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.
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.
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: