, is this something I could get in the iPhone? I can look into this for Berkeley! Thanks for sharing, Lana! Oh, and I love the new layout of your blog! - Julie

  3. I love this! I am going to pass this along to my Sp Ed teacher friends. (I sub a ton in their classrooms, and this might be something they would be very interested in.)


  4. Julie - yes, you can get the proloquo app on an iPhone. I bet Berkeley will catch on quickly and love it!


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