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Friday, December 30, 2011

TapToTalk Muestras Español

TapToTalk Designer is the program you use to customize TapToTalk content (albums) to meet individual needs (and Designer is what you pay for). TapToTalk Designer let's you create albums in any language. TapToTalk is used in over 40 countries, in over 20 languages

We have two Spanish sample albums now in TapToTalk Designer entitled Español-Masculino and Español-Femenino. You can use these samples as a starting point for your own personalized Spanish TapToTalk.

You can see these Spanish sample albums in action byclicking this link. Try it. Click the pictures. This shows TapToTalk using our free Web App. The very same content can also be played on many other devices using our free TapToTalk Apps.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

New Adult Sample Albums

The same TapToTalk that helps thousands of children communicate is also used around the world to help adults with speech loss due to stroke, head injury, ALS, Parkinson's or other acute or chronic conditions. This powerful yet easy-to-use augmentative and alternative communication is affordable and runs on popular devices like the iPad, Nook Color and Kindle Fire, that aphasic adults can use for many other purposes.

TapToTalk Designer is the program you use to customize TapToTalk content (albums) to meet individual needs (and Designer is what you pay for). We have added two new sample albums to TapToTalk Designer specifically for adult users. You can use these samples as a starting point for your own personalized TapToTalk.

You can see these adult sample albums in action by clicking this link. Try it. Click the pictures. This shows TapToTalk using our free Web App. The very same content can also be played on many other devices using our free TapToTalk Apps.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Progress on French Starter Album--Check it out!


Two weeks ago, we kicked off a project to crowdsource a French TapToTalk starter album.

We have had wonderful response from France, so much so that we now have the first complete draft of the TapToTalk Album Starter - Français. Now we need help reviewing it. So please click this link to check it out in the TapToTalk Web App. Note that this uses our male French text-to-speech voice.

If you have corrections to suggest, please do so by commenting on this blog post below ("Post a Comment"). That will help us keep all the comments in one place so others can see them. Please be as precise as you can about exactly what translation you would change.

Here is our plan:

1. Get the male TapToTalk Album Starter - Français as good as we can based on your comments.
2. Then we'll do a female version.
3. And then we'll use the French version as the foundation for a Québécois version.

So, for our friends in Quebec, please hold off on your comments about Québécois differences--we'll get to them soon enough. Other then that, all comments from anyone are welcomed.

And special thanks to Ann-Kristin Chemin, Cherice R. Cardwell, Jayne McGeorge and Carole Contaut. Each of you translated a big part of the starter album. Merci!


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

We Like ooShirts

We want to tell you about a cool website, ooShirts.com. Using ooShirts, you can quickly and easily design and order customized t-shirts. These make great gifts and promotions.

We were asked to try ooShirts for free. In minutes, we had designed the front and back of our shirt, including uploading a picture for one side. We previewed and saved our design, and ordered a couple of shirts.

They reviewed the design and quickly emailed us that it was OK When we got the shirts, they were of good quality and the art work was exactly as we expected.

They even saved our design so we can re-order any time.

We appreciate an easy-to-use website that does exactly what is claims to do, with no fuss or bother. We like ooShirts.

Friday, December 9, 2011

TapToTalk Designer Now on iPad


TapToTalk Designer is the web-based application you use to individualize your child’s TapToTalk. Until now, Designer ran only on a Windows PC or Mac computer. Now you can also run Designer on an iPad with the Safari web browser.

There is no additional cost for this capability. You log in to TapToTalk Designer on an iPad just like you do on a PC or Mac. Designer now knows if it is running on an iPad and behaves accordingly.

There are some differences between using Designer on a PC or Mac and on an iPad that you should be aware of. You can learn about them here.

Now you can do your TapToTalk design work on any Windows PC, Mac or iPad with web access.Whatever is convenient. The choice is yours.

And you can still run the TapToTalk you design on iPad, iPod touch, iPhone, Kindle Fire, Nook Color, Nook Tablet, Android devices, Nintendos, PCs and Macs, and more...and on as many of them as you'd like.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Nous aider s'il vous plaît--Crowdsourcing a French Starter Album

Updated December 12, 2011: We will actually do two projects, one for French and one for Québécois French. So if you want to help, be sure to let us know which flavor of French you want to help with.



TapToTalk Designer comes with a number of starter albums. Many of you find these helpful, and use them as a foundation for your own first albums. In addition to our English and Spanish starter albums, we have so many French language users now, we want to add a French starter album. To do that, we need to translate the picture names, captions and descriptions from English to French.

We think that is best done by people who understand what TapToTalk is all about: you, our users. So we'd like to enlist you to "crowdsource" this project (en français, externalisation ouverte).

We have created a TapToTalk with a copy of the English starter album. That is the starting point for our French starter album. Now, we solicit our French speaking users to help with the translations.

So here's how you can help. You don't have to take on a lot of work, you can translate just one picture's text, or more if you want to. It should take less than 5 minutes, start to finish, to do the translation for one picture.

If you are willing to help, just email us at marketing@taptotalk.com with the subject "Français" or "Québécois". Tell us how many pictures you want to translate (please don't take on too many, you can always do more later). We'll send you the English text and you send back the French translations. You don't need anything but email to do this.

We'll add these to the album we mentioned above, use text-to-speech to provide the sounds in a French voice, and publish it to the web. We'll let everyone know the url, so you can see the French gradually replace the English, And everyone can make suggestions for improving the French translations. Thus we hope to end up with a really good, crowdsourced French starter album.


FREE BubCaps for Participating
We'll give away a package of BubCaps to several of you who help with the translations. These will be awarded randomly. Just help us with our French TapToTalk starter album and you have a chance to win.

Thanks to the good guys at PaperClip Robot, makers of BubCaps, for supporting this giveaway.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Add the SymbolStix Library to TapToTalk Designer


We are delighted to announce that you can now access the full SymbolStix™ library directly from TapToTalk Designer. The distinctive SymbolStix stick-figure symbols are widely used in AAC, special education and literacy applications.

TapToTalk Designer has a built-in library of over 2,500 pictures that you can use in your TapToTalk albums. We call this our Standard Library. Now you can add the SymbolStix library of over 12,000 symbols to TapToTalk Designer, and they are instantly accessible for your albums, just like those in the Standard Library. No need to import these pictures, they are right there inside Designer.

The SymbolStix library built into TapToTalk Designer may be added to you account with your initial purchase from the TapToTalk Store, or added later at the TapToTalk Customer Store. The cost of adding the SymbolStix library to your TapToTalk Designer account is just $49.99, regardless of how many TapToTalks are in the account.

SymbolStix are a copyrighted product of N2Y, Inc.

more information

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The CushPad Holiday Giveaway


The CushPad is a new product, a cushion that has been precisely shaped to comfortably and securely hold an iPad 2 on uneven or unstable surfaces like a couch, bed, seat-tray table on a plane, or your lap. It's like a pillow for your iPad.

When the folks who make the CushPad contacted us, we thought this was a great idea that could be useful for TapToTalk users, and those with special needs in general. So we got together and agreed to give away one CushPad a week for the next 5 weeks. We want to hear about how the CushPad works for you and your TapToTalk user.

This is for the iPad 2 only right now, though we understand more versions will be coming. So please be sure you have an iPad 2 that you use with TapToTalk before you enter.

To enter, just email marketing@taptotalk.com with the subject "CushPad" and include your name in the email.

That's all you have to do. We'll pick one winner a week for the next 5 weeks.

So enter today!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Start with Food!

We hear from many users about their experience with TapToTalk and their children. They often tell us about how their child adopted TapToTalk, and one theme is clear: getting what I want to eat is the number one motivator for using AAC.

