iPad Apps for Complex Communication Support Needs: Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)

Author: Call Scotland

This 'wheel' of AAC Apps by Sally Millar and Gillian McNeill of CALL Scotland, provides a categorised guide to iPad Apps for people with complex communication support needs, who may need to use some form(s) of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC).

There are many hundreds of communication apps and deciding how to categorise them - never mind identifying the best fit to meet the needs of an individual user - is complicated. We define some Apps (from 12 o'clock round to 6) as potential full 'expressive' communication systems. Whether text and/or symbol based, these tend to be highly featured, and as a defining feature, include text to speech, a built-in symbol library, at least one or two sample pre-stored user vocabulary sets, and an onscreen message bar to allow for sentence/message building.

Other Apps (from 6 o'clock round to 9) are classed as more 'simple' forms of communication. These may provide basic, functional ways of expressing needs and making choices, or for recording news or stories. They contain limited, if any, starter content and will be customised for the user from 'bottom-up' using familiar photos and pictures, and recorded messages. Others may use the iPad to mirror and add speech output to particular low tech communication approaches such as PECS. Finally, many are useful for building basic vocabulary and language skills, receptively as much as expressively.

Users may use a 'set' of various Apps from different categories at different times - there is no single 'best' App.

Most Apps are controlled by direct touch, and many (but not all), will run under switch control within iOS 7 (onwards) Accessibility settings. A few were specifically designed for switch access and these are marked in this wheel with small red 's' (beside App icon).

The CALL Scotland AAC Apps wheel does not include every App available in each category. It shows Apps that CALL finds useful: reliable, relatively straightforward to use; reasonable/good value for money; and / or that stand out in their category for some reason.

The AAC Apps wheel was originally published as an A3 poster, but works equally well (only smaller!) as an A4 leaflet. The App names on the electronic version are 'clickable' links, taking you directly to more information about the individual App on the UK iTunes site.

iPad Apps for Complex Communication Support Needs was last updated in June 2015

Revision changes

June 2016

Apps removed - AAC Ferret, EasySpeak HD, Autismate 365, Answers Yes/No, AAC 123

Apps added - Tools 2 Talk+, Totaltalk AAC, CoughDrop, AAC Speak, Snap Scene, iSpeak Button Series, Board Communicator, Early Language Screening Tool Bundle

January 2016

Tools 2 Talk is no longer available to purchase and has been removed from the wheel. We have added an 's' to Pictello, as switches can be configured for playing a story.

May 2015

There has been no change to the App categories, only to the Apps listed. The number of Apps has increased to 77, which includes Tool 2 Talk, a resource for creating and printing symbolised communication resources, detailed separately given the App type.

Category: Communication Mobile Technologies Smart AT General

Added by Elizabeth Dodd · 7 years ago


 Author: Feros Care

Published By: Feros Care 

Published:  2016

Known as is Wheel-I-Am, is Feros Care’s latest recruit and is essentially an iPad mounted on a miniature Segway base.

The concept is simple – to keep seniors socially connected by using technology so residents who are less mobile and unable to go on social outings can still be part of the fun.

To view more information go to:

Or watch the video: 


Category: Communication Future Trends & Possibilies Mobility Robotics Videos

Added by Ash-Lee Hall · 8 years ago

Assistive Technology for Students with Learning Disabilities

Prepared by: Gabrielle Young, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Memorial University of Newfoundland and Jeffrey MacCormack, M.Ed., Doctoral Student, Queen’s University

Published on:  June 10th, 2014


Assistive technology refers to the devices and services that are used to increase, maintain, or improve the capabilities of a student with a disability (Dell, Newton, & Petroff, 2012). While the phrase assistive technology may make us think of computers and computerized devices, assistive technology can also be very low-tech. For example, pencil-grips (the molded plastic grips that slip over a pencil) are considered assistive technology. Assistive technology that helps students with learning disabilities includes computer programs and tablet applications that provide text-to-speech (e.g., Kurzweil 3000), speech-to-text (e.g., Dragon Naturally Speaking), word prediction capabilities (e.g., WordQ), and graphic organizers (e.g., Inspiration).

In comparison to other interventions, assistive technology may have a significant effect in helping students with disabilities progress towards the goals outlined on their Individual Education Plans (Watson, Ito, Smith, & Andersen, 2010). Assistive technology helps in two ways: it can help the student learn how to complete the task and it can help to bypass an area of difficulty. For example, when a student decides to listen to a digital version of a book, they are bypassing an area of difficulty. However, if the student focuses on the computer screen as highlighted words are read aloud, they can learn unfamiliar words.

