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Communication Aids

Communication Aids are used to help people express themselves and are a form of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC).

There are many different types of Voice Output Communication Aids (VOCAs).

  • Some use recorded speech
  • and some use synthesised 'text to speech voices'.

Communication aids help people who have little or no speech to communicate their needs, preferences, ideas and to interact both socially and functionally in an education or work setting.

 

What Types of Communication Aid are there?

  • Some VOCAs use paper or laminated ‘overlays’ with words or symbols to represent messages which have been recorded. These are called ‘static’ overlays; the symbols/messages do not change.
  • Other VOCAs display the words or symbols on a screen, like a computer. These ‘dynamic’ displays change depending on what the user selects e.g. they might select a button named ‘Places’ which will take them to a page of places they might like to go.

Some examples:

 

Who Would use a Communication Aid?

  • Cerebral Palsy,
  • Stroke,
  • head injury,
  • motor neurone disease,
  • learning disability,
  • ASD

Further reading:

 

Access Methods

Depending on a person’s physical disability and needs, it is possible for a person to control a communication aid or computer using:

  • a movement of their arm or foot,
  • an eye blink
  • or a movement of their head.

These various ways of controlling a device are called Access Methods:

 

Which Devices Speak with a Scottish Accent?

Some devices and apps come with Scottish voices. Our free Scottish computer voices can be downloaded and used on Windows-based communication aids.

Another option is to create your own bespoke digital voice - either by recording your own speech, or by asking a friend or relative to do the recording for you. These voices aren't as high quality as the voices that come with the communication software, but they do sound like the person who made the recording.

  • CereProc's CereVoice Me voice cloning service can create a digital version of your own voice (or someone else's) for use on a Windows communication aid. SmartBox AT offers this service.
  • Acapela's My-own-voice service can create digital voices from recordings. The voice can be used on AssistiveWare apps on iPad, the NOVA Chat devices from Liberator, and the Smartbox and Tobii Windows-based aids.
  •  Tobii offer the VocaliD service where you can create a digital version of your own voice (or someone else's) for use on a Tobii Dynavox device.

Windows-based AAC devices

Supplier

Device / software

Scottish voices

Liberator UK

  • Fiona (Nuance) is built in.
  • Stuart, Heather, Ceitidh can be installed from our Scottish Voice website.
  • Kirsty & Dodo can be bought from CereProc.

Tobii Dynavox

SmartBox AT

  • Fiona (Nuance) and Rhona (Acapela) are built in.
  • Stuart, Heather, Ceitidh can be installed from our Scottish Voice website.
  • Kirsty & Dodo can be bought from CereProc.

 

iOS AAC apps

The free Scottish voices cannot be installed on iPads. Many AAC apps come with Rhona or Fiona, or have them as in-app purchases, and there isn't a male Scottish voice available for iPads.

 Supplier

App

Scottish voices

AssistiveWare

Proloquo2Go

Rhona

AssistiveWare

Proloquo4Text

Rhona

Attainment Company

GoTalk Now

Rhona

Claro

ClaroCom

Fiona

Crick

Clicker Communicator

Rhona

Gus Communication

TalkTablet UK

Rhona

Liberator

LAMP Words for Life

-

Silver Kite

TouchChat HD

Rhona

SmartBox

GridPlayer

-

Speak for Yourself AAC

Speak for Ysourself

Rhona

TherapyBox

Chatable

Fiona

TherapyBox

Predictable

Fiona

Tobii DynaVox

Sono Flex

-

Tobii DynaVox

Tobii DynaVox Compass

-

Widgit

Widgit Go

Rhona

Visit our iPad pages or iPad Apps for Complex Communication Support Needs posters to find out more about apps and voices.

 

Android AAC devices / apps

Supplier

Device / software

Scottish voices

Liberator

NOVA Chat series

  • Fiona.
  • Heather, Stuart, Kirsty, Dodo are available from Google Play.

Liberator

Rugged 7

  • Fiona.
  • Heather, Stuart, Kirsty, Dodo are available from Google Play.

Tobii Dynavox

Tobii Dynavox T series

-

 

Other

Supplier

Device / software

Scottish voices

Toby Churchill

Lightwriter series

-

 

How can I Learn More About Augmentative and Alternative Communication?