Speech Assistive Devices: Empowering Communication

Communication is a key aspect of human life that allows us to participate in any kind of social activity. However, individuals with speech impairments face difficulties in expressing themselves properly. In such conditions, they can opt for speech assistance devices. 

As per a recent report by statista.com, in 2022, there were around 142 million users of voice assistants in the United States, nearly half of the country’s population. The number of voice assistant users is forecast to increase to 157.1 million users in 2026. Yes, that is a significant number. 

The AAC  devices are essential in helping those who face difficulties in talking or cannot communicate. Speech assistive devices can also be called AAC Communication Devices (Augmentative and Alternative Communication Devices). They use different kinds of technologies that assist people in expressing their thoughts and feelings effectively. 

Understanding Speech Assistance Devices

Many different types of AAC devices are available and can be classified into two main categories:  high-tech and low-tech. 

  • High-tech includes electronic devices such as Talking Keyboards, which are much better for the elderly or patients who have lost the ability to speak. 
  • Low-tech devices consist of picture cards and communication boards for younger individuals with autism.
picture-based-tablets-and-keyboard


Who Can Benefit from Speech Assistive Devices?

Speech assistive devices benefit people with speech impairment of almost every age category, depending on their requirements. They mainly benefit people who are facing problems such as cerebral palsy and developmental disorders (autism is best for picture-based devices). People facing temporary speaking difficulties due to surgery or other medical issues can also benefit from AAC devices. Those issues include laryngectomy, throat cancer, post-operative recovery, and more. 

Factors to Consider When Choosing an AAC Device

Functionality

The functionality of an AAC device refers to its ability to aid communication. Consider factors such as wording size, symbol options, voice output, and compatibility with alternative access methods when choosing a device. For example, Talking Keyboards offers three different-sized models:

  • The Wireless Standard: Best for seniors and adults, the Wireless Standard is our top-selling model crafted for effortlessness. It is a compact wireless keyboard with a sleek design and user-friendly features.
  • The Wired Large: This keyboard is best for patients with low eyesight. It features a spacious 20″ wide design and 1″ keys, making it perfect for patients facing mobility or vision challenges.
  • The Wireless Dual: Best for travel, the Wireless Dual is a versatile combination of our Wireless Standard keyboard and a compact wireless palm-size keyboard. It is battery-powered and portable, offering unlimited vocabulary for accessible communication over speakerphones or calls.

Language and Speech in AAC Device

When selecting a suitable AAC device, it is vital to consider the vocabulary and speech options available. To facilitate clear and effective verbal communication, you can check for versatile speech output options, such as text-to-speech and recorded messages. The Talking Keyboards has personalized 30 user-defined phrases and multi-language voice options.

Connectivity

Don’t overlook the connectivity features while selecting the suitable AAC device. A device with robust connectivity capabilities enhances user flexibility and accessibility, making communication more convenient and effective. Talking Keyboard’s devices offer hassle-free usage with wireless connectivity options that eliminate the need for cords. Connect effortlessly for calls with friends and family.

Accessibility and Affordability

Ensuring the affordability and accessibility of these devices are very important as they will promote the same access to everyone using them. Devices like Talking Keyboards are among today’s most user-friendly augmentative communication devices. Its keyboard features a silicone, non-slip surface that ensures stability and prevents unwanted movement. With its built-in power switch, managing power consumption is effortless. The keys are strategically positioned for optimal ergonomics, offering a comfortable and efficient typing experience.

Conclusion

Speech assistance devices play a significant role in breaking down barriers that speech-impaired individuals face. These devices help individuals express their emotions and feelings with everyone in audible form, hence empowering communication. 

 

 

FAQ

Can AAC communication devices be used in different environments?

Yes, these are designed to be used in various environments, including home, school, work, community settings, and during travel. Portable devices, such as keyboards, offer flexibility.  

How can augmentative and alternative communication devices support literacy development?

It supports literacy development by providing access to text-based communication, vocabulary expansion, language modeling, and interactive reading experiences. 

What are some features to look for in an AAC device?

When choosing an AAC device, key features include voice output capabilities, customization options, portability, durability, and compatibility with alternative access methods.    

Are AAC devices suitable for all individuals with speech difficulties?

AAC devices can benefit a wide range of individuals with communication challenges, but the suitability of a device depends on factors such as the user’s abilities, preferences, and communication goals.

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