Proloquo2Go

Proloquo2Go is just one of an increasing number of communication 'apps' that can meet the needs of a range of people with communication difficulties such as teenagers and young adults who want a communication aid with the appeal of the iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad.

When looking at apps for communication we recommend taking a look at www.appsforaac.net, as it describes a range of similar and related communication-based products, including word predictors.

Proloquo2Go can be used by children and adults with autism, cerebral palsy, down syndrome, developmental disabilities, acquired communication impairments, etc. It uses word-based construction and phrases, enabling the user to chat with a friend, answer questions, or construct a story. It will work on iPad, iPod Touch, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3Gs and iPhone 4, taking up about 250MB of memory.

The iPad has a significantly larger screen than the iPod Touch and iPhone and therefore allows grids of up to 64 onscreen items to be used, as opposed the maximum of 24 items on the iPhone-style devices. An iPad screen is shown below:

Proloquo2Go screen on an iPad

Proloquo2Go Version 1.3 supports landscape and portrait view, plus device rotation. The toolbar has also been redesigned for easier access to core functions, and additional appearance settings have been added.

Symbols

Proloquo2Go supports picture and/or text-based communication. It has almost 8000 built-in SymbolStix symbols, and the message window shows both text and symbols. In Typing view the iPhone, iPod or iPad keyboard can be used to type a paragraph, and once this is saved the text is automatically symbolised. For the iPad and iPhone 4, a keyboard dock can be used for typing words and phrases onto the device. External (Bluetooth) keyboards are now possible using iOS4 on all iPod/iPhone/iPad devices.

Speech

Proloquo2Go uses Acapela artificial speech (one language, initially only British and American English). The current version includes North American English male, female, girl and boy voices. These can be swapped for British English voices (at no additional cost), which can be downloaded over Wi-Fi from within Proloquo2Go. Support for other languages and voices is in the pipeline. Downloading the additional voices may take up another 100-400 MB, depending on the number of voices downloaded and their size.

While the iPhone 3G, 3GS, 4 and iPod Touch 2G have tiny built-in speakers, in many situations the user will want the extra volume provided by external speakers as the voice will otherwise be too quiet. External speakers will cost extra and there are many to choose from (supplied by a number of mainstream manufacturers).

Access

Proloquo2Go can be used through the multi-touch display of the iPod Touch, iPad and iPhone by the user. External keyboards are also available. A stylus may be helpful for some users, although regular styluses used with other touchscreen devices won't work - you'll need a Pogo stylus, available from Therapy Box. All Apps are touchscreen operated so switch access is not an option at present, although this situation will change.

On all devices there is a built-in screen reader (titled VoiceOver) support for playback of closed caption content and allows a gesture-based reading system of all screen elements with visual impairment. It is worth stating that this can be difficult to learn at first as the gestures are quite different from the normal usage. One useful feature that is worth considering turning on is “speak auto-text”. This provides auditory support for words that are about to be predicted in text areas.

For the visually impaired there is also a Zoom feature built into the operating system of iOS. This allows movement around the screen into four large areas. It however cannot be used with voiceover on. There are two other features – Large Text – increasing the text size across the device and “White on Black” which swaps white backgrounds for black and vice versa.

Auditory scanning

Not an available option.

Vocabularies

Proloquo2Go comes with the VocaSpace vocabulary, and although it covers a wide range of communication needs it’s meant to be used as a starting point for building your own custom vocabulary. It has a number of primary features:

  • A core vocabulary system called Word Spaces
  • A Basics section with categories such as: greetings, manners, questions, thoughts, jokes, about me and more.
  • Extensive categories such as living creatures, colours, places, people, transportation, etc.
  • My Spaces where you can put a range of personal vocabulary such as My People, My Places, My Family, My Friends, etc.
  • An alternative keyboard that is larger than the default iPhone and iPod Touch keyboard (only works within the grid/list view).
  • Starters are a way to quickly branch using phrases and words
  • Spaces is a place to launch out into context specific categories. The primary Spaces are Home, Community, School and Work. Inside each Space is a section for activities, chat phrases and whatever else you would like to include. School includes a wide range of school related vocabulary.
  • Automatic conjugations, automatic plurals, and possessives for nouns. Hold one of the items to automatically get access to conjugations, plurals or possessives.

