by Close 2 Home Apps, LLC ($25.49AUD)
So Much 2 Say is an alternative augmentative and communication (AAC) iPad app which incorporates picture systems. Picture systems are used in many special and general education classrooms (and beyond) when a student has a limited capacity for speech. Every individual has the same desire to communicate and participate in the world around them. Although communication needs vary from person to person, there are four main reasons people communicate:
- To refuse or reject items that we do not want or activities that we do not wish to participate in.
- To obtain or ask for items that we want or request activities we do wish to participate in.
- To engage in social interaction with our peers, friends, educators, family and the community in which we live.
- To provide or seek information about our peers, friends, educators, family and the community in which we live or to seek or use information in the educational process.
So Much 2 Say can be used for people with a range of communication needs. It is designed to generate communication, initially by teaching the user to request a single item, and then adjusting as the user masters that level of communication. The administrator can change the settings to include more features as the user’s communication improves and they become more proficient at using the app. Cards can be added so that the user can comment, refuse, obtain or seek information.
What’s included in So Much 2 Say:
- Flexible layout options – card or category-based navigation and the option to have 1, 2, 4, 6, 9, or 12 objects per page (depending on the user and their specific needs) – this is good news. I can customise the layout to suit my own needs!
- Simple and fast card creation – using symbols, your library or taking a photo – so simple and easy to use!
- Nearly 9000 SymbolStix® symbols – this is fantastic!
- A sentence strip for beginning sentence building – an exciting new feature to help with conversations!
- The ability to Drag ‘n Drop to share card/categories between multiple iPads – this is a big positive!
- The ability to customise the Homepage using Drag ‘n Drop gestures – this is very easy to use!
- A scroll-lock button to prevent unintentional swipes between pages – this also prevents frustration!
- The option to record your own audio – I am Australian, so this suits me perfectly!
- Card filtering – great! I can show only cards I want to use for now!
- An option to put a passcode to protect the ability to edit – what a good idea! This will stop the user from changing my settings!
It is great to see that So Much 2 Say is developed for both the Learner and the Administrator who both use the app. The learner is the person who needs to communicate through the device, and the administrator is the person who makes changes to the app’s configuration as the Learner progresses (such as a parent, teacher, or professional working with the user). When a user first enters So Much 2 Say, there are two picture cards showing – this is the card layout option. The administrator can edit from here by clicking the edit box at the top of the page. Settings will appear on the other side of the page and this is where you customise the app. As an added bonus, Close 2 Home Apps, LLC are dedicated to supporting users of So Much 2 Say and have a website which is packed with useful information, video tutorials and a FAQs section to assist with starting up and maintaining the app for optimised communication success.
As an administrator using the device, I found it quite easy to navigate. Within 15-20 minutes, I had set up some new cards using symbols and my own audio, changed the layout to categories (instead of cards), added some new categories, added the sentence strip, and created some simple 2 card sentences.
I really enjoyed making new cards because they are fully customisable. I could use Australian spelling and terminology. I chose to use symbols from the nearly 9000 or so in the SymbolStix library. If it is a symbols based picture AAC app you are looking for, then you won’t need any other library to supplement your needs. If you want to use real images, there are some photo cards in the pre-existing categories; however, you can create your own cards using your own photo roll or by taking photos using the iPad camera. This makes So Much 2 Say a tailored solution for each individual user. Existing cards can also be edited by changing the audio or text.
While using So Much 2 Say as the end-user, I found it easy to navigate and select cards in both card and category layout. A beginning user will need a little training to understand how to use the app and the sentence strip; however, this type of initial training is required for any new AAC device or application.
Close 2 Home Apps, LLC have a real understanding of the needs of beginning communicators and have included great features in So Much 2 Say, to enable users to have successful communication interactions. The founders of Close 2 Home Apps, LLC, Kirsten and Eric Ferguson, are committed to creating apps and online resources that will support effective and meaningful communication, strengthen cognitive skills, provide behaviour support, provide developmentally appropriate leisure activities, and offer tools designed to facilitate instruction in the home as well as in the classroom. Close 2 Home Apps, LLC believe in supporting both learners using the device and administrators configuring So Much 2 Say for the learner.
The only suggestions that I have for future updates and improvement to So Much 2 Say is the ability to store frequently used expressions, comments or questions that would be used in the sentence strip on a regular basis as a one-swipe gesture. I like the way that Close 2 Home Apps, LLC listens to the suggestions of their customers and makes changes to improve their product. For example, I know that some users requested the sentence strip functionality for communication. The latest update to So Much 2 Say included this new and exciting feature.
Overall, So Much 2 Say is a total communication solution for beginning communicators. It is suitable for young children and adults that need to communicate with a single picture right through to small sentences. So Much 2 Say is different to other communication apps in that it is based on a ground-up approach. It is introduced as a basic communication tool that gets built as the user’s communication needs grow. So many other apps available require a lot of time and effort to configure them to suit the individual user. So Much 2 Say is highly appropriate and suited for home and school use.
Disclaimer: The opinions on this blog are entirely the authors.