We could fill volumes with the quotes that back this up. Here are just a few examples, from Septemeber 2009, when we introduced TapToTalk, through this month:

"It's working great! We have introduced it to our child, and he can already request juice and Oreos." Tanya Sanders, Parent

"Since we started using the TapToTalk, he (autistic son) has been independent with communication. The first time he used this was to communicate what he wanted to eat and drink for supper. The smile on his face was amazing. He answered quickly and was rewarded with what he wanted. Since then, he has used it to tell us how he feels and where he wants to go." Tammy Lessick, Parent

"I've been using it with him since he's been home from school...he's used it to tell me what snack he wants to eat twice and that he wants water. He's able to click on the first screen like the "I'm hungry" picture to get to the food pictures I uploaded. I searched for pictures of Lay's, rice cakes and Eggo waffles so that (there) could be pictures for what he actually is asking for. He was able to click on the "drinks" picture to take him to where he selects water." A Wisconsin Parent

"Emel told me she wants me to make her a McDonalds album for her TapToTalk so she can order her own food. That's my job for tomorrow. She just loves her TapToTalk. Thank you." Caroline Louise Curran, Parent

"After playing with TapToTalk in the car, she (used it to) let me know she was frustrated because she was hungry and wanted steak and a smoothie. I started to cry. It was my first actual conversation with my kid in 8 years. She had a eureka moment when she hit the button and she ended up with a milkshake and a piece of steak. Yes! You best believe I went out to the grocery and bought her a steak after all of that." Amanda Perkins, Parent

"So excited. My 21-year-old was able to order her breakfast at a fast food restaurant today. She is very good with the iPod, so she has food, plus a restaurant level with separate menus for each restaurant. She asked for biscuit, then clicked egg. Went to drinks, and asked for large, then went to soda and asked for Coke." Katy Jean Fink, Parent

"I wanted to say thank you because it allows my non-verbal daughter to tell me her basic needs. Last night she wanted milk, and unbeknownst to me she turned the iPod on, went to the TapToTalk App, and got the milk request ready for when I came into her room! It was so awesome. I love that she can tell me things now, and your app is so easy to use." Becky Brown, Parent

"Loaded it in the evening, the next morning my little guy told me what he wanted for breakfast! He'd NEVER used a communication device before!" A Parent

"YOU have given our daughter a voice! Last week, my husband was offering our daughter several choices of cereal for breakfast, she kept pushing the boxes of cereal away. She got up, got her iPad and handed it to him to turn on. Once on TapToTalk, our daughter went to the "I want to eat" album and touched "I want scrambled eggs." My husband said, "Oh, you don't want cereal, you want scrambled eggs." Our daughter clapped her hands (what she does when we understand her) and sat down at the table AND patiently waited for her eggs to be cooked!" Susan Tarr, Parent

"I recently visited my godson in Texas. He has autism...I had heard about TapToTalk, but nothing had prepared me for his unprompted communication efforts! While his mom was out doing chores, he came to me and asked for specific food choices; I never thought I'd get to experience that with him. I was so excited I wanted to take him out to a restaurant right away to buy him what he asked for...wanted to say thanks from a grateful godmom." Lyn Johnson, Godmother

So, if you want to help your child get the hang of AAC, start with his or her favorite foods and beverages. And remember that you can use our extensive library of food and drink pictures, you can add pictures you find online, and you can use your own photos as well. Use this link to learn more about TapToTalk pictures.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Gab n Go Giveaway

In our last blog post, we shared the story of the Gab n Go Harness. Now we are teaming up with the good folks at Safe n Sound Mobile to give away free Gab n Go Harnesses. This is for those who use TapToTalk on an iPhone or iPod touch.

Here is how to enter the free drawing:
  • You must be a TapToTalk Designer user
  • You must be in the United States (sorry, it's because of the shipping costs)
  • Just email marketing@taptotalk.com with:
    • Subject "Gab n Go"
    • Include your name and the email address you use to log in to TapToTalk Designer
That's all you have to do. Then watch our Facebook posts for the drawings.

For more information about the Gab n Go Harness, go to Safe n Sound Mobile.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The "Gab n Go Harness" Story

Kristen Lazuka is a pediatric nurse who provides care for children with complex medical needs and developmental delays. Kristen created the "Gab n Go Harness" to meet the needs of a patient, an active little girl who did not have normal speech due to craniofacial deformities. She used an iPod touch with an AAC app, but it her busy personality created a problem. The iPod had to be held by her aide, who needed to remember to grab it every time the girl moved around the school, both in the classroom and out.

Kristen and the child’s occupational therapist began looking for solutions "We spent a lot of time online," Kristen said. "We knew the market for AAC apps for mobile devices was exploding, and expected to see many different products for accessible communication options. That was not the case. There were bulky speaker boxes, which were too heavy for her to put on a regular lanyard. For accessibility reasons, the armbands were not appropriate for this population of children."

An even bigger problem with using an AAC app on these devices was the lack of a solution that had a forward facing, easily heard and understandable speaker. "Communication partners were always asking us, 'What did she say?' It was very frustrating," Kristen said. Faced with with the lack of viable options, Kristen developed her own solution, the Gab n Go Harness. "I am thrilled to be able to make these already well developed devices and apps really work!" Kristem said. "The huge gap that existed is now closed, putting communication where it belongs – in the child's hands."

Kristen has a personal as well as a professional interest in AAC. She adopted her second child from Romania, and at 14 months, he was non-verbal and diagnosed with autism. By 18 months, he used both sign language as well as PECS for communication. He received his first AAC device when he was 6, and soon began speaking. "It was an amazing process to watch as he grew. He is now 13 years old and an effective verbal communicator," Kristen told us.

You can learn more about the Gab n Go Harness for iPad touch and iPhone at by watching this video, or go to Safe n Sound Mobile.




Safe n Sound Mobile is not affiliated with Assystx LLC, makers of TapToTalk. The information in this post is not an endorsement of the Gab n Go Harness by Assistyx.


Monday, November 7, 2011

TapToTalk Designer for SLPs and Schools

TapToTalk Designer is the online program you use to assemble pictures and sounds into AAC albums. Your albums can then be played on any of the many devices TapToTalk supports.

The basic version of Designer is called TapToTalk Home. It costs $179.95, and is for parents or others who want to organize pictures and sounds for one child. For SLPs, OTs, special education teachers, AAC and AT specialists and other special needs professionals and school staff who serve more than one child's AAC needs, Designer come in a Pro version and an Agency version.

TapToTalk Pro and TapToTalk Agency are priced "per child." But "per child" really means "per individualized set of AAC albums." We call an individualized set of AAC albums a TapToTalk. Typically, one TapToTalk is used by one child. For example, Johnny has his set of albums, geared to his needs. Susie has her TapToTalk albums that are individualized just for her. And so forth.

But what if several children use exactly the same content? For example, a special ed classroom my have a number of students who all use the exact same TapToTalk content on their iPads. Well, that is just one TapToTalk, one individualized set of AAC albums.

It does not matter how many devices you play a TapToTalk on. We do not charge per device. We charge for each individualized set of AAC albums you have the ability to design.

Another example would be a set of assessment albums used by a speech therapist. No matter how many kids use it, no matter how many devices it runs on, it is just one TapToTalk. But when you customize albums for a specific child, that's another TapToTalk.

New Prices
TapToTalk Pro now only $249.95
TapToTalk Agency starts at only $779.95

TapToTalk Pro is for a professional serving two or more children with individualized AAC albums. The base price is $249.95. This gives you the ability to design two separate TapToTalks. You can add additional TapToTalks to a Pro account at any time for $179.95 (the same price as TapToTalk Home), and when a Pro account reaches five TapToTalks, it automatically becomes an Agency account. Pro also gives you the ability to share pictures and sounds among TapToTalks, and save reusable TapToTalk templates you can use to help build a specific child's TapToTalk.

TapToTalk Agency is for schools that have several professionals serving several students with individualized AAC albums. The base price is $779.95. This gives you the ability to design five separate TapToTalks. You can add additional TapToTalks to an Agency account at any time for $179.95 (the same price as a TapToTalk Home). Agency has all the features of Pro, and also gives you the ability to control which staff can do design work on each TapToTalk. There are additional features to further enhance design collaboration.

For more information on the features of the three versions of TapToTalk Designer, see the Designer version comparison chart.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A little boy's "Helen Keller Moment"

Here's a story of a little boy playing with TapToTalk on his iPod touch, who suddenly realizes he can use it to communicate. It was told to us by TapToTalk Mom Fay Bareham:

"My son is 11 years old. He has had various speech devices over the years but they have been bulky and hard to carry so it was not something he was interested in. His iPod looks just like his dad's phone. He can clip it on his belt just like Dad. It's cool to him.

"In the last two weeks, he went from just the main pages of pictures to all the ones we put in his albums. One day he had what my friend called a 'Helen Keller moment' where he suddenly realized that he was 'talking' due to TapToTalk and the small iPod. For the first time he feels as if he has a voice of his own. Now he won't let it out of his sight, if you can borrow it at all (which we do so we can take more photos).

"TapToTalk has made for several moments of HAPPY tears for us. Thank you for all of your help, and for helping us get the school on board. Consistency between home and school will make a HUGE difference."

That's why we do what we do.


Update: we recently heard from Fay again. She said, "Every day his world is getting larger due to TapToTalk and his iPod."

