There are many AAC devices and apps out in the market now to choose from. It can be overwhelming to decide what might be the best for a particular person. I recently completed the online training for Proloquo2go and wanted to share what I believe to be the pros and cons of this app.
PROS of Proloquo2go AAC App
- Vocabulary: Proloquo2go has a large customizable vocabulary system that is folder based. There’s vocabulary set up on the main page that are core words, with fringe folders to go to in order to add more specific vocabulary to your sentence.
- Organized with modified Fitzgerald Key for easier word finding:
- question words-black
- Organized with modified Fitzgerald Key for easier word finding:
- Advanced grammar option allows you to easily conjugate verbs, or add plural or possessive markers.
- The clues folder allows a user to learn to describe an object and talk around a word that may not be programmed in his/her device. This folder is a great way to expand expressive language and describing skills as well as repair communication break downs when a word is not easily accessible. In the clues folder you can tell a person:
- it is not on my device
- ask me a question about it
- I don’t know
- you are way off, getting close etc.
- the word is part of ___
- the word is the opposite of ___
- it is in ___ category
- ask a yes/no question
- Action words are divided into groups for easier navigation:
- helpers: auxiliary verbs
- thinking verbs
- sensing verbs: words that deal with our five senses
- telling verbs: words that deal with communication
- thing: actions you do to an object
- body: actions you do to a body
- having: possession verbs
- making: action words that create
- place: travel or location verbs
- Adjectives are divided into groups for easier navigation:
- There’s a variety of access methods: Proloquo2go can be accessed using direct selection (touching the iPad with your finger to make a button speak) or by using the iPad as a switch or an external switch. In addition there are different scanning options you can adjust depending on a person’s physical limitations to make it as easy as possible to use desired words.
- It’s easy to edit: Proloquo2go is very easy to edit. You can change the location of vocabulary to fit your needs. You can easily add or delete words. You can move words that are more frequently used to more primary pages and less frequently used words to secondary pages. You can also choose how many buttons are available on the screen at a time to decrease visual distractions.
- It’s kid proof: You can set a password so that a child cannot get in to the editing and accidentally create or delete buttons.
- A variety of resources are available: There is a users manual on the AssistiveWarewebsite as well as videos and FAQs. In addition there are Facebook groups for users to get questions answered from the developer or other users.
- Supports social sharing capability: A user can email, Facebook, Twitter or copy and paste a message created in Proloquo2go so that they are able to communicate with peers with social media.
- It’s easy to save, transfer and restore data: Using an iTunes, Dropbox or wifi connection, you can save any editing you completed so that if something happens to the iPad or app, you have all of your user preferences backed up and don’t have to start from square one.
- Recents view: A recent view allows you to see what buttons have been activated in the last 15 min., 30 min., day etc. This feature allows you to go back to say phrases you say frequently without completely retyping the phrase. It also can give you an idea of what vocabulary the user is using to track what vocabulary may need to be taught.
- Macros buttons: Macros buttons change over time allowing you to have buttons that do things such as tell you the correct day of the week, time, battery charge level, year etc.
- Expressive power: This is a great feature that allows users to express themselves in a more natural tone of voice. It uses the many programmed voices to provide natural expressions such as excitement, frustration, boredom etc through change of intonation and pitch of the voice.
CONS of Proloquo2go
- Can be difficult to navigate: Vocabulary in a folder based system can be difficult to navigate if a person does not have the language understanding of what categories an object should be found in. In addition this app allows for words to be found in multiple places so it can become confusing as to where the word is and what is the easiest route to retrieve a word.
- Unused and unnecessary vocabulary: Easy editing can mean easily adding many fringe words that are not used frequently by the user. This can mean bogging down a system with vocabulary that may be only used in a certain situation or even only once or twice by a person before the word is abandoned. This may not be as efficient as talking around a word or using core vocabulary to describe.
- This app may not be easily used by people with motor planning difficulties: People who have difficulty motor planning benefit from an app that has static buttons that are always in the same place so that they can learn the motor plan to find a word. When words are found in multiple places it is difficult to build solid motor plans. In addition some words may be found a few folders deep making it not the most efficient way to get a word out if a person has trouble with motor movements.
- Vocabulary does not stay in the same place: When going from the basic user to the core vocabulary user, vocabulary can move and shift slightly making it somewhat difficult to find words. In addition a slight shift in words may be seen when increasing the number of buttons viewed on a page. This may become frustrating for a user if they are always searching for vocabulary.
- Scrolling may become a hindrance to quick communication: If scrolling is turned on a child may visually stim on scrolling words. If it is turned off then they may be slowed by having to press an extra “page up” or “page down” button to find a word they are looking for.
- Can be overwhelming and inefficient: A user could possibly become overwhelmed by the vocabulary being in different places, navigating through a variety of buttons to find a word, scrolling through pages for words, and not having consistency with pulling language from the same place every time. If a person has a lot of language programmed in proloquo2go, but that language takes multiple button hits to get to they may become frustrated with the lack of ease of use in which they are able to express themselves.
No AAC application is one size fits all. It is important to talk with a speech pathologist about the pros and cons of any AAC app and to find one that meets your individual needs. This article is intended to be a reference as to features that Proloquo2go contains that may be helpful for successful AAC use.
Where to Buy
Proloquo2go – Download $249.99(usd)
Developer Website: www.assistiveware.com
Note: This hands-on review by Terri Smock was originally featured on www.SmilesTherapy.com S.M.I.L.E.S. is a highly regarded organization dedicated to providing children with the necessary skills to build a successful future. S.M.I.L.E.S provides a comprehensive range of pediatric speech-language pathology services to families in the Greater Cincinnati, tri-state area. Visit them online at www.smilestherapy.com