Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Journal 8: Adaptive Technology

Below is a research blog post I created covering the topic of augmentative and alternative communication. The post contains information such as high tech and low tech solutions as well as examples of each.


Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ACC) is defined as any tool which helps individuals with special needs interact and communicate with the world. This type of communication can be achieved with low-tech solutions such as sign language or with high tech ones such as using an iPad. Whatever type of tool is used, the main purpose of Augmentative and Alternative communication is to give users the ability to interact with the world with ease.

Low Tech Communication Tool:

Low-tech ACC devises are categorized as those which do not require batteries or circuitry to operate. This can include anything from white boards, pencil and paper to hand gestures or facial expressions. An example of an ACC communication tool  is the use of Magnetic paint. This paint transforms any surface into a magnet board giving individuals more opportunities to communicate. With this tool users have the ability to place magnetic words or symbols on many more surfaces. For example, in a classroom the paint could be used to make cabinet draws into simple and inexpensive communication boards, giving students more opportunities to communicate.

High-tech Communication Tool:

High tech communication tools are defined as those things, which require the use of batteries or computers to help individuals meet their specific communication needs. Devices such as the Super Talker Progressive Communicator, is a device that can translate up to eight pictures into speech. The system has the ability to change and adapt according to the user’s needs by allowing the user to change pictures they find most helpful in their daily lives. Another example of a High Tech ACC, is freeacc.org. This website turns any computer or Internet capable device into a text and picture to speech generator. With  the plethora of devices such as cell phones, which are now able to connect to the Internet, this offers ACC users greater freedom to communicate with ease.


Input devices for students with special needs are defined as a device which helps students overcome their disability. These devices can take the form of either hardware or software solutions

There are many hardware solutions which make communication more assessable to students. The Twiddler2 is a great example of a mouse and keyboard, which can be operated by a single hand. It gives the user the ability to interact with a computer by simply  moving ones hand to move the mouse curser and pressing the keyboard on the same controller to type. Students who can’t use a traditional mouse and keyboard in a classroom could then use the Twiddler2 to interact, participate and more importantly communicate.

A type of software solutions used to make things more accessible is Soothsayer. Soothsayer is word prediction software that tries to anticipate the word the user is typing based the letters used. It not only makes typing faster for those who might need assistance but it can also be used as a type of short hand when typing. It makes communication faster for students who use text to speech technology or who have limited mobility. 

I commented on the following Blogs.
Melanie Hasty

Kristin Viner


  1. I really enjoyed reading about the magnetic spray paint. The product seemed really practical. What great resources to give to students with communication needs.

  2. I agree with melanie the spray did not cross my mind when i was talking about low tech or no tech schools. Such a great tool and i will now try! Great journal eddie!