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

TapToTalk and iTaalk Team Up to Help Non-Verbal Kids

The iTaalk Autism Foundation awards grants for iPads for individuals aged 0-22 with a diagnosis of autism. We are delighted to announce that TapToTalk is partnering with iTaalk so non-verbal and partially-verbal grant recipients can get started right away with TapToTalk, the most popular, most customizable AAC app.

Kids who are awarded iTaalk grants for iPads and need AAC will now also receive free three-month subscriptions to TapToTalk Designer.

TapToTalk's motto is, "Give your child a voice." iTaalk's is, "Giving children with autism a voice...one iPad at a time." So together we're giving children with autism a voice, one iPad at a time.

For more information about the iTaalk iPad grant program and application process, click here.

Friday, October 21, 2011

7 Tips for your Halloween TapToTalk Album

Help make Halloween more fun by adding a Halloween album to your child's TapToTalk. That's what a lot of our users tell us they do. Here are the ideas for this we've heard most often:
  1. A picture of a jack-o-lantern that says, "Trick or Treat!"
  2. A picture that says, "Thank You" (use the one you already use for this, but put it right in the Halloween album)
  3. A picture of a ghost that says a real scary, "Boo!"
  4. A picture of a witch that cackles
  5. A picture of your child in his or her costume that says, "I'm a ______"
  6. A picture that says, "That's a cool costume"
  7. Use Google or Bing image search to find great Halloween pictures to use (we also have a few in the Holidays category of the Designer library)
And here is a bonus tip from TapToTalk Mom Becky Brown: "We made a Halloween album too! Most people were interested in seeing (my daughter) communicate this way, plus they gave her extra candy. We personalized hers with some doggy friend names, so she could say hi to them too."

Make this a fun activity. Let your child help pick the pictures, and have fun recording the sounds.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Store Reusable AAC Templates in Your Album Library

If you are a TapToTalk Designer Pro or Agency user, you have a powerful feature that lets you build templates, standard designs or best practices into AAC albums. It's called the User Album Library.

Once an album is saved in your Album Library, it can be copied to any of your TapToTalks, and then the copy can be modified to meet the unique needs of the individual child.

You can design albums right in the Album Library or, even more easily, you can save an album you are working on to both a TapToTalk and the User Album Library by checking the "Save to Library" option in Album Outliner.

For example, the Starter Album in the Standard Album Library is used by many professionals and parents as an album starting point. They copy it to their TapToTalk and modify "foods" or "emotions" to suit the child. With the User Album Library, you can similarly create the foundation for albums that you can use as templates to start a new album for a child.

TapToTalk Designer Agency users also have an agency-wide album library called the Agency Album Library. Agency users can be giving the rights to create album templates that can be used by any of the professionals in the agency.

More, with TapToTalk Sharing you can even add your album templates to another TapToTalk Designer user's TapToTalk!

So use your album library to save your album designs for future use, to meet the individual needs of various kids.

Click here for more information about Album Libraries in a printable pdf.

Friday, October 7, 2011

TapToTalk AAC on the Kindle Fire

We are delighted to announce that TapToTalk will be available on the Kindle Fire as soon as that device is available.

Soon you'll have yet another choice for an AAC device. The TapToTalk app for the Kindle Fire will be free and work just like the other TapToTalk apps

As always, there will be no cost for this capability for TapToTalk Designer users. You can run your TapToTalk albums without change on the Kindle Fire, and on as many of our supported devices as you wish. No extra charge. And the TapToTalk Kindle Fire App with sample albums will be free to any Kindle Fire user.

Details will be available on the TapToTalk home page soon. Stay tuned.



Amazon is really extending themselves for their customers. They are testing the apps in the Amazon Appstore for Android to determine if they work properly with the Kindle Fire.  Here is the notification we received from Amazon:

Dear Assistyx LLC,

Congratulations! The following app has passed our compatibility testing for Kindle Fire: TapToTalk

TapToTalk is already available to our customers through the Amazon Appstore for Android.

We thank you for your continued support of the Amazon Appstore.

Best regards,
Amazon Appstore Account Team


We at TapToTalk say, "Thank you, Amazon!"

Monday, October 3, 2011

Where in the world is TapToTalk?

TapToTalk can be used in any language, and so it is not surprising that it is used in over 20 languages in 40 countries, on every continent except Antarctica (we have dolphin and orangutan users, but it seems the penguins are holdouts).

Here are the top 10 countries in numbers of paid TapToTalk users, from most to least:

1. United States
2. Canada
3. Australia
4. United Kingdom
5. Ireland
6. Mexico
7. Israel
8. Italy
9. Germany
10. Finland, Malaysia, France, New Zealand (tied)

Here is how the list looks when you factor in population. These are the top 10 countries in per capita TapToTalk use:

1. Ireland
2. Australia
3. United States
4. Canada
5. United Kingdom
6. Israel
7. New Zealand
8. Finland
9. Denmark
10. Singapore

TapToTalk users are part of a global community, giving kids a voice.


Join the TapToTalk community on Facebook


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

TapToTalks helps humans communicate with orangutans and dolphins


Yes, that's an orangutan using TapToTalk!

Famed animal communications researcher, advocate and teacher Jack Kassewitz has been using TapToTalk for over a year to communicate with dolphins and orangutans. Jack has pioneered the use of leading edge technologies to facilitate communication with these intelligent animals. Early on, he saw the potential of the iPad and other tablet devices, and began using them in his work.

When we first met Jack, he was considering getting an app developed to enable dolphin-human communication. He realized that TapToTalk Designer let him create the interface he needed. Soon dolphins were tapping and talking, and then orangutans.

For more information, check out Jack's website.

Now that's an AAC user experience report you don't see every day!



Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Is a child who uses TapToTalk leaving your school? Here's how to transfer their TapToTalk albums.

Teachers and SLPs often ask us how they can transfer a child’s albums to a parent or a different school after a child leaves their care. This "How To" shows you how to copy the child’s albums to another TapToTalk account.

TapToTalk Sharing makes doing this as easy as 1-2-3.

Step 1: Have the parent of the child get their own TapToTalk Designer Home account and create a new TapToTalk in it. They do not need to create any albums.

Step 2: The parent then shares their new TapToTalk with your school's TapToTalk Designer account. Here's how.

Step 3: You copy the child's albums from the child's school TapToTalk to the shared TapToTalk. Here's how.

That's it!

You've transferred the TapToTalk from your school's TapToTalk Designer account to the parent's account.

The family can publish the TapToTalk to any device(s) they want. They can now take over design work, and you can reuse the TapToTalk in your account for another child.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

One autistic boy's introduction to an iPhone and TapToTalk

Jack Kieffer writes a blog called Autism Plugged In, where he "combines my passion about gadgets with my desire to assist children with Autism." Here is his story about one autistic boy's introduction to an iPhone and TapToTalk:
...I sat down with Kevin to work on the iPhone. He had never before used an iPhone, iTouch, iPad, or any device of this sort. I showed him that the home button would bring up the main screen, and then I showed him how to swipe it to unlock the iPhone. Furthermore, I pointed out that he could turn off and lock the device using the small rectangular button at the top of the phone. (Kevin is often not verbal, or if he is, he's hard to understand, so he needed to show me that he knew what was going on by doing the actions himself.) Soon, he was unlocking the phone by himself and putting it to sleep when he didn’t want to use it anymore. He caught on to the technology surprisingly fast.

I learned something important from my first session with Kevin – he doesn't work very well with clutter, whether it be virtually or otherwise. When we were initially looking at the home screen, it was full of apps...The problem was, Kevin didn't know where to start. (Before I left, I put all of the apps except four into a folder on a separate page, so he wouldn't feel overwhelmed.)

I want to talk about...his experience with the TapToTalk application. As I said earlier, Kevin is not very verbal, and it's extremely rare to hear him say an entire sentence. When he opened TapToTalk, he first tapped the Toilet icon, which says, "I have to go to the bathroom" out loud. After the application said this phrase, Kevin repeated it. We all looked at him in excited disbelief--he's not one of the kids who frequently repeats instructions from people or conversations that he overhears, he sticks to basic words and strings a couple of them together. Of course, Kevin went back and journeyed into the "food" section and proceeded to make the application say, "I want to eat a (insert food here.)" and repeated the phrase. This successful interaction was very encouraging!
Very encouraging, indeed!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Great BubCap Giveaway!


