Can I call you? Making phone calls with AAC Apps

Old rotary dial phone cartoon

Last year, Assistiveware announced a really exciting update for their AAC apps. You can actually use the phone, or Facetime, while using the app to communicate. For a long time, Apple’s noise cancelling software had made this impossible. 

When do you want to talk? message on Proloquo2Go AAC screen.

Now, you can start a call from your Apple iOS device, and go back into the Proloquo2Go or Proloquo4Text app. This will not work on a MAC. The person you are calling will see you, but hear your augmented voice. It is a good idea to add a clarification message to your Chat folder, “I am using this device to talk with you.  Please be patient, I am not a robocall!” Since Proloquo2Go also allows you to use Split Screen, you should be able to both see your caller and use the app. This will change the motor plan for accessing your vocabulary, but those who rely on vision may find this convenient.

TOuchChat AAC screen with "Can I call you?" message.

In January, TouchChat HD with WordPower also added the ability to make a Facetime call while using your AAC. It works the same way: Launch your Facetime call and then go back into the TouchChat app. You will first have to go into app settings and select your “Phone/Facetime Voice”. This will be one of the built-in iOS voices. 

Why is this so important? People who can’t speak have the same need to access telephony as the rest of us! They might need to call a doctor, check in with their boss, or order a pizza with extra cheese. I strongly believe it is important not to limit our view of AAC as being just for face to face communication. 

Calling someone from your AAC could be a highly motivating activity for therapy! Right now, this is limited to contacting people who also have Apple devices, but who knows what the future holds?

For a good while, it has been possible to make calls from dedicated communication devices.  However, you also need to have a particular model of an Android phone that will pair with your speech-generating device. 

Bringing telephony to AAC app users is a great step towards making this important means of connection more accessible and more affordable. 

Do you have a disability that makes it difficult to use the phone? Find out more about Pennsylvania’s Free Phone program:

Free Special Phones Link

Kathryn Helland

Kathryn is a certified speech-language pathologist and works with children and adults with complex communication needs. She has been with the TechOWL team since 2015 and is currently working on her doctorate. She would like to examine how to best support AAC users in higher education.

2 comments on “Can I call you? Making phone calls with AAC Apps

  1. Hello Kathryn, Thank you for getting the word out about this important new feature. Please know that this feature is also available on Proloquo4Text. However, I am not sure if you are clear enough that the ability to make phone and FaceTime calls is an iOS feature. Our Proloquo2Go and Proloquo4Text Mac apps do not have this feature – only the iOS apps. and

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.