Changing and adding vocabulary does not require access to a computer but can be done on the fly anytime anywhere. Items can be cut, copied and pasted, and tapping the Plus button will add an item to your vocabulary. You can select a symbol for your new item in the Symbol Chooser or pick a photo from your library, or, on the iPhone, take a picture.

You use the Typing view for typing full paragraphs, and the Plus button can be used to permanently add a sentence to your vocabulary in your category of choice. One-button addition of new vocabulary items and categories is possible. The Typing view is shown below:

The Proloquo2Go Recents view enables quick access to recently spoken items for the last 15 minutes, last hour and up to one week back:

Proloquo2Go screen

The Proloquo2Go Recents view enables quick access to recently spoken items for the last 15 minutes, last hour and up to one week back.

Other features

  • There are a large range of accessories available for these devices, for example speaker cases with integrated speakers and a plastic screen to protect the touchscreen. Bluetooth (wireless) speakers are also available.
  • If you want to record voice messages on the iPod Touch you will need an external microphone (The iPad and iPhone have built in microphones).
  • The Grid or List view allow the user to quickly tap items that optionally speak as they get inserted into the Message window. 

Settings 

The Proloquo2Go section of the iPhone/iPod/iPad Settings App allows customisation for the user; disabling images, item size, change background and text colors, restrict editing, interactivity, speech and more.

You can manage an ipod/ iPad/ iPhone from your iTunes account from a maximum of five different computers. You can sync as many iPods, iPads and iPhones as you like with one account (ie you can buy Proloquo2Go once and have it running on ten iPods). However the iPods have to be registered to the same person which could be useful when supplying more than one device. Each user would be unable to manage or customise their own account (eg download their own music or Apps) if devices are purchased in this way. Gift cards can be purchased to the value of £110 in order for individuals to then install the Proloquo2Go software to their own device and iTunes account.

Purchasing

Note that the Apple device is different than most AAC devices. Hardware (ie Pads, iPods and iPhones) are purchased from any supplier that you can find (e.g. the Apple store online, shops, Amazon etc.) and software is solely distributed by the digital only Apple Store. When you purchase your device you have to “sync” it with a computer. At this point you need to register the device and create an account with apple. For this you either need a credit card or you can put a Apple iTunes gift card against your account. This is so you can make purchases in the future. Once created you can download software directly onto the iOS device (using the AppStore app) or in your copy of iTunes. But do note: you cannot swap purchases from one account to another! If you are a school and you need to purchase Proloquo2Go for a child it maybe fine to have an appstore account as a school user – but be aware that it can get difficult if the individual then wants to put their own photos, music or apps on the device. It maybe more suitable to buy iTunes gift cards for the family and ask them to buy the software that way. Do note though once you have bought the software you can run it under that same Apple account on as many devices as you like at no additional cost. So if you are a school you can run ten devices, each a replica of one another, paying for just the hardware. You can though only “sync” the devices on a maximum of 5 computers.

Links

www.appsforaac.net

Specification

Supplier(s): AssistiveWare
Therapy Box
Access method Plug-in keyboard, Touchscreen
Speech type Mainly Artificial
Multiple user facilities Yes
Second language support Yes
Message view Text and symbols
Options for speeding up message creation Prediction (word), Prediction (grammatical)
Editable dictionary Yes
Auditory scanning Not available
Cell magnification No
Environmental control No
Guide price £110
Price notes:

Software available direct from the Apple iTunes website (www.itunes.com) or as part of a communication bundle from Therapy Box.

Vocabularies included n/a
Other compatible vocabs

Note that the information above is correct to the best of the ACE Centre's knowledge, but check with the supplier(s) if in doubt. We would be grateful if you could let us know of any errors - email speechbubble@ace-centre.org.uk

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