To read more go to;


Category: Communication Smart AT General

Added by Ash-Lee Hall · 8 years ago

Support self management:assistive technology to support people with chronic disease

Authors: Huiru Zheng, Chris Nugent, Paul McCullagh, Yan Huang, Shumei Zhang, William Burns, Richard Davies, Norman Black,

Peter Wright, Sue Mawson, Christopher Eccleston, Mark Hawley and Gail Mountain

Published by:Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare

Year of publication: 2010

We have developed a personalised self management system to support self management of chronic conditions with support from health-care professionals. Accelerometers are used to measure gross levels of activity, for example walking around the house, and used to infer higher level activity states, such as standing, sitting and lying. A smart phone containing an accelerometer and a global positioning system (GPS) module can be used to monitor outdoor activity, providing both activity and location based information. Heart rate, blood pressure and weight are recorded and input to the system by the user. A decision support system (DSS) detects abnormal activity and distinguishes life style patterns. The DSS is used to assess the self management process, and automates feedback to the user, consistent with the achievement of their life goals. We have found that telecare and assistive technology is feasible to support self management for chronic conditions within the home and local community environments.

Category: Communication Connected Health Mobile Technologies Smart Homes & Environmental Controls

Added by Ash-Lee Hall · 8 years ago

Virtual communities in health care: roles, requirements and restrictions

Authors: Yvonne Arnold, Miriam Daum and Helmut Kremar

Published by: Technical University of Munich

Year of publication: 2004

Community platforms on the Internet have the great potential to serve ubiquitous information and interaction needs. This applies especially in the health care domain, where the need for information and interaction is ubiquitous as well as often spontaneous and of a long term nature. The potential users are from all levels of society and therefore have different experience with the usage of the medium Internet. But there are no recommended actions how to develop and maintain a community for patients in the health care domain. Instead there are several challenges that need to be met throughout the development and maintenance of a platform in such a domain. So as to achieve the greatest congruency between the patients’ needs and the services of the platform both the potential users needed to get involved into the development process and a sound evaluation of the conceptualised product is necessary. Furthermore the offered information must be quality assured. Taking this into account, we conceptualised and implemented a community platform for breast cancer and leukaemia patients, their relatives and anyone interested in information about cancer. The article gives an overview of the used methods and focuses on the specialties in the health care domain.

Category: Communication International Perspectives Quality & Standards

Added by Ash-Lee Hall · 8 years ago

Assisted Living technology in social care: workforce development implications

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to look at the implications of the increasing use of Assisted Living

Technology in the social care sector and to assess the implications for the workforce in terms of job roles, skills, knowledge, training, and support.

Design/methodology/approach – A mixed methods approach was used, through a quantitative electronic survey of staff working in social care (as well as some health care) organisations in England, and three qualitative case studies of local authorities.

Findings – The research shows that the organisations involved in delivering Assisted Living Technology, the types of Assisted Living Technology being introduced, and the way in which it is being delivered, have implications for job roles and the skills and knowledge needed by staff. The associated training and workforce development similarly varies across the social care sector; it is ad hoc, disparate, and provided primarily by individual employers or by suppliers and manufacturers.

Research limitations/implications – There is a need for a standardised Assisted Living Technology workforce development approach which can be used across the social care sector.

Practical implications – The varied nature of Assisted Living Technology providers and delivery models presents a challenge to the development and implementation of a standardised programme of workforce development.

Originality/value – This paper presents the results of new empirical research arising from a quantitative and qualitative study of the workforce development implications of Assisted Living Technology in the English social care sector.

Category: Communication International Perspectives Policy & Funding Quality & Standards Workforces Considerations

Added by Ash-Lee Hall · 8 years ago

Connecting Health Services with the future: Modernising medicare by providing rebates for online consultations – A discussion paper from the Australian Government


Category: ATSI Service Delivery Communication Local Perspectives Policy & Funding Quality & Standards Regional Service Delivery Rural & Remote Service Delivery Workforces Considerations

Added by Ash-Lee Hall · 8 years ago

Matching technologies of home automation, robotics, assistance, geriatric telecare and telemedicine

Authors: Francesco Franshimon, PhD and Michiel Brink, MSc

Published by: Journal of Gerontechnology

Year of publication: 2009

The aging society could have a greater societal impact than the current financial crisis. The percentage of older adults has increased while the size of the health care workforce has remained constant. Home automation, robotics, assistive technology, geriatric telecare and telemedicine can support independence in older adults and diminish the health care burden. Currently, delivering services through these technologies is accomplished mainly through stand-alone systems. Multiple stand-alone systems in one dwelling become a multidisciplinary technological challenge of risks and benefits. Ideally, only those technology mediated services requested at a particular moment should be provided. This calls for a reduction in the barriers between healthcare and technology disciplines and an intelligent network using software agents supporting optimal integration and interoperability to increase the quality of life of older adults and decrease the healthcare burden in our aging society.