TapToTalk turns an iPad, iPod touch or iPhone into a great communication device for a non-verbal child. But one vexing problem can be those little fingers hitting the control button on the device and exiting TapToTalk. If this is an issue for your little tapper, BubCaps are a great, economical solution. We know, because many of you have told us you use BubCaps and love them.

So now we announce the Great BubCap Giveaway! In cooperation with our friends at Paperclip Robot, the makers of BubCaps, every time the TapToTalk Facebook page reaches another milestone of 50 "likes" we will select a lucky winner and mail them their free package of BubCaps.


Here is how to enter:

Send us an email with the subject line "BubCap" to marketing@taptotalk.com.

Be sure your full name is in the body of the email. That signs you up for the giveaway.

You only need to sign up once!

That's all there is to it.

We also ask that you go to www.facebook.com/TapToTalk and click "Like" if you are not already following us on Facebook.

And please encourage others who are interested in helping folks with speech problems to communicate, to "Like" us on Facebook. Every time we get another 50 fans, someone--maybe you--will win BubCaps.

To learn more about BubCaps, or to buy them, go right to the BubCap website at www.BubCap.com.

Assistyx LLC, makers of TapToTalk, has no interest, financial or otherwise, in Paperclip Robot, makers of BubCaps. But we do think its a great product from a great company, and many of our users agree.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Tips and Tricks: Getting Support When You Need It

We at TapToTalk are proud to have real people available to answer your questions on the use of TapToTalk and TapToTalk Designer. We often respond within two hours of receiving your support request. It is a rare occasion when we cannot respond within the same business day. Though our official hours are Monday through Friday, 9am-6pm Pacific Time, we often respond to email and support form questions "after hours."

The Contact page on our web site gives you several ways to contact Tech Support. We highly recommend that you use the Support Form accessed with the link that says "THE FASTEST WAY TO GET "HOW-TO" HELP & TECH SUPPORT" on the Contact page. That form can also be accessed from the Customer Zone using the link that says "Contact Tech Support." The Customer Zone also provides a quick link to our Online Help and Documentation page, where you can find lots of TapToTalk documentation and instructions (this same material can be accessed using the Help link in TapToTalk Designer).

The more detail that you can give us about the problem you are having or where you are getting "stuck" the better. Regardless of how you contact us, please include the email address that you use to log into TapToTalk Designer.

We know you may be tempted to pick up the phone and call. However, you will not get faster service that way. Support requests are answered in the order that they are received regardless of whether they come through email or the phone.

On the other hand, please do not hesitate to contact us as described above when you need help. You will get answers a lot faster that way than by posting a question on our Facebook page. Facebook is not monitored by our support team, so your question or concern may be missed and response will certainly be delayed. And we want to respond quickly and individually to your support needs.

We also understand that sometimes you just need to talk to a real person. But, please give us a chance to answer your question via email. If this doesn’t work, we can and will schedule a telephone session. We can even use a remote support tool where we can see what you’re doing or can show you how to do something when we are both at the computer. Scheduling a session does take a little planning so that we aren’t playing telephone tag.

Please take advantage of our Tech Support if you have ANY questions. We are here to make sure that you and your child are successful with TapToTalk.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Upload Photos from your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad to TapToTalk Designer

Now you can easily upload photos from any iPhone, iPod touch or iPad directly to your TapToTalk Designer Picture Library with the TapToTalk Uploader App. The pictures are then available in Designer to add to your TapToTalk albums. You can choose pictures from one of your device's photo albums, or take a photo and immediately upload it.
  • Buy the TapToTalk Uploader App from the iTunes App Store for only $1.99
  • Use your TapToTalk Designer login credentials to upload photos from your device
  • You can also upload to someone else's Designer account if you have their login credentials
  • You do not need TapToTalk on your device to run TapToTalk Uploader
The Uploader App requires iOS 4 or later.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Copying TapToTalk Albums

TapToTalk Designer lets you copy albums in your Designer account.  Here are some examples of why you might copy an album:

Make a Test Copy
If you have an album that is important and you want to experiment with changes to it, you can make a copy of the original and work and test on the copy.

Give an Album to Another User
If another Designer user has shared a TapToTalk with you, you can copy any of your albums to their TapToTalk.

Copy an Album to Another TapToTalk (Pro or Agency Accounts)
If you have more than one TapToTalk in your account, you might want to use an album from one person's TapToTalk as the foundation of an album for another person's TapToTalk.

See the "Copying Albums" topic in the "Albums" category of Designer Help for more details and step-by-step instructions..

Monday, August 1, 2011

TapToTalk AAC for Cohen Syndrome

Cohen syndrome is a rare genetic disorder, characterized by developmental and intellectual delay, small head size, muscle and joint weakness, narrow hands and feet, small stature and myopia. Characteristic facial features include thick hair and eyebrows, long eyelashes, unusually-shaped eyes and an open-mouthed appearance. These children tend to be abnormally friendly.

Estimates are that fewer than 1,000 people have been diagnosed worldwide. However, Cohen syndrome is often misdiagnosed, so the incidence may be several times higher.

For much more about this condition and worldwide resources, visit the excellent Cohen Syndrome Association (CSA) website.

Children with Cohen syndrome are often non-verbal or partially verbal. They have the same need and right to communicate as do all other kids. TapToTalk can be an effective, affordable, portable, socially acceptable, customizable AAC solution for them.

Check out this great video of a child with Cohen syndrome being introduced to her TapToTalk. We want to thank Lisa Simonson McElhinney, president of the Cohen Syndrome Association, for this video. And even more thanks to her sweet daughter Morgan, its shining star.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

How do my TapToTalk albums get to my iPad?

We are often asked, "How do my albums get to my iPad (or Nook or iPod touch or iPhone or Android device)?" It may seem like magic, but it isn't. The answer is that you have your own private "mailbox" where your published albums are stored. When you publish your albums, they go into the "mailbox."



1. Your TapToTalk is just a set of one or more of your albums. When you added your TapToTalk to Designer and named it, Designer gave you a unique number for that TapToTalk. That is your "mailbox" number which we call a TapToTalk ID. You either gave the TapToTalk a password then or the first time that you published your albums. Your password is the "key" to the mailbox. Your "mailbox" is on the TapToTalk Designer server "in the cloud." If you bought more than one TapToTalk, you get different TapToTalk IDs for each one.

2. On your iPad, you use the Settings App to enter the TapToTalk ID and password, and you turn on the "Download Albums" option. When "Download Albums" is "ON" you are telling the TapToTalk App to check the mailbox automatically.

3. Each and every time you run the free TapToTalk App on the iPad, it checks to see if there are new albums in the "mailbox." If there are, the app downloads the content from the server and stores it on the iPad. All this happens as the app is starting up. You'll see messages like "Downloading Albums" and "Extracting Content" when this happens.

If your Device is not connected, you will get a message that tells you it is not connected. To be honest, we wish we didn't have to have that message come up, but Apple makes us do it. You can turn download albums "OFF" if you don't like the message, but remember to turn it back "ON" the next time you publish.

There is one difference between our server and a mailbox. Your albums can be picked up by as many devices as you have that use your TapToTalk ID and password. It's like the mailbox is never really empty. Your iPad, the school's iPad, your Android phone, whatever, can all pick up the same mail. (That’s how we distribute the "free additional content" that you may have tried. It's a public "mailbox" and key we let everyone use.)

Also, the iPad doesn’t have to be in same room, state or even on the same continent as your computer. It's all in the "cloud." Just like your email, you can get it from anywhere your iPad can connect to the Internet.

That's how the magic works!



The same process described above is how TapToTalk works on the iPod touch, iPhone, Android devices and the Nook Color. There is also a way to download albums to these devices through a Windows PC or Mac computer if the device itself is not online. All of this is explained in Designer's online help.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

How to Move TapToTalk from Nintendo to iPad

You can run your TapToTalk on any of the many devices we support. You can run it on as many devices as you want.

But since one of the most common questions we get is "How do I move my child's TapToTalk from a Nintendo to an iPad?" we thought we'd give some step-by-step instructions for how to do just that. Here they are:

Step 1. Download the free TapToTalk App from the App Store. Do this right on your iPad or through iTunes on your computer, whichever is most convenient.

Step 2. In TapToTalk Designer, publish your albums for the iPad.

a. When publishing completes, you will see your 10 digit TapToTalk ID.

b. If you have not yet given your TapToTalk a password, you will be asked to give it one. You only have to do this once. We recommend that you use one that is different from your Designer password.

