Assistive Technology Guide
For people with aphasia, assistive technology usually consists of computers and related devices to help clinicians administer therapy and help people with aphasia communicate better. These devices are fueled by software or applications, known as “apps” for tablets and smartphones. For therapy, we recommend that you follow a plan developed with your clinical professional.
This presentation avoids the endorsement of particular products. Key search terms will be cited for hunting the internet for these products (for example: talking devices for aphasia). Here are some things to look for:
- Is an app made for Apple products (iPAD, iPHONE), Android systems, or both?
- Does it rely on reading print, nonverbal symbols, or both?
- Does it respond to speech input?
- Does it provide spoken output?
FOR COMMUNICATIVE ALTERNATIVES
There are a variety speech-generating laptop and tablet devices. Prebuilt sentences or individually created sentences can be produced. One company, that embeds the software into its own computer, is quite informative about how an expensive system can be paid for (e.g., Medicare).
A couple of companies also produce apps for handheld communicating in everyday situations or for producing sentences created originally on a laptop device.
- search: talking devices for aphasia
- speech generating devices for aphasia
- sentence software for aphasia
- e-mail for aphasia
FOR SUPPORTING MEMORY
General-use apps assist people with memory difficulties. In addition to “low-tech” reminders such as lists and post-its, we are becoming familiar with memos and calendars for smartphones and tablets. Calendar apps provide pop-up reminders of events for the current day. These mostly free apps are found in your device’s application store, but it may be helpful to obtain advice from your speech-language pathologist regarding best fit.
You may find many computer-based products on the internet advertised for “brain fitness,” “brain training,” or as “a gym for the mind.” Although we wish to have hard evidence that such programs indeed change the damaged brain, many of the activities do conform to basic clinical training for improving attention and memory. Again, you should seek advice from your speech-language pathologist or clinical neuropsychologist when considering these products.
Written by G. Albyn Davis, Ph.D., CCC-SLP on June 6th, 2013.