From user interface to features, ChatAble, will give you what you’d expect in a basic augmentative communication app and surprise you with what you didn’t even know you wanted. At first glance, this app looks like many augmentative communication apps with a nice grid layout, clear speech, and understandable pictures. With further investigation, one will find the following cool and useful features:
Take a pic of any scene in the user’s environment. Make any part of the picture a message button for communication.
Create a communication page that combines a picture scene with a standard communication grid layout.
Tap the arrow in the lower right corner of the screen and a menu wheel comes up that grants you access to all of the controls. This made programming and changing settings very fast.
Set a page to come up on the screen at a certain time during the user’s day to help communicate within a certain environment. For example, have the “gym” communication board come up on the screen at the exact time the student is scheduled for gym.
Set a page to come up on the screen when the user enters a certain location within the built-in GPS of the iOS device. For example, I went to the grocery store and set the location for the grocery store board. The next time I arrived at that same store, the grocery communication board came up automatically.
Link your message button to a video you just captured on your iPad or directly to a video on YouTube. Play an audio clip, link it to a website or have it play a song directly from your iTunes library. You can even do multiple links for one message.
ChatAble comes with a Write Pad that allows one to use a stylus or finger to hand write (cursive and print) words and have them turn into text that can be spoken in the Message Window. This worked fairly well; however, one does need to have legible hand writing in order for this to work.
For people who have difficulty accessing the touch screen with their hands, ChatAble has on-board switch scanning. Features include auditory cueing, 1 & 2 switch scanning modes, flexible scan rate and changeable highlight colors. I especially like the “Quick Exit Gesture”, which when activated allows a caregiver or teacher to turn scanning off with a quick gesture on the touch screen.
ChatAble allows one to change the “sensitivity” of the touch screen, which can reduce or eliminate accidental message entries. For example, when I set “Key Hold Time Delay” to 1 second, I have to hold on all message buttons for one second and lift before the message will play.