CommunicAide Free: AAC/Speech Therapy is a free app that generates the spoken phrase or word selected by touching the corresponding button or picture. This app is meant to be used daily by persons suffering from Aphasia and other language disorders. Combinations of phrases and words can easily be combined and then the device plays the composition in a human voice.
Initial inspection of the main screen appears cluttered; however, the logical layout quickly makes sense. The left panel has buttons with various composed phrase fragments for quick composition and arrangement of your sentences. “Where is” and “I’d like” are examples of these fragments. The center panel displays boxes to select for individual words. “Bathroom” and “Jacket” are examples of these words. Most of these icons have a professional photograph of the actual object represented by the word you want spoken.
The right panel allows you to select the category of individual words. You can choose from "Family," "Food," "Recreation," "Health," "Clothing," "Daily Living," "Emotions," and "Library" categories. This free version only has six items in each word category. Along the top, from left to right are the following buttons: Favorites, History, Body Chart, and Settings. Next to the Settings button is an advertisement for the Pro version.
The bottom of the screen begins on the left with a star and plus icon. Tapping this saves your phrase to the favorites for ease of future use. The composition field is next. This will be the most viewed area of this app. Any phrase or word box selected will migrate as a text box into the composition field and will be spoken by the app. Located in the bottom right corner is a standard “Play” icon. When pressed, this initiates the voice to speak.
Lastly, for quick use are two colored buttons on either side of the screen near the bottom. A green button on the left side with a “check mark” symbol is labeled “YES.” A red button on the right side with an “X” symbol is labeled “NO.” There is no need to tap the play button when attempting to simply say “Yes” and “NO."
When selecting the “Body Chart” button a pop-up appears. A front and back view of a person is displayed with a “Pain Meter," a large red number, and a scroll bar to select from one to ten. This screen is used to quickly speak the name of the body part, when tapping the corresponding region on the person.
An intuitive drop down menu appears when you tap Settings. This allows you to select the gender of the voice as well as the person in the Body Chart. The size of the word icon is determined by selecting two or three columns. Edit mode will be where you customize this app. An “Add More” icon appears and this brings up the last screen shot. Simply type in the description, record the word, designate a photo (by snapping a shot or selecting from the Camera Roll), and assigning this item to a category.
Pros and Cons
Sleek and user friendly interface for all ages
Option to import personal photos and phrases
Option to save favorite phrases
Easy to use touch features
Slightly irritating burst of static sound clip upon completion of audio
CommunicAide Free is an effective and highly customizable app to help non-verbal users express themselves. The app is quick to learn and easy to use. It can also be used for teaching English pronunciation.