I have been following the work of AbleLink Technologies since I first saw them at a conference back in the late 90’s. I remember being captivated by their software applications on Personal Digital Assistants or PDAs, which helped people with cognitive disabilities increase their independent living and works skills. Today the company is still at it with apps and software that they have continued to perfect over the past two decades. In the next few blogs, I will talk about their current apps for independence.
The Visual Impact 3 app (149.99 for iOS and Android) allows one to use video, photos, imported pictures and audio to create step-by-step instructions, social stories, and visual modeling supports. If you are trying to teach new skills such as job tasks for employment, chores or everyday living skills, and/or improve behaviors and social skills, this app just might do the trick.
Every task or story created in Visual Impact 3 can be accessed on the first screen of user menu-see photo at the top of the page. When the user taps an item, an audio description plays before having to make a choice (i.e. “Tap this item again to learn how to make a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich.”). Once in a story or task, the user simply looks at a video or picture with or without audio and pushes the next button when they are ready for the next step-see pics above and the two videos below.
Creating new tasks and stories is very fast and simple. You basically put the device in program mode by pressing the Information Icon for 10 seconds. Then you press the Add New Item button. Within this window you begin creating each step by adding your own audio, video, pictures and/or photos. I made a 5 step task analysis in about 10 minutes or less-super intuitive and fast. The video at the bottom of the page goes over programming at about 28 seconds in.
Visual Impact 3 also offers a library of free downloadable videos that can be accessed right within the app.
I can see this app loaded on a phone or tablet working really well for people with disabilities in many instances. Great candidates might include the person with a brain injury who has to relearn basic daily living skills or a person with an intellectual disability who wants to learn a new job task independently to decrease dependence on a job coach. Just recently, I worked with a person who is deaf and has difficulty reading. We are going to try this app with to create step-by-step videos of each new job task needed for the job. We can add video of the sign language interpreter when needed instead of captions. This app can be on the person’s smartphone, so it can always be easily accessed when a step of the job is forgotten. This will hopefully create independence and a reduction in having to go ask someone else to repeat the instructions.
If you would like to see this app in action on an iPad (and not my old Palm Pilot PDA from 2001), please contact ASSISTIVE to schedule an appointment at 1-800-895-4728 or firstname.lastname@example.org.