Saturday, August 4, 2012

Journal 8: Adaptive Technology


         According to Augmentative & Alternative Communication Centers, augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) strategies assist people with severe communication
         disabilities to participate more fully in their social roles including interpersonal interaction, learning, education, community activities,employment, volunteerism, care management, and so on.

1. Low tech tool for AAC: The low-tech tool I researched was the ChatPC-II.  The ChatPC is a portable, hand-held speech-generating device (SGD) that features a color dynamic display along with both synthesized and digitized speech output.  The device has a few programmed vocabulary sets as well as over 3,000 symbols for customizing to one’s own liking.  A speech synthesizer can either speak the messages or a person can record digitized messages.  Customizing is easy because it can either be done through Windows or on the ChatPC itself.  This type of device can help students that can’t communicate orally to use as a voice.  The device can allow students to interact with other students as well as teachers.  The student can also record words that are spoken and view the digitized messages allowing for enhanced learning.
2. High tech tool for AAC:  The high tech tool I researched was the iPad made by Apple.  The iPad is a touch screen device that allows people to download applications for speech and a variety of other handicaps.  The device allows students the capability of having a lightweight and cost-effective system.  Equipment used by autistic students in the past has been extremely expensive and bulky.  iPads can easily be carried from one place to another.  The device gives students the capability of putting together full sentences by clicking on a few buttons.  Pediatric neurologists and neuroscientists have partnered with iPad to continue to make applications for students with disabilities.  The iPad has made such a positive impact with autistic children.  A mother to an autistic child was quoted as saying, "Steve Jobs did not realize he was giving a voice to the voiceless."


According to, an input device is any device that provides input to a computer.

Hardware Option:  The hardware option of input devices that I researched and was amazed by is the EyeTech TM2.  This device is a mouse replacement that allows the user to place the mouse pointer anywhere on the screen by simply looking at the desired location.  The EyeTech TM2 would be perfect for students that have limited or no hand motion at all.  The student would be able to use the computer in class by using their eye as a cursor.  When the student would like to “click” on a particular area, they can simply just blink their eye slowly or use a hardware switch with their foot.

Software Option:  The software option I chose to research is called the iCommunicator.  This device was created specifically for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.  The tool promotes independent communication as well as an alternative for sign language interpreters.  The device provides students with the ability to translate natural speech to sign language in real time.  Students who are deaf or hard of hearing can be placed in traditional classrooms with the help of this software.  This software can be used on a laptop computer, desktop computer, or iPad with the purchase of the software.  Software, such as iCommunicator, is making huge strides in providing adequate literacy resources for people with a hearing disability.

Some other ideas can be found at the following blogs:


  1. Hi Noah, I was really interested with your research on the iCommunicator. I have worked with students who were deaf, so I could see this tool as very helpful in the student. I like that it allows students independence as well.

  2. One of my students uses an iPod Touch to communicate. Thanks for sharing new software ideas. I have never heard about the iCommunicator or the EyeTech TM2. It's amazing what has been accomplished with technology in the area of AAC.

  3. I really enjoyed reading about the hands-free mouse option. I have seen one of these devices before but not in use. I think it is a good option as a mouse alternative.

  4. Hi Noah,

    iPads have become the Holy Grail of late. I have seen them provide amazing support for my students. It is important for educators/parents to be prepared to train a student on how to use these devices for their benefit. Otherwise, just handing over the iPad often results in increasing social deficits rather than decrease.

  5. That EyeTech device is really cool. I wonder what being cross-eyed would do to it though.