Step 3. On your iPad, configure your TapToTalk App using the iPad’s Settings App.

a. In the Settings App, find TapToTalk in the list of apps.

b. Enter the TapToTalk ID and password from Step 2, above. You only have to do this once. For more details, see the "TapToTalk iPhone and iPad App Guide" in Designer's online help.

4. Start the TapToTalk App on your iPad.

a. If your iPad is connected to the Internet, it will download your published albums automatically.

b. Once the albums are on your iPad, you don’t need to be connected to run TapToTalk until the next time you update your albums.

Remember, you can publish your content to any and all of the devices we support. You can keep using the Nintendo if you choose. If your school or SLP has an iPad, you can give them your TTT ID and Password and they can receive the content, too!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Announcing TapToTalk on the BlackBerry PlayBook

We're happy to announce that TapToTalk now runs on the BlackBerry® PlayBook.

Now you have yet another choice for an AAC device. The TapToTalk PlayBook App is available free from BlackBerry App World and works just like the other TapToTalk apps.

As always, there is no cost for this capability for TapToTalk Designer users. You can run your TapToTalk albums without change on the PlayBook, and on as many of our supported devices as you wish. No extra charge. Click here for details on setting up the PlayBook App for your TapToTalk.

And the TapToTalk PlayBook App with sample albums is free to any PlayBook user. Just use this link or search for TapToTalk in App World.

So give TapToTalk a try on your PlayBook!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Distributing Your AAC Albums

TapToTalk Designer users may want to share album templates they have developed with others. The purpose of this article is to explain the two ways to do this, "TapToTalk Sharing" and "Sending an Album."

 TapToTalk Sharing Here is how to distribute albums using TapToTalk Sharing:
  1. With your TapToTalk Pro or Agency account, develop your album templates and store them in your TapToTalk album library (the album library is a feature of Pro and Agency accounts).
  2. When you want to distribute one or more albums to another TapToTalk Designer user, have them share their TapToTalk from their Designer account with you.
  3. Add the album(s) you want from your album library to the shared TapToTalk. These are a copies, so you can make changes to without affecting the originals. You can customize at this point if you want, as can the owner of the TapToTalk you are sharing.
  4. When you are done, have the owner of the TapToTalk cancel sharing.
That's all there is to it. You can serve as many TapToTalks as you want this way.

More information about TapToTalk Sharing

Sending an Album
There are times when you simply want to send a copy of one or more of your albums to someone for use in their own Designer account. You can do this by giving them a file containing your album(s). They can then import the album(s) from that file into their Designer account using the Import function of TapToTalk Designer. Since it is a single file, you can email it, copy it to a memory stick, or use any other way that you would use to send someone a computer file.

More information about Sending Albums

Whether you distribute albums for free or as part of your business, TapToTalk Designer makes it easy to do serve others anywhere in the world.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Announcing New TapToTalk Pricing (effective June 20, 2011)

We are pleased to announce that you can now buy TapToTalk Designer for the one-time price of just $179.95 per child. This is not a subscription. There is nothing to renew, ever.

We still offer a one-year subscription for only $99.95 per child. But now, if you renew your subscription just once for $99.95, you never have to renew it again.

We've just made portable, customizable, socially acceptable AAC even more affordable. The choice of payment options is yours.

What if I'm already a subscriber?
If you are already a year-to-year subscriber, renew your subscription just once and it automatically becomes a "one-time payment" account. Then you'll never have to renew again.

The cost of renewing is $99.95 per TapToTalk. But if you renew by September 1, our special summer price is only $80 per TapToTalk.

But I already renewed!
Thanks! You have nothing more to pay! Over the next few weeks, we will be converting all renewed accounts to one-time payment accounts. No more renewal fees for you!

But I let my subscription expire!
That's okay. We are giving all expired subscribers the opportunity to renew. When you do, your account will automatically become a "one-time payment" account and you'll never have to renew again. Do that at our Customer Store.

The cost of renewing is still $99.95 per TapToTalk. But if you renew by September 1, our special summer price is only $80 per TapToTalk.

Now how do I add TapToTalks to my Designer account?
You can add TapToTalks to your one-time payment account at any time for $179.95. If you have a one-year subscription, you can upgrade it to a one-time payment account and add TapToTalks. For complete information, go to our Customer Store.

If you have any questions about our new pricing options and how they affect you, please contact us at info@taptotalk.com.

If you have a TapToTalk idea or story you'd like us to share with other TapToTalk users, please email us at blog@taptotalk.com.

The TapToTalk Team
www.taptotalk.com
blog@taptotalk.com

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Summer and Your TapToTalk



Summer is here!

(Well, it is in the northern hemisphere, at any rate. For all of you down-under, we apologize for being a half-year off.)

Here are some things to think about for your child's TapToTalk as summer begins:

Going on vacation? How are you traveling? You may want to add pictures related to an airplane, train, boat or car trip. Or of the people or places you plan to visit. You could even set up an album just for trips.

Closer to home, it may be time to add pictures for the beach or the local pool or park. Or maybe summer camp. You could, for example, have pictures of the staff at your child's camp.

Do you have some communication goals for your child this summer? Perhaps you have discussed that with the teacher or SLP. How can you use TapToTalk to extend your child's communication capability this summer?

One TapToTalk Mom told us she started an album for the summer garden, with flowers, plants, vegetables, hose, rake, watering can, snails, and so forth.

These are just some thought-starters. Have a great summer!

(this is re-posted from this time last year; summer is summer, after all)

If you have a TapToTalk idea or story you'd like us to share with other TapToTalk users, please email us at blog@taptotalk.com.

The TapToTalk Team
www.taptotalk.com
blog@taptotalk.com

Monday, June 13, 2011

SLPs-Using TapToTalk in Your Practice

TapToTalk Designer gives speech therapists and other special needs professionals a powerful tool to build their practices and provide better services to clients. They key feature that enables this is called "TapToTalk Sharing."

With TapToTalk Sharing, you can use your Designer account to create and maintain AAC content for your client's TapToTalk without you paying for the client's TapToTalk. The client's TapToTalk belongs to the client and resides in the client's own Designer account. The client gives you access to that TapToTalk by sharing it with your Designer account.

Your client simple "invites" you to share their TapToTalk. When you accept  the invitation, you will see your client's TapToTalk in your TapToTalk Designer account. You can add pictures and sounds to their albums from your account. You can add albums to their TapToTalk. You can publish albums for their TapToTalk. It is still their TapToTalk, the one in their TapToTalk Designer account. They just let you share it for design work!

You do not use one of your TapToTalks to access the one(s) shared with you. For example, if you have a Pro account with two TapToTalks, any TapToTalks that your clients share with you are in addition to the two that you own. They don't pay more for this feature, and you don't pay more either.

The Process
  • As a professionals, you would  typically get a TapToTalk Pro account with a few TapToTalks.
  • You develop a variety of templates and store them in the TapToTalk Pro album library (the album library is a feature of Pro and Agency accounts).
  • You use the TapToTalks you own for screening and evaluation work with individual clients.
  • When you and a client's family decide TapToTalk is right for a client's needs, the family of the client gets their own TapToTalk Home account.
  • The client's family then shares their TapToTalk with your Designer account.
The Power
  • You can do AAC design work for your client from any computer connected to the Internet, anywhere in the world.
  • You can share design activities with the family, who still have complete Designer access to the TapToTalk they shared with you.
  • The family can add their own photos and voices to your template after you add the template to the shared TapToTalk.
  • You do not use up one of your Designer account TapToTalks.
  • You do not need the device(s) that run the TapToTalk to work on design changes.
  • You can have as many shared TapToTalks appear in your Designer account as you want.
  • You can service as many client TapToTalks as you want with no additional cost to you.
TapToTalk Sharing gives you the ability to serve your clients better and grow your practice.

More information about TapToTalk sharing

If you have a TapToTalk idea or story you'd like us to share with other TapToTalk users, please email us at blog@taptotalk.com.

The TapToTalk Team
www.taptotalk.com
blog@taptotalk.com

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Announcing TapToTalk Sharing

Need help designing your TapToTalk?

Need to help someone else with their TapToTalk design?

Perhaps you just want to show your album designs to a friend?

Then our new TapToTalk Sharing feature is for you!

With TapToTalk Sharing, you can "invite" another TapToTalk Designer user anywhere in the world to view and/or make changes to your TapToTalk. When the invitation is accepted, they will see your TapToTalk in their TapToTalk Designer account. They can, if you so choose, add pictures and sounds to your albums from their account. They can publish albums for you for your TapToTalk. It is still your TapToTalk, the one in your TapToTalk Designer account. You've just let them share it for design work!

