My DS's school program has recently introduced an Ipad for helping with communication in his classroom and my son has taken really well to it. We definitely want a communication system at home as well, and we're debating rather we should get a Dynavox or an Ipad.
I know both have their pros and cons, but I'm wondering if anyone has suggestions for either one?
The plus side to an Ipad is that it can be used for multiple purposes and DS is already familiar with it. The downside is that it's expensive and the cost would seriously strain our budget.
The DynaVox on the other hand, my insurance would fully pay for. However, I'm not that familiar with the system and I've heard you can't program new words/sentences outside of what comes with it.
Thanks in advance for any thoughts on the matter.
I have worked with Dynavox in the classroom (this was pre-Ipads)and it is a great tool. It has a wonderful purpose and is very useful....but does require training, can be hard to program for older kiddos, is limited in it use with other technology (we could not get it to print with classroom computer), and is very specialized. If it breaks, it is also can have a lengthy fix time due to parts/etc. For its time-- it was excellent and provided a wonderful way for kiddos to communicate. It also was fantastic for kiddos that used a switch based platform (vs touch that may be hard for a kiddo with little fine motor control) to communicate-- I dont know if Ipad has that function.
An Ipad is much more user friendly and has the potential to be useful in more ways than as a communication device. It also has a greater potential to be easy to upgrade, individualize, and even now, offers such a wide wide ability to meet different communication needs quickly, easily, and with only minor adjustments to the user/and adult that is adapting the programs. Even the organization structure of the text/speech and picture/speech programs is easier to manipulate for kiddos. Not only does it excel as a communication device, but it also is a great platform for educational games, books, photos, etc.
Dynavox (except the Tango) is heavier than an Ipad (or used to be) and does not connect online as easily as an Ipad-- Ipad you can easily use your own photos, online images, etc. Dynavox it had to be uploaded w/ a flashdrive or USB and was much slower/harder than having Internet right on the same machine.
I would attempt to save up for an IPad or apply for a grant to cover the costs, even appeal to your insurance. Also, there are a lot of Ipad giveaways floating around the Internet. You could attempt to win one (my sister did), it may take time- but is cheaper. You could also contact Apple and see if they have a discount for educators/schools/special needs, etc. I know that our teachers got Apple discounts when purchasing products to use in the classroom with personal $.
Thank you so much for your thorough answer, I appreciate it much!
We're heavily leaning towards an ipad because it does seem so much more user friendly and DS is already doing so well with it. My son uses the proloquo2go app at school and has caught on quickly...we're so excited that he's found a great communication tool! I just wish money wasn't an aspect to consider... the cost of the ipad plus the app equals to about $700...yikes. But I will definitely take your suggestions into consideration and see about grants/discounts, etc.
Anyhow, thanks again!
I think you can get the proloquo free in some places. I saw that they were giving the ipads with that program away for free to severely disabled children.
Shriners, Bloorview and Jennifer Ashley are all fuding choices that may help (if your in Canada. I dont know much about the US aid).
-nice bright screen, great colors
-touch screen is much more receptive, and you can drag with your fingers
-lots more voices to choose from if you want it to read text or icons
-tons of games to play
-apps to help with a variety of academic and social things
-instant "cool" factor with peers
-very very easy to program
-lots of customization
-easily updated software
We bought our dd with Down syndrome an iPad (to share with her sisters) for Christmas this year, & I am constantly amazed at the learning opportunities it provides.
My blog - http://downsyndromeupupupandaway.blogspot.com
My DD just got her Ipad and although we are not fully up and running yet, it was the best option for us. We have the touchchat program, and DD got to use it today for the first time. One reason we went with this program was because we could customize the vocabulary. The Ipad 2 has a very easy camera, and we have been snapping pictures of our family and pets and putting it in touchchat....I think that we will be using the camera a lot. Have you been able to hold/play around with the dynovox? Is there a communication tech place you could go to for help in choosing? We ended up going to a consultant and the evaluation process(which was a few hours long) was very helpful in determining which device would workbest for our dd's needs. Our insurance did not cover the dynovox, and I think that had a lot to do with our choice for an Ipad, since it was so much more affordable for us. I did not exactly know what I was getting into this winter when we decided to pursue this.....but we have had 4 meetings with DD's team at school,and training has begun, it is a lot of work getting it set up right, but so worth it :) Good luck, and I hope that helps...
Another iPad vote, it seems to be the way of the future. My DS is in preschool and has an iPad, during his last IEP meeting it was discussed that once he's in Kindergarten that the school system might buy him a new one, figuring that the cost of the assistive would be much lower.
