What are some of the alternatives to purchasing an elaborate paperweight (AAC device that does not get used! Just like how your exercise machine becomes a coat rack)? The one I would most recommend is purchasing computer software if you are just looking for something for practice. The two big companies that come to mind are Parrot Software and Bungalow software. I do not have a lot of experience with Parrot, but my facility does use Bungalow. I leave you to make up your own mind. I do know that you can get a CD from Bungalow that has all of their programs in a demo format. Are all of the programs the way I would do a program? No, but that’s not to say that they aren’t useful for certain types of activities. You can customize the programs to make them harder or easier. For about $100, you can own one of the programs and use it all you want. $100 versus $15000 seems like a good deal.
There are also the old-fashioned types of communication devices, namely communication books. These are just small photo albums or notepads with some words or pictures already written in them. To be used successfully, the persons with aphasia should be able to find the items in their categories and point to what they want to say. I’m sure it isn’t wonderful from the person with aphasia’s viewpoint, but there are some folks with severe aphasia for whom this type of book could be appropriate.
I am currently reviewing a new device set-up for persons who can type some letters to know what they want to say. This system was sent to me by Dick Myers out of Washington state. I’ll provide more details later after a thorough review. Technology is a good thing, and there are several free programs available online that can also help you with your goals. ReadPlease allows you to copy and paste information into the web screen so the computer can read it to you. I will list more programs if there is an interest. See you next week!