There is no extra cost for this feature. More, the person with whom you shared your TapToTalk does not use one of their own TapToTalks to access yours. For example, if you share with a Pro user who has two TapToTalks, the TapToTalk that you share is in addition to the two that they own. They don't pay more and you don't pay more.

The person with whom you share can add pictures and sounds from their libraries to your TapToTalk. If the person you share with has a Pro or Agency account, they can even add albums from their album library.

You can share your TapToTalk with as many other TapToTalk Designer accounts (users) as you want. On the other hand, you can have as many shared TapToTalks as you want from others. And you are in control of who you share with, who shares with you, and whether they can make changes or not. You can stop sharing your TapToTalk at any time.

If you are a professional who supports other TapToTalk users, they can have their own TapToTalk Designer Home account. They can share it with you, and you can use your account to do the design work.

This great new feature is now available to all TapToTalk Designer users. There is lots more information in Designer Help. Here is a direct link to the help document.

If you have a TapToTalk idea or story you'd like us to share with other TapToTalk users, please email us at blog@taptotalk.com.

The TapToTalk Team
http://www.taptotalk.com/
blog@taptotalk.com

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Not Just for Kids--TapToTalk is for Adults, Too

The same TapToTalk that helps thousands of children communicate is also used around the world to help adults with acute or chronic speech loss.

TapToTalk is frequently used for adults suffering from head injuries or stroke. Sudden loss of speech can be particularly disconcerting, and can compound the emotional impact of dealing with the loss of capability from head injury or stroke. Both the inability to communicate and the frustration and depression accompanying it can interfere with participating in treatment and with the speed of recovery.

Many have found that TapToTalk can help. TapToTalk can be put into service quickly and economically. In fact, the most frequent phrase we hear from family members is, "this is a no-brainer." And patients and their loved ones appreciate their ability to quickly customize TapToTalk with pictures of family members, treatment staff, and other personal and favorite items.

The devices we hear about most frequently for adults are the iPad and Nook Color. These devices are great because adults can do so many other things with them besides run TapToTalk, like reading and watching videos.

TapToTalk is, of course, also used by adults with chronic speech conditions, often the same ones that affect children. It can also help with progressive aphasia due to conditions associated with aging. It can be a great memory-jogger for those lost nouns, the ones that start to be replaced by pronouns.

For more information, see TapToTalk AAC for Adults - Blackjack Anyone? We've also created a TapToTalk web page just for adults.

If you have a TapToTalk idea or story you'd like us to share with other TapToTalk users, please email us at blog@taptotalk.com.

The TapToTalk Team
www.taptotalk.com
blog@taptotalk.com

Monday, May 16, 2011

How to Boom the Sounds from TapToTalk

Many of you have told us creative ways to broadcast the sound in TapToTalk to really make the voice boom! We want to share some of these great ideas.

Use one of the many available device that transmits through your radio.
  • One parent loves this in the car. The child communicates easily from the back seat.
  • A teacher is using this in her very noisy classroom.
  • This works with for all our platforms, if the device can plug into the headphone jacks.
  • An example is the Griffin iTrip FM Transmitter.
Small Bluetooth speakers are available that you can carry while the child carries his or her device.
  • Works with Nintendo, iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices.
  • May work with your Android device, but try before you buy.
  • May work with some car built-in BT speakers.
  • An example is the Motorola MOTOROKR EQ5
Apple TV for iPhone, iPod touch and iPads only…
  • Works through the new AirPlay feature in the Second Generation Apple TV.
  • Requires iOS 4.2 or above.
  • You need to enable and disable from another AirPlay-enabled App (like the Music Player or YouTube).
  • Apple TV is available at Apple Stores and other places where Apple products are sold.
We hope you find some of these ideas useful, and we want to thank our users who gave them to us.

If you have a TapToTalk idea or story you'd like us to share with other TapToTalk users, please email us at blog@taptotalk.com.

The TapToTalk Team
blog@taptotalk.com

Monday, May 9, 2011

Nintendo App Update--Improved Performance for Large Albums

Today we released an update to the TapToTalk Nintendo App. This update improves the Nintendo App's performance for large albums. Now, when you tap a picture in an album that contains a large number of pictures, the response should be prompt.

The problem fixed was slow response to tapping with large albums. If you are having this problem, you can update the Nintendo App software as follows:

1. Log on to TapToTalk Designer
2. Click the Help link
3. Under Topics, scroll down to the "TapToTalk Nintendo App" section, and click "Upgrading Your Nintendo App"
4. Follow the instructions that appear (you can print them if you wish)

This applies to all supported Nintendo devices: DSi, DSi XL, DS Lite and DS.

We want to thank the customers who helped us identify this issue and who tested the update.

If you have a TapToTalk idea or story you'd like us to share with other TapToTalk users, please email us at blog@taptotalk.com.

The TapToTalk Team
www.taptotalk.com
blog@taptotalk.com

Friday, May 6, 2011

Happy Mother's Day to TapToTalk Moms

(Originally posted for Mother's Day 2010. We decided it was as true today as it was then.)

Dear TapToTalk Mom,

It has been a privilege to get to know hundreds of you over the last year. A few face-to-face, more over the phone, and even more in email conversations, mom blogs and on Facebook. Nine out of ten of the parents we have contact with are moms.

You told us that when you found out you had a special needs child, your life changed in ways you'd never imagined. You found the strength and courage to carry on, to figure out how to get your child's needs met in a world that often did not seem to be able to respond, or even want to. Love is indeed a powerful force.

When we designed TapToTalk, you and your child were on our minds. We wanted to give you a tool to help your child communicate that was affordable and that your child would want to use. Now, we hear from you all the time. You tell us what we are doing right and what we need to improve. Your voice is heard in every one of our meetings, as we make decisions. We call it the TapToTalk Mom Test: “How will this work for the moms?”

Some of you told us that "you aren't good at computers," yet you wasted no time figuring out how to use TapToTalk Designer. You added pictures of your family and your child's favorite foods. You learned and worked hard for your child.

You have stunned us with your creativity in the ways you use TapToTalk to meet your child's needs. You bring smiles to our faces, and very often tears to our eyes, when you tell us how TapToTalk has helped you, your child, and your family.

You make what we do feel incredibly worthwhile every day. Please keep your feedback coming. We, and especially your child, could not do it without you.

Sincerely,
Lenny Greenberg and Phil Bookman
CTO and CEO of Assistyx, the TapToTalk Company

If you have a TapToTalk idea or story you'd like us to share with other TapToTalk users, please email us at blog@taptotalk.com.

The TapToTalk Team
www.taptotalk.com
blog@taptotalk.com

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Give TapToTalk a try on your Nook!

We're happy to announce that TapToTalk runs on the just announced Barnes & Noble Nook Color 1.2. The TapToTalk Nook App is available free from the Nook app store. It is actually our Android App updated to handle the new Nook release, which now has its own app store.

At $249, the Nook is a very economical tablet for running TapToTalk, let alone the other apps that will be available on the Nook app store. And this is the first eReader with an available AAC app.

As always, this TapToTalk capability is free to current subscribers. You can run your TapToTalk albums on the Nook and as many of our supported devices as you wish. No extra charge. And the free TapToTalk app with sample albums is free to anyone.

So give TapToTalk a try on your Nook!

If you have a TapToTalk idea or story you'd like us to share with other TapToTalk users, please email us at blog@taptotalk.com.

The TapToTalk Team
www.taptotalk.com
blog@taptotalk.com

Monday, April 25, 2011

A Call for Research--"My child no longer needs AAC"

At TapToTalk, we often hear from our customers when it is time to renew their TapToTalk Designer subscription. One of the reasons that a customer does not renew is that their child is now able to communicate without the need for AAC.

Or, as one TapToTalk Mom wrote us, "My son has no further use for this way of communication as he now is quite verbal and talks non-stop!"

Certainly, we all would love this outcome. But how often does it occur? For what kinds of non-verbal conditions (other than the injuries that create short-term speech loss)? Are there factors that point to this outcome and can be used predictively? Are there associated factors that, when accompanied by portable, socially acceptable AAC, lead to independent speech?

As an AAC vendor, we respect every customer's privacy, and we only know their experiences when they choose to tell us. What we know tends to be highly anecdotal and superficial. That said, we hear from parents, like the mom quoted above, often enough to say that there are a surprising number of children who appear to be unable to express themselves verbally without AAC and, a year later, are speaking independently. How do we know it's a year? Because TapToTalk Designer is an annual subscription, and we survey those who do not renew. That is often when we hear about this.