Category: Communication Connected Health Robotics Smart Homes & Environmental Controls

Added by Ash-Lee Hall · 8 years ago

Smart home technologies for health and social care support (review)

Authors: S. Martin, G. Kelly, WG. Kernohan, B. McCreight and C. Nugent

Published by: The Cochrane Library

Year of Publication: 2008

People who are ill (physically or mentally), or who are frail, may find it difficult to meet their everyday personal and social needs at home. Healthcare providers are trying to find ways to support more people at home, but finding home care workers and the money to fund this help is challenging. Advances in technology have created new devices to help support people.

New devices are already starting to be used, such as mobile phones tailored to health care, or electronic sensors that sound alarms in emergency situations. Another new technology is sensors. Sensors can be placed in everyday appliances in the home, like the fridge, cooker or the door, and can send information to healthcare providers. Providers can find out how people are doing in their homes and then make decisions about their care, such as how often to visit the home. Homes with these technologies are called ’smart homes’.

As with many new technologies, smart home technologies are often used without first testing if they are effective. This review aimed to determine what effect any type of smart home technologies have on people. The review produced a significant volume of literature on the use of smart technologies within health care, but there were no studies testing their effectiveness. The effects of smart technologies to support people in their homes are not known. Better quality research is needed.

Category: Communication Connected Health International Perspectives Smart Homes & Environmental Controls Social Engagement

Added by Ash-Lee Hall · 8 years ago

Connecting Health Services with the future: Technology and technical issues for telehealth

Author: Australian Government - Department of Health

Published by: Australian Government - Department of Health

Publication Date: 5th June, 2011

From 1 July 2011, Medicare and DVA Rebates and Financial Incentives were made available for telehealth under the Connecting Health Services With the Fiture Initiative. This article contains information on clinical practice and technology for telehealth.

Category: Communication Local Perspectives Policy & Funding Quality & Standards Workforces Considerations

Added by Ash-Lee Hall · 8 years ago

Virtual humans for connected health

Authors: Gunner Gamborg 

Published By: WFOT Bulletin

Published On: May 2015 

There is a growing need for applications that can dynamically interact with aging populations to gather information, monitor their health care, provide information, or even act as companions. Virtual human agents or virtual characters offer a technology that can enable human users to overcome the confusing interfaces found in current human-computer interactions. These artificially intelligent virtual characters have speech recognition, natural language and vision that will allow human users to interact with their computers in a more natural way. Additionally, sensors may be used to monitor the environment for specific behaviors that can be fused into a virtual human system. As a result, the virtual human may respond to a patient or elderly person in a manner that will have a powerful affect on their living situation. This paper will describe the virtual human technology developed and some current applications that apply the technology to virtual patients for mental health diagnosis and clinician training. Additionally the paper will discuss possible ways in which the virtual humans may be utilized for assisted health care and for the integration of multi-modal input to enhance the virtual human system.

Category: Communication Connected Health International Perspectives Medication Management Smart Homes & Environmental Controls Social Engagement

Added by Ash-Lee Hall · 8 years ago

Impact analysis of Smart Assistive Technologies for people with Dementia

Authors: Trudy Yuginovich, Jeffrey Soar and Ying Su

Faculty of Business & Law, University of Southern Queensland

Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China

Year of Publication: 2012

Aims: To trial the use of a range of available Smart Assistive Technologies for people with dementia and their families.

Summary: The disability support and aged care sectors have not to date taken full advantage of assistive and other relevant technologies; there is a massive unmet need for greater support and a significant level of issues that are not addressed. There are a range of potential benefits of Smart Assistive Technologies for people with dementia, their families and carers. This small study confirmed some of these whilst confirmation of other potential benefits will require more research.

Category: Allied Health Communication Domestic Assistance Local Perspectives Regional Service Delivery Robotics Smart Homes & Environmental Controls

Added by Ash-Lee Hall · 8 years ago