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Resource File: Early Childhood -- Tools

Inexpensive Alternative AAC Devices


Whenever it is possible to provide speech output for children with speech delays, it should be done. Unfortunately, dedicated communication devices can be costly and the process of acquiring one for an individual student may take time. The Center for Literacy and Disabilities Studies has identified the following set of inexpensive, programmable devices that can be adapted for AAC use. These alternatives do not provide the same quality of speech output as most dedicated devices and often can be used flexibly for a variety of individual and group activities.




Talking Book Strips

Book Strips
These strips are originally part of a recordable book called, Sounds By Me from Golden Books (Western Publishing Company, Inc., 1220 Mound Avenue, Racine, WI 53404). The talking strip is recordable, consisting of six buttons which have about a second or so of speech each. Triple A batteries power the strips. The talking strip can easily be removed from the book and used in a variety of settings as a quick, inexpensive, augmentative communication device.

For example, a strip could be placed by the door of the classroom and programmed with comments about lining up, items to take to the playground, reminders about items to take for lunch, or specials the children might be going to. The strips could be placed in the book area and include some of the book interaction messages such as my turn, read it again, read to me, etc.

Kitchen Minder

Kitchen Minder



This device is essentially a single switch which was marketed for the general public as a voice recorder to put on the refrigerator or in the car enabling people to record reminders for themselves. It has 30 seconds of recordable speech accessed by hitting a switch. It usually costs about $15.00 and can be found in drug or discount stores.

Much like the BIGmack (Ablenet), for storybook reading, the repeated line can be programmed into the Kitchen Minder. A picture symbol can be attached to the surface and the child can push the button to "say" the line along with his or her speaking peers during the story reading. These devices are small and lightweight.

 



Voice-Print Talking Picture Frame

Talking Picture Frame
This is a picture frame with room to hold a 5x7 photograph. There is a button which allows the user to record 30 seconds of speech. This frame makes a great single switch for repeated lines, messages to use on the go. It can be purchased for about $10 when purchased in lots of 10 frames. The button on this device is small but by placing glue and a piece or cardboard over the bottom of the frame, a "rocker" switch can easily be constructed. It should also be mentioned that these devices can be adapted for switch access by disconnecting the on/off switch and replacing that with a switch jack. When a switch is plugged in , it becomes the new on/off switch. Each time the child activates the switch the entire message is spoken.

Jeep in frame


This material was developed by the National Center to Improve Practice (NCIP) in collaboration with the Center for Literacy and Disabilities Studies at Duke University. NCIP is funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, Grant #H180N20013, and was downloaded from NCIP's WWW site - http://www.edc.org/FSC/NCIP/. Readers are encouraged to copy and share this material, but please credit NCIP. Contents do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by NCIP, EDC, or the U.S. Government.


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This material was developed by the National Center to Improve Practice (NCIP)  in collaboration with the Center for Literacy and Disabilities (CLD)  at Duke University.   NCIP was funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs from October 1, 1992 - September 30, 1998, Grant #H180N20013.  Permission is granted to copy and disseminate this information.  If you do so, please cite NCIP.   Contents do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by CLD, NCIP, EDC, or the U.S. Government.  This site was last updated in September 1998. 

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