At a Fragile X conference I attended last week, there was a whole session on apps for the iPad. It's staggering and amazing what's out there. And to reiterate what another poster said: Instant cool factor. This is so big. Show up with a Dynavox and you're already labeled as different. Show up with an iPad and you're a regular kid; a lucky one at that.
I am a speech teacher and special educator. I was searching the internet for discussions/opinions on use of iPad as speech output devices. My colleagues and I were just discussing (want to come up with rubric) comparing pros/cons of Dynavox-type products and iPads.
You might be shocked to read this response- but please know I've owned both an iPad and an iPod for a year and a half so that I could see what/how I might use both in therapy with my students.
My view on it (presently) is:
1.) funding (for some families- this is a deciding factor)- and, as you know, currently apple products are not being covered by insurance.
2.) If you decide to pay for an iPad out-of-pocket or your district has agreed to pay for it things to consider:
a.) it can't be brought home (b/c district owns it)
b.) it will be given back to district when child ages out
c.) durability- one crash to the floor can break much more easily than most Dynavox products....(you'd need a back-up in the meantime)
Similarly, Dyanvox warranties can last for 3-5 years but, apple products are -tops 2 years. I've searched for refurbished apple products- very expensive (usually 100.00 cheaper when refurbished- so, not a big savings there).
AND, MOST IMPORTANTLY ***** what is the FUNCTION of the device
AND- what are your learner's abilities (perseverations)- ability to navigate or NOT
navigate between pages?
We (monthly speech meeting- speech therapists) discussed the NEED for an app that will "lock" students from navigating from page-to-page. We feel we should write to makers of Proloque2go and see if they can add this feature to their program.
At our recent monthly speech meeting, many of us (providers) were surprised and shocked the districts were appeasing parents with the idea that the district would buy their son/daughter and iPad and then would reduce speech services/related services under the assumption that learning would occur and child would learn at a much faster rate given the devices. We are finding that that is not the case and in many instances with students who perseverate or have difficulty with attention- the unlimited access to "fun" pages constantly competes with the voice-output pages that was the intended purpose of the device. Similarly, we agreed that- if the main purpose of the device is to help a user verbalize (thought voice output) basic wants and needs...the use of iPad versus other voice-output systems the iPad is not scoring high marks on the idea of the purpose of speech-output devices.
Sure, iPads are neat for other reasons and may work well with specific children with specific targets-but I have yet to see a user of iPad make good gains with independence of initiation and expression of language to request basic wants and needs.
I appreciate others' comments and do applaud apple's innovation and really like many of the apps related to speech/language therapy....social skill buidling with videos- its capacity to take photos, voice-record, etc. I am specifically addresssing (above) its (ipad) use as voice-output.
Thanks! : )
I was worried that the Ipad was going to be gimmicky. We just received one last month through an autism program and I am completely sold. We don't use it for communication but have seen the AWESOME looking communication programs available for it. We have been using it for schooling. I pile all sorts of educational apps on it and it is super easy to use. My youngest son who has a speech delay spends a huge amount of time using the dragon dictation program. He will say a phrase over and over until it computes it correctly. Really working on his enunciation ( this was completely not planned. It was something he enjoyed doing and was really motivated.) The Ipad has had a lot of unusual little benefits like that that were completely unexpected. We use ours for homeschooling. For elementary academics, I am completely sold! A little bit off of what you were asking in regards to the communications programs... just know that there is a lot of curiosity in the Autism community. Just in case anyone is curious about its use for kids on the spectrum who communicate well verbally too.
Do you have an AAC (augmentative alternative communication) evaluation center near you? Insurance will offer cover the appointment if the speech and language pathologist makes a request for an evaluation. The evaluators will conduct testing to determine the most effective device and arrange for your child to trial a particular device for a period of time (often a month). It is worth speaking to your child's SLP about.
Listen, ipads are so much better. Not only can you do the same things with it (compared with DynaVox) but you can use interactive games. There is a case called the otter box and it is the best. My daughter has downsyndrome and has thrown it across the room and nothing has happened. She has also thrown-up on it multiple times and it still is the exact same. The ipad is the ONLY choice and clearly the best one. Thank you
Both have their pros and cons, however you need to remember that the Ipad has the purpose of social activity with some communication app add ons, the Dynavox is a communication tool with some social use add ons...IPad is not reimburseable at this time and probably will not be due to the fact that it has an intent of being used for internet /social purposes not for communication purposes, the Dynavox is reimbuseable mostly but internet key can be purchased to use as a social tool. The Ipad as stated before only needs to be dropped once and can be unuseabale...I know I have done this even with the toughest cover for it. The Dynavox is tougher and can be fixed or portable.