We're not going to try to quantify this phenomenon because our data are not scientific. Rather, we suggest that this is ripe for some serious academic research, especially now that affordable AAC apps on standard devices (like the iPad and Nintendo) have put AAC into the hands of so many more people. We'd be glad to cooperate with such research.

Parents and professionals, if you know of someone who is interested in doing this kind of research, please make an introduction. Researchers, we’re here and ready to assist.

If you have a TapToTalk idea or story you'd like us to share with other TapToTalk users, please email us at blog@taptotalk.com.

The TapToTalk Team
www.taptotalk.com
blog@taptotalk.com

Sunday, April 10, 2011

TapToTalk AAC for Adults - Blackjack Anyone?

There is nothing about TapToTalk that confines its use to kids. In fact, we have heard of users ranging in age from 2 years old to 89 years old. We even have a category in our standard picture library called Food-Drinks-Adult. And you can always add you own pictures and sounds to personalize TapToTalk and meet individual needs.

Some the adults who use TapToTalk are autistic or have Down Syndrome or cerebral palsy. Others have become aphasic due to stroke or a head injury. Some just need TapToTalk temporarily until they regain the ability to speak. For them, TapToTalk can really reduce the frustration of experiencing the sudden loss of speech. Others have a long-term need for AAC.

Here is a brief video of a young woman who could no longer speak after a head injury. In the video, she is just being introduced to TapToTalk for the first time. Notice her wonderful smile when she realizes she can now ask for a smoothie. (We are happy to report that she is has recently started to talk again. Interestingly, she still uses TapToTalk to practice hand coordination.)

The iPad seems to be the current adult device of choice, because of its picture size, volume, and all the other things you can use it for. And some adults with physical disabilities that make using a mouse or tapping a screen difficult, take advantage of our single switch scanning (autoscanning) option. Single switch scanning lets you use a "big button" or other device to step through the pictures and select the one you want.

One speech therapist told us about an adult client who likes to play blackjack. So togther they developed a TapToTalk album containing all the words and phrases you need in order to play. They had fun choosing pictures for things like "hit me." We hear poker is next.

If you have a TapToTalk idea or story you'd like us to share with other TapToTalk users, please email us at blog@taptotalk.com.

The TapToTalk Team
www.taptotalk.com
blog@taptotalk.com

Monday, April 4, 2011

Run Web App in Kiosk Mode on Windows

One of the problems kids may have running an application on a web browser is that they navigate away to another website or close the browser. Some of our users running the TapToTalk Web App would like to make it harder for the kids who use it to leave the app. This post is about how to do that on Windows.

Most web browsers running on Windows use F11 as a toggle for what is known as full-screen mode. Try it. Press F11 while running your web browser and all the navigation controls disappear. To get them back, press F11 again.

This helps, but a child can press F11 to exit full-screen mode. So here's how to use Internet Explorer in true kiosk mode.

The trick is to start Internet Explorer with a special command line. You can create a shortcut to do this. The command is:

iexplore.exe -k [url]

There are three parts to this line:

iexplore.exe is the actual name of the Internet Explorer porgram.

-k is called a command line switch. In this case, the -k tells Internet Explorer to run in kiosk mode.

[url] is a placeholder for the url you want to run. Don't just type [url]. Replase it with the url you want to run.

For example, here is how to run the TapToTalk Web App demo in kiosk mode:

iexplore.exe -k http://tttdemo.mytaptotalk.com/tttplayer.htm?id=demo&album=101

But how do you ever close the browser when it runs in kiosk mode? The trick is to press Alt-F4.

Note that there are plug-ins available for other browsers to run them in kiosk mode.

Thanks to our users who shared this tip with us.

If you have a TapToTalk idea or story you'd like us to share with other TapToTalk users, please email us at blog@taptotalk.com.

The TapToTalk Team
www.taptotalk.com
blog@taptotalk.com

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Product Announcement - TapToTalk Now Has Scanning

We are delighted to announce that we have added scanning capability to TapToTalk.

Scanning is a TapToTalk feature designed for individuals who have difficulty accurately tapping a touch screen or accurately using a mouse. Many physical conditions can can cause such problems. One of the most common is cerebral palsy.

Scanning is supported now by the TapToTalk iPhone/iPad App and the Web App. We are working on adding this support to the Android App but have no definite release date. We do not plan to have scanning in the Nintendo App.

Scanning with the TapToTalk iPhone/iPad App
When scanning is enabled, a blue border highlights each picture on the screen in turn. When the screen is tapped anywhere, by any means the highlighted picture is selected as if it had been tapped.

How to  get TapToTalk Scanning
  • Scanning is a free feature available to all iPhone/iPad App users
  • It can be turned on and off in the TapToTalk App settings on the device, so you can easily try it
  • Subscribers have additional control over scan settings in TapToTalk Designer
  • For more information, see Enabling Scanning in TapToTalk Designer
Works with Specialized Assistive Equipment
Sscanning does not require specialized equipment. However, often those who need to use scanning also need specialized equipment.
  • Scanning with the TapToTalk iPhone/iPad App works with the iPad Cordless Super-Switch
    from RJ Cooper and Associates. This "big button" for the iPad is designed for people with physical limitations. If you are looking for a single switch that will work "out of the box," this is for you.
  • The TapToTalk iPhone/iPad App also works with the iPad Cordless Switch Interface
    from RJ Cooper and Associates. This adapter works with non-iPad switches from RJ Cooper.
    Please contact RJ Cooper and Associates to see if this adapter works with switches that you may already own.
  • For more information about this specialized equipment, contact RJ Cooper and Associates
Scanning with the TapToTalk Web App
When scanning is enabled, a blue border highlights each picture on the screen in turn. When the mouse is clicked (left-click) anywhere on the screen, the highlighted picture is selected as if it had been clicked. You can use any mouse or device that acts as a mouse to perform the click. This includes tapping a touchscreen.

How to  get TapToTalk Scanning
Works with Specialized Assistive Equipment
Scanning does not require specialized equipment. However, often those who need to use scanning also need specialized equipment.
  • Many switches perform left mouse clicks on PCs and Macs.
  • One device that provides a left mouse click is the Super Switch from RJ Cooper and Associates. This provides a "big button" for PCs and Macs, specially designed for people with physical limitations.
  • For more information about this specialized equipment, contact RJ Cooper and Associates
We are pleased to provide scanning to help more people take advantage of affordable, customizable AAC.

If you have a TapToTalk idea or story you'd like us to share with other TapToTalk users, please email us at blog@taptotalk.com.

The TapToTalk Team
www.taptotalk.com
blog@taptotalk.com

Monday, March 21, 2011

TapToTalk AAC for Mowat-Wilson Syndrome

Children with the rare genetic disorder know as Mowat-WIlson syndrome display distinctive facial features (including narrow chin, cupped ears, wide-set eyes, open mouth) and other physical abnormalities, along with delayed development and mental disability. Treatment is generally supportive in nature, and speech and physical therapy are essential components of a treatment plan. Early intervention is also important.

Because this disorder is so rare, few SLPs have first hand experience with it. One is Barbara Hallahan, an SLP in Ireland and a TapToTalk Service Provider, who shared this with us:

"I am working with a 6 year old with Mowat-Wilson syndrome. He is using the Nintendo version of TapToTalk appropriately. He has been able to communicate novel statements. He is even trying to repeat the phrases we have programmed into it. He was not doing as well with other alternative communication methods. I am delighted we have found something he enjoys that is not hard to programme."

Barbara also developed a TapToTalk album specially designed to help this child improve his ability to tap. This idea can be used to help any child with fine motor skills issues. See Helping a Child with Tapping Problems use AAC.

Children with Mowat-Wilson syndrome have the same need (and right) to communicate as do all other kids. TapToTalk can be an effective AAC solution for them.

If you have a TapToTalk idea or story you'd like us to share with other TapToTalk users, please email us at blog@taptotalk.com.

The TapToTalk Team
www.taptotalk.com
blog@taptotalk.com

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Introducing a Child to TapToTalk (or any AAC device)

This is a question we hear frequently: "How should I introduce TapToTalk to my child?"

Each child is different, so the following advice should be weighed against your knowledge of your child. But talking to parents, SLPs, OTs and teachers, we have heard a common thread of advice that we would like to share with you.

1. Start simple, with just a few things the child really likes, such as favorite foods, beverages and toys. Also include core emotions, and the ever-popular toilet. Don't start out trying to do everything.

