Monthly Archives: January 2011

And the winner is …Proloquo2go

 Proloquo2go wins the award
Sal and comedian Alun Cochrane meet the winners from Proloquo2go

Rebecca Bright is a Speech and Language therapist and has been closely involved with Proloquo2go so she was delighted to learn that it had won the BETT Special Needs Award 2011. It is an app which can be used on an iPad or iPhone to give a voice to those who have a disability such as cerebral palsy or autism which prevents them getting their message across.

Proloquo2go is an affordable solution for those who need communication aids. There are many specialist augmentative and assistive communication (AAC) devices on the market but they often cost thousands of pounds and demand outstrips supply so some young people are left literally without a voice. Now, with increased funding restrictions, there are more people who need a reasonably priced aid and Proloquo2go offers access to many people who would formerly have found AAC out of reach.
AAC in your pocket

“Proloquo2go is also very socially acceptable,” said Rebecca. “It works on devices which everyone else has or wants to have so it is not seen as a specialist device for people with disabilities This has had a knock on effect. In the past some learners were unwilling to use their communication aids outside the classroom or home because it marked them out as being different but now that stigma is removed. There are over 300,000 apps on iTunes and we are finding that users are going for a mix and match approach. They might use Proloquo2go symbols for a message and then switch into YouTube to show a video and then call up photos of their family as part of a conversation. All of us at Proloquo2go, the developers AssistiveWare and those of us who work at the UK partner TherapyBox  are delighted to win the award. It is good news for us but it is also good news for those who need communication aids. It shifts the spotlight from dedicated technology to low cost, mainstream mobile technology.

Watch a video t osee how Proloquo2go changed one little boy’s life.

Final Leg of Special Needs Award

The BETT Special Needs Award 2011 will be announced at the Hilton Park Lane on Wednesday 12th January. Six entries have been shortlisted and they represent the diversity of products for young people with disabilities and learning difficulties.

 Two products are aimed at literacy:  Catch Up Literacy Digital Games 3 is for struggling readers aged 8 to 14 working at NC Levels 1-3. It works on high frequency words, comprehension and recall, segmenting and blending phonemes and is available in Welsh too.  JISC’s MyStudyBar is a great money saving tool. It brings together freeware and open source software for students who have problems with planning, reading, writing, This free download has been used by learners as far afield as New Zealand and Australia and is likely to be very popular in these money straitened times.

 Pupils who need help with speech often need expensive specialist Augmentative Assistive Communication devices but now there is another solution with Proloquo2Go.  It is an app which will run on an iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. It has natural sounding text-to-speech voices, up-to-date symbols and an inbuilt vocabulary of over 7000 items. Another hi-tech solution is Nisai Virtual Academy which takes education out to pupils who cannot go to school. It offers qualifications from Key Stage 2 – Key Stage 5 and includes live lessons with teachers and other students from all over the UK.

free games for switch users

 Pupils with more profound disabilities will welcome TTS Sound Shuffle, a simple device that records up to four minutes of multiple messages and plays them back randomly or sequentially. It’s great for audio recordings for non- readers and ideal for adding sound or voice to wall displays. The final shortlisted entry is HelpKidzLearn, a set of free games which offer fun and purposeful activities for young switch users. Try whacking gophers down a drainpipe – great for develop anticiopation skills – and create a digital magic potion: leg of frog, eye of newt, and of course, lots of slime. Lovely!

 The final decision on the winner of the BETT Special Needs Award 2011 will be announced on Wednesday night but all these entries will certainly find new audiences in 2011.