Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Just ‘Scene and Heard’ of a fantastic new AAC app!

The more complex cases we receive each week at Small Talk speech and language therapy, the more there is an increasing need for efficient and universal communication aids. ‘Scene and Heard’ is a fantastic app by Therapy Box, that has been created as a seamless transition between both low and high tech AAC. The diversity in speech and language difficulties we target on a daily basis including; ASD, non-verbal clients, those with reduced communication breakdowns or limited language abilities means it is vital we are able to use resources that not only universal target the range of interventions we provide, but that also bridge the prominent gap between therapy and generalisation of learnt skills to everyday life.

‘Scene and Heard’ comprises of a library of over 12000 useful Widgit Symbols, which can be effectively added with photos into personalised, printable communication books for each client. The ability to tailor these resources into visual timetables gives everyone the opportunity to independently plan their own lives. An important factor during the speech and language therapy process is supporting the child or adult to take responsibility of their own learning and daily routines, the easy-to-use features means that this AAC devise can be readily adapted by child, parent, teacher and therapist.

‘Scene and Heard’ can be used to creatively develop step by step instructions for everyday activities, using both the in-app accessible scenes or the new added feature of being able to draw a scene ensures that the designing of these tools is a flexible, fun stage of the therapy process. Each in-app scene consists of a range of interactive media ‘hotspots’ that allow personalised audio recordings, video recordings, spoken text and symbols to be inserted into the activity to provide information through multiple modes of communication; further highlighting ‘Scene and Heard’ as a universal and accessible tool for anyone.

As well as those who struggle with receptive and expressive language, we regularly work with people who also have limited narrative skills. In addition to the augmentative and alternative communication functionality of this app, I have personally found the customised scenes a very useful resource to use when creating a sequence of events. The ability to upload new photos means I can create scenarios and social stories that can be accessed by the diverse population that I work with. Many people we work with at Small Talk have some addition behaviour needs, typically as a consequence of the speech and language difficulties; Scene and heard incorporates a countdown timer into the activity to support behaviour management, easier transitions between tasks and increasing individual independence.

The all-in-one functionality of ‘Scene and Heard’ creates an AAC device that can be both low and high tech, ensuring that intervention can be continuous and seamless as progress is made. The attention to detail in the apps settings to prevent double taps, allows even those with limited fine motor skills to take full control of their learning. Further highlighting how this app is truly a universal and functional communication aid and has recently become an everyday staple in my speech and language therapy toolbox.

Natasha Hallam
Speech and Language Therapist



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