Dedicated AAC Devices
Although today mainstream products can often be used for alternative and augmentative communication (AAC), there are still some devices that only perform AAC functions. In many cases, insurance companies prefer to fund these dedicated devices instead of mainstream products, in the belief that recipients are less likely to resell them instead of using them. The devices may also have unique features that make them more appropriate for some users. This article is a list of currently available dedicated devices and their features.
The DynaVox Tango is a direct selection or scanning communicator designed for use by children, teens and young adults with speech, language, and learning disabilities. Speech capabilities include the ability to record an adult voice and make it sound like a male or female child’s voice, as well as the ability to whisper, whine and shout messages. The device also provides the ability to move between nearly 2,500 fully- customizable phrases to precise word selection or spelling keyboards for more specific communication. "Phrase first” organization features streams of phrases, words, and core vocabulary, enabling individuals to move freely between communication strategies. A pop-up keyboard and key phrase bank are always available, enabling users to spell or say what they need and then return to where they were. The built-in camera and flash enable users to create and store up to 30 photo albums and record a phrase to accompany each photo. The device can be accessed via direct selection, one-switch scanning, dual-switch scanning and auditory scanning.
The Essence VG is a handheld direct selection and scanning communicator. It has a 12.1-inch SVGA touchscreen. In addition to the touchscreen, the user can interface with the Essence VG using the on-screen keyboard; single- or dual-switch scanning (switch not included); or a USB-connected keyboard, mouse, joystick, headpointing system or mouse emulation system. It features a built-in player that will import WAV files and play MP3/WMA files in stereo; integrated Bluetooth capability; language activity monitor software; PRC Application and Support Software (PASS); integrated headpointing system utilizes Madentec's Tracker technology; multiple voice options; notebook capability for creating text; and over 1 hour of digitized speech memory. It also supports importation of icons or digital photos. The Essence VT is similar, but has an 8.4-inch screen.