2. Show your child how to use TapToTalk to ask for those things.

3. Reinforce it every time they want those things. This can be hard--it's a form of tough love--but most children catch on fast (I see, I get my cookie when I "ask" for it, and I don't get it when I do other things, like fuss).

As TapToTalk Parent Chris Statham says, "My son is 6 years old and diagnosed with autism. I took pictures of him, family, members, our house, his toys, etc and put sentences to each picture. For instance, his picture says 'my name is Tyler.' I would say within 2 days, Tyler began to say his name for the first time."

Leigh Foster adds, "It's not just the child that is learning--the parents/other adults have to learn a new way of communicating, too!"

We have heard that many start with our Starter Albums, and modify them. Others start from scratch, Which ever way you begin, once your child catches on, you can start increasing the vocabulary, that is, adding pictures and albums.

If you have a TapToTalk idea or story you'd like us to share with other TapToTalk users, please email us at blog@taptotalk.com.

The TapToTalk Team
www.taptotalk.com
blog@taptotalk.com

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Print a TapToTalk Manual

TapToTalk user documentation is available in two places: the Help link in TapToTalk Designer, and the Online Help and Documentation page on taptotalk.com (found in the Customer Zone). Both locations have the same content, including web pages, pdfs and brief videos that illustrate how to use TapToTalk.

But sometimes, you just want a printed manual. Now you can get one. Well, actually, there are two. One is for general TapToTalk users, and the second has additional information for TapToTalk Agency users. The links for downloading both of these manuals are right at the top of the Online Help and Documentation page. There is also a little help (question mark) icon next to the links--click it for instructions on how print the manuals.

These manuals are collections of pdfs from the Help system, so if you use Help, you won't find anything new in them.

But if it's a manual you need, you can have it.

If you have a TapToTalk idea or story you'd like us to share with other TapToTalk users, please email us at blog@taptotalk.com.

The TapToTalk Team
www.taptotalk.com
blog@taptotalk.com

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Guest Post: Helping a Child with Tapping Problems use AAC

Guest blogger Barbara Hallahan, SLP is a TapToTalk Service Provider in Ireland. She developed a simple yet effective method for helping a boy whose finger control issues got in the way of using AAC. Here is her story: 

Some kiddos have difficulty controlling their fingers, so it is important to help them develop the skills to tap where they need to as firmly as they need to in order to get the best results. The boy I work with has difficulty isolating a single finger and also has difficulty tapping only once. Despite this problem, there were some items he can consistently press successfully, so I knew he was able but needed support.

When encountering this kind of problem, it helps to break it down and tackle the issues separately.

The first thing I did was isolate the problems:

1. Without resistance he would tap lightly and quickly, but with someone holding his wrist (resistance) he had to push down harder and did not tap repeatedly, he tapped once with more control and force.

2. I found that it worked better to hold his forearm--both because it positioned his hand further away from the screen (better visibility) and because it prevented me from subconsciously directing his finger to the "correct" choice. It is very easy to accidentally make the choice for the child and think he is doing it.

The next thing I did was develop two "warm up" TapToTalk albums for him so he could practice self-calibration--get used to refining his aim and accuracy.

The structure of the warm-ups is as follows:

Basic TapToTalk Warm-up Album

Page 1: Six pictures, with one picture containing a motivating icon (I used a dog) and the other five just plain white squares. Only the dog will bring you to a new page (after barking for you).
Page 2: The new page contains six pictures, five white squares and a fish in a different corner than the dog was on the first page. Pressing the fish gives a new sound and the next set of six pictures.
Page 3: On this page, the "prize" is a cat, and on the next page the "prize" is a frog.
Page 4: When the frog is pressed, a single icon (magic wand) appears and...
Page 5: Pressing it produces "Bravo."

You can substitute any motivating pictures and sounds. It is better to use different ones than all the same, and keep changing the location of the motivating picture among the six.

Advanced TapToTalk Warm-up Album

The second "calibrator"  uses twelve pictures per page instead of six and has five levels. I use the same concept with plain white squares producing no results. Place a star in the upper left corner for the first level, a slightly different one in the upper right corner on the second level, lower left (again just slightly different--colour or size) on third level, lower right (again a bit different) on fourth level. The last page has a single icon and delivers a positive sound message when pressed.

If you use these for a warm up with children who are inconsistent in their responses, you can collect data regarding the number of unsuccessful or incorrect attempts between the first page and the finish. You can also track the time it takes to get from beginning to end. Both of these methods of data collection can be used in outcome reporting and in setting goals.

I also developed a variation on the numbers template so the boy I am working with can practice counting out loud with his fingers. Pressing number one brings him to a page with a single blue box. Pressing the box produces the spoken word "one." Back on the top page, pressing the number two brings us to a page with two blue blocks. Pressing the first produces the spoken word "one." Pressing the second blue box produces the spoken word "two." And so on.

He continues to vocalize more than before he had the tap to talk, and is making more spontaneous attempts to communicate more effectively with and without the DS.

You'll find lots of great pictures to use for this if you explore the various categories in the TapToTalk Picture Library. You can get the white square from the Colors category and magic wand in the Circus-Magic category. You can explore the library in Designer, or on the TapToTalk website's Picture Library page (this page has a nice search feature).

If you have a TapToTalk idea or story you'd like us to share with other TapToTalk users, please email us at blog@taptotalk.com.

The TapToTalk Team
www.taptotalk.com
blog@taptotalk.com

Monday, March 7, 2011

New! TapToTalk Adds Text-to-Speech

Now you can use text-to-speech in TapToTalk Designer to add sounds to your pictures. Type the text, pick the language and voice, and TapToTalk Designer speaks it. There are over two dozen voices to choose from! TapToTalk Designer remembers your preferred voice, so you don’t have to choose it over and over.

Text-to-speech gives you another choice for creating your sounds. You can still record sounds, upload sound files or use the starter phrases in the Standard Sound Library.

Text-to-Speech has male and female voices for English (in several accents), French, German, Spanish and Italian. Of course, you can still record your sounds in any language.

If you are a TapToTalk Designer subscriber, you already have this new feature. The next time you use TapToTalk Designer, you will see a "TTS" option wherever you add sounds: Properties, Picture Library and Sound Library.

Learn More

Step-by-Step Instructions

If you have a TapToTalk idea or story you'd like us to share with other TapToTalk users, please email us at blog@taptotalk.com.

The TapToTalk Team
www.taptotalk.com
blog@taptotalk.com

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Tips and Tricks: TapToTalk Tech Support

We at TapToTalk are proud to have real people available to answer your questions on the use of TapToTalk and TapToTalk Designer. We often respond within two hours of receiving your support request. It is a rare occasion when we cannot respond within the same business day. Though our official hours are Monday through Friday, 9am-6pm Pacific Time, we often respond to email and support form questions "after hours."

The Contact page on our web site gives you several ways to contact Tech Support. We highly recommend that you use the Support Form accessed with the link that says "THE FASTEST WAY TO GET PRODUCT & TECH SUPPORT" on the Contact page takes you). That form can also be accessed from the Customer Zone using the link that says "Contact Tech Support." The Customer Zone also provides a quick link to our Online Help and Documentation page, where you can find lots of TapToTalk documentation and instructions (this same material can be accessed using the Help link in TapToTalk Designer).

The more detail that you can give us about the problem you are having or where you are getting "stuck" the better. Regardless of how you contact us, please include the email address that you use to log into TapToTalk Designer.

We know you may be tempted to pick up the phone and call. However, you will not get faster service that way. Support requests are answered in the order that they are received regardless of whether they come through email or the phone.

On the other hand, please do not hesitate to contact us as described above when you need help. You will get answers a lot faster that way than by posting a question on our Facebook page. Facebook is not monitored by our support team, so your question or concern may be missed and response will certainly be delayed. And we want to respond quickly and individually to your support needs.

We also understand that sometimes you just need to talk to a real person. But, please give us a chance to answer your question via email. If this doesn’t work, we can and will schedule a telephone session. We can even use a remote support tool where we can see what you’re doing or can show you how to do something when we are both at the computer. Scheduling a session does take a little planning so that we aren’t playing telephone tag.

Please take advantage of our Tech Support if you have ANY questions. We are here to make sure that you and your child are successful with TapToTalk.

If you have a TapToTalk idea or story you'd like us to share with other TapToTalk users, please email us at blog@taptotalk.com.

The TapToTalk Team
http://www.taptotalk.com/
blog@taptotalk.com
 
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