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Proloquo2Go: Iphone AAC Device

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Proloquo2Go

Manufacturer: n/a
Dimensions: Fits on Iphone
Weight: N/A
Model Number: 1.1
Date Released: Spring 2009

Proloquo2Go is an AAC Device to be used in conjunction with the Iphone or Ipod Touch. It was developed to assist people who have difficulty speaking and comes with text to speech voices and a library of over 7000 items. Priced at $189 dollars, the makers of Proloquo2Go, AssistiveWare, cite the affordability of the product in relation to other AAC devices. However, the consumer still has to buy the Iphone or the Ipod Touch, so the total amount spent could be much higher.


Contents

Operating Proloquo2Go

This section gives a brief overview of the functionality of the interface. It is not intended to be exhaustive but rather discuss a few potential capabilities to assist the viewer in determining if they would like more information.

Basic Operation

Proloquo Menu System
Proloquo Menu System

Proloquo2Go works as a menu selection system similar to what an individual might find on a foreign language translator. Potential phrases are divided into categories from which individual words can be selected. The message bar, which sits at the top of the screen, allows the user to temporarily store a series of phrases to assist in sentence composition. The system also has various views that it can use such as a grid format, list format, recently viewed format, and typing format.

Auto-Morphology

Auto-Morphology is a feature that provides automatic conjugation for verbs and auto plurals/possessives for nouns. This not only works on pre-defined vocabulary, but can work on user created nouns and verbs as well. The default touch-and-hold motion will activate the automatic conjugation. From there, additional menus pop up allowing for more decisive choosing on the state of the individual action (ex. will choose, is choosing, has chosen). Auto pluralization has similar functionality with nouns as auto conjugation has with verbs, using a touch-and-hold motion again to select the appropriate plural.

State of Research

Due to the fact that Proloquo2Go is still a very new product on the market, neither the website nor academic periodical searching produces tangible numbers and results. Nikolova et al. in their paper on Better Vocabularies for Assistive Communication Aids (2009), point out the the VocaSpace technology used to build the vocabulary of Proloquo2go is still without reported results. In addition, they note that what makes this technology different from other assisted communication vocabularies are the rich organization and categorization of words along with the ability to personalize and extend the vocabulary.


Proloquo2Go and Medicare

According to Medicare guidelines, the process for obtaining an AAC device requires a speech-language pathology evaluation and a doctor prescription. They provide an outline of the proper evaluation and reporting techniques and they offer training to speech-language pathologists to provide insight on how to properly meet Medicare standards. Physicians are also offered AAC intervention training so that they can be aware of some of the alternatives when their patients are faced with the loss of speech ability. One of the problems with the current Medicare policies with regard to AAC is that they don’t cover all of the options on the market. Medicare will only cover AAC devices that are “dedicated communication devices” which means that computer-based or phone-based systems such as Proloquo2go may not be covered. However the policy also states that Medicare will cover software, mounts, and access-related accessories.

This brings up an interesting dilemma related to the development of new technology. No longer is software only constrained to a single workstation, desktop setup, but is in fact mobile and can be ubiquitous in nature. As desktops become ultraportable, and ultraportable become phone based how policy is interpreted or altered will dramatically affect product availability for persons needing AAC. The way the policies are currently written, most new / mobile types of technologies are not going to be covered, so it falls back on the speech-language pathologist. This person must then gauge the affordability of the product without Medicare coverage, in addition to just meeting the functional needs of the patient.


Key Features

  • Full communication solution with a default VocaSpace vocabulary of over 7000 items
  • Choice of list or grid view
  • Built-in natural sounding text-to-speech voices from Acapela Group (one language, initially only British and American English). The current version includes North American English male, female, girl and boy voices. These can be swapped for

British English voices, which can be downloaded over Wifi from within Proloquo2Go.

  • Support for other languages and voices is in the pipeline.
  • Supports picture and/or text-based communication
  • Close to 8000 built-in symbols from SymbolStix LLC.
  • Automatic conjugation of verbs
  • Automatic plurals and possessives for nouns
  • Extensive customization options: item size, color, interactivity, restrictions,

speech.

  • One-button addition of new vocabulary items and categories
  • Easy cut, copy and paste of items
  • Quick access to recently spoken items for the last 15 minutes, last hour, all the way up to one week back
  • Typing view for typing full paragraphs

Pros / Cons of Proloquo2Go

Proloquo2Go is not going to be a good fit for every type of user. Here are some potential challenges an individual might have:

1. As mentioned above Proloquo2Go is not covered by Medicare, so if cost is a factor it may be more efficient to go with a covered device, such as DynaVox.

2. The input for Proloquo2go is tactile and it is on a small screen. Someone who has fine motor difficulties, or doesn’t have good use of their hands may have to look at other forms of input such as via vision using the Eyegaze Edge.

3. There is a dependence on an Iphone or Iphone type product, in addition the interface costs $189 dollars on top of the already pricey Iphone.

4. Heavy use of menus: within the Proloquo2go interface there are several large menus which can make it extremely difficult to get messages out quickly.

5. Proloquo2go also requires significant cognitive processing, specifically picture / word / action association. This could be very challenging for someone with a cognitive disability in addition to challenges with speech.


Some areas where Proloquo2Go might be applicable to a user are:

1. When someone already has an Iphone.

2. When someone would like to have an AAC device without letting people in their environment knowing they have it.

3. When they are in environments that are conducive to the speakers on the Iphone.

4. When the client is looking for a mobile application to supplement their existing AAC device

5. When a client does not want to engage in large amounts of programming.

External Links

References

  • [1] Better Vocabularies for Assistive Communication Aids:Connecting Terms using Semantic Networks and Untrained Annotators ACM SIGASSETS. 2009. Accessed on October 12,2009.