Sunday, October 31, 2010

Proloquo2Go iPad App vs. Decicated AAC (speech assistance) Devices

This is a guest post by Britney Baker

Proloquo2Go iPad App vs. Decicated AAC (speech assistance) Devices

In today's smartphone era, apps exist for almost every purpose imaginable. Today, I decided to explore how well apps stack up to dedicated devices that serve the same purpose.

AAC Devices- Proloquo2Go

AAC or Augmentative and Alternative Communication devices are devices that help people with communication or speech impediments effectively communicate with others. Most modern devices are tablet or PDA shaped, so wouldn't the iPhone or iPad be an effective alternative?
Proloquo2Go, an app designed for Apple's iDevices, appears to fill that niche. Proloquo2Go offers the same features of any AAC device, but on a platform people are more familiar with. For a self-conscious impaired teenager or young adult, the iPad or iPhone choice might be appealing in that it isn't anything an ordinary person wouldn't carry. One potential problem is the fact that Proloquo2Go is relatively new and not supported by any numbers or results. Despite lack of scientific results, professionals have pointed out that the organization of Proloquo2Go's extensive vocabulary (over 7000 words) is innovative and intuitive compared to other assistive communication vocabularies.

AAC Devices- DynaVox

Another popular AAC option on the market today is the DynaVox Maestro.
Shaped similarly to Apple's iPad, it offers a touch screen and speakers for effective communication. The Maestro also offers additional hardware features not available with the iPad, like a 2 megapixel camera and numerous ports for connecting hardware accessories. The Maestro offers similar software features to Proloquo2Go, including speaking voices and text input.

AAC Devices- Cost Effective?

Though there are minor feature differences between the two options, the main issue for debate is price. Proloquo2Go costs approximately $189 USD. While this seems outrageous compared to other iPhone apps, it is quite a bargain compared to other AAC solutions. However, keep in mind that this is in addition to the cost of the iDevice itself.

DynaVox devices aren't listed with a monetary price. Customers are instead directed to a directory of financial support forms. This is a large difference between the two options. Under current policies, DynaVox devices and similar dedicated AAC devices are covered by Medicare and other health insurance companies. Proloquo2Go, on the other hand, is not, and so all costs have to be covered by the customer.

In summary, while the two options are similar when it comes to features, one may be better than the other when it comes to costs to the user. Proloquo2Go makes sense for people who may already own iDevices while dedicated devices like the Maestro are more practical for those covered by health insurance.

Britney Baker is a freelance blogger who normally ranks prepaid phones for Her latest review covered the Tracphone.

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