We’re very fortunate that Tink is now pretty verbal, but there was a time, not so long ago, that we weren’t sure if she was ever going to talk. Even now, most of what she says is learnt or copied speech (although used in the right context) and echolalia. However, she can usually make her wants and needs known and is able to express her feelings pretty well too.
For those with additional needs who aren’t verbal, or are pre-verbal, or maybe selectively mute, meaningful communication becomes very tricky. That’s why communication apps are beginning to be a valuable resource for families.
The CommBoards app is available for android devices (an iOs version for Apple products is in production) and is a really simple way to encourage communication. It’s available in 5 languages at present, including Polish and Spanish.
Once you set up a user – you can add a photo – you’re good to go. Then, it’s simply a case of pressing the pictures you want to create a sentence! The sentence is then read out by the app.
Touching the ‘to eat’, ‘to drink’ etc pictures opens up a further menu:
But, the best part about this app is that you can edit the cells, or even add your own!
You can record your voice so that you’re able to add your own items to the menus. For example, you might add a photo of your child’s favourite toy or meal, and then record the name so that they are able to ask for it.
What I like about the CommBoards app in comparison to some other AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) apps I’ve seen, is that you are able to edit the cells to suit you. Tink doesn’t respond brilliantly to drawn pictures, but show her a photo of something and she’s away. There is unlimited creation of new categories with custom images and sounds.
I’m not keen on the American accent used in the app (nothing against Americans, it’s just, I’m English!), but if it really bothers you, you’re able to edit the recording for each of the pictures, so you can re-record it in your own voice!
The CommBoards app is so simple and has many potential uses, for anyone who finds verbal communication difficult.
The app is available via the Google Play Store, priced at £7.99. However, I have five codes available to give away to five people, meaning you get the full app absolutely free! All you need to do is enter via the Gleam widget below. Good luck!