As promised in yesterday's post, I want to share my thoughts on a new app on the market called "So Much 2 Say". I was given the opportunity to test it for 30 days if I agreed to review it here on my blog. While this is normally not my "thing" on this blog - I am very happy to make an exception in this case. Why? Because I feel like this app was exactly what we have been waiting on for Gavin. And I feel like we can't be the only family around that feels desperate for a more "user friendly" communication app (at a low price). The only thing I get from this review is 30 days free. And the developers have graciously offered some of my readers free trials as well - which I will give away by lottery to those of you who are interested.
I've mentioned before that Gavin currently uses (or tries to use) Proloquo2Go. This was the only app that I could find that was suitable for him and not too difficult. What WAS difficult was on my end and his therapists end. Changing pictures and setting up pages and choosing icons - it was a process. And Gavin isn't always patient for a long process. Also, Proloquo2Go doesn't let you record your own voice. Sure, they have male and female - deep and high pitch - Indian and British...but it's still some unfamiliar voice. It also uses icons which I really struggle with. Gavin is developmentally delayed. I don't want to confuse him by showing him a stick figure and trying to teach him it stands for "Daddy". Or a foreign looking cup that looks nothing like his own. It never made sense to me. I've been told that you can add your own photos - but I guess the fact that we could never figure it out says it all. Do I think Proloquo2Go is a great app? I do! But for Gavin...at this time...it's too advanced. And, quite frankly, it gives me a headache trying to figure out the complicated set up with grids and categories and a thousand icons to choose from for one object...it's a lot for this old lady.
So.... I happened upon a post on Facebook from a woman named Kirsten. She and her husband, Eric, developed the So Much 2 Say app. They have two daughters named Autumn and Ava with multiple disabilities - both are non-verbal. The app was intended to be a personal communication app for them that they could easily customize. A perfect partnership - and who better to develop and app (if you're smart like that, that is!) than parents who know exactly what their children need! It's obvious to me that it was made by someone "on the inside" of this special needs world. Why? Because they thought of things like making the editing feature passcode protected. I can't count the number of times Gavin hit the edit button in Proloquo2Go and we had to stop everything to try to get out of that mode and back to what we were doing. So Much 2 Say thought of that - so it makes it harder for a child who likes to touch every button to edit the program! They also allow for you to record your own voice - a feature that I love. And the program was made with the iPad 2 in mind - making it even easier to snap photos of all Gavin's favorite toys, books, movies, and every day items which I was able to make into cards in minutes. If you have a first generation iPad, it's just as easy to sync your photos and add them that way.
I took some videos - which I apologize in advance for as I took them myself while working with Gavin - so you can get an idea of our experiences so far with this app.
In this video, we are just starting. You can customize a page to have one to six cards per page. I chose two at first - and then kept adding two at a time on multiple pages. I thought it would make our lesson quicker if we worked on page one - and then I swiped to page two. This is how that went...
Gavin has a problem with accuracy when he's touching the iPad. He tends to use his whole hand a lot - and not always in a "tapping motion". So often things happen like this - a page will turn or a wrong button will be pressed. So I moved on by quickly eliminating the multiple pages so if he accidentally swiped, the page would not move.
I added two pictures - one of me and one of Ed. I asked Gavin to find me. This is what happened...and it melted my heart.
We tried it again after he realized (I think) that I wanted him to find my picture and not me and he did it!
In this video, you'll see Gavin make a connection between needing to touch the iPad and getting what he wants, which is pretty exciting. You'll also see me make an edit to So Much 2 Say so you can see just how quick and easy it is to do in the moment. Oh, and you'll see some really adorable smiles from our Superhero. No charge for that.
I decided in the end to change the screen to just one picture at a time - wanting to set Gavin up for success as much as possible. Although he does have to touch the picture - anywhere else in the screen won't do - being able to have one picture on the screen is a HUGE plus to me.
In Proloquo2Go, we couldn't do that which was disappointing. We ended up adding two of the same icons next to each other so Gavin would be successful whichever side he touched. I really appreciate Kirsten and Eric from So Much 2 Say for thinking of this!
So my overall impression of this app? I love it. I love how easy it is to use. I love that I can record my voice...or Ed's voice! I love that I can use familiar photos. I love the price at only $24.95 - MUCH less than the close to $200 they charge for Proloquo2Go. Once my free trial ends, you can be sure that I will buy this app. Gladly! (Although I hope that I won't lose all of my photos when I switch from free to paid - must check into that one!) I also love that it came from a family that "gets it". When I showed Miss Maggie, Gavin's speech therapist, she was thrilled that we found an alternative to use with Gavin. This app, to me, is a wonderful stepping stone to a future with Proloquo2Go. If Gavin isn't talking before that, of course.
I am sure that Kirsten will be reading this blog entry. If you have questions about this app, feel free to comment under this post! And if you would like to be added into my lottery drawing for a free trial, please comment or contact me personally. If you added comments yesterday - I did see them and will add you to the list!!