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app advice for speech-language pathologists, educators and parents

SpeechHero Review from September, 2012

With its top of the line Acapela voices and industry standard Symbol Stix pictures, this new full service augmentative and alternative communication app from Bloomingsoft should turn some heads.

SpeechHero has a classic, clean interface and the organization just makes sense. Generate sentences by typing your words or generate sentences by navigating through the menu driven picture system. There’s even a Predictive Mode that will anticipate the next words coming. And there is virtually no learning curve on this app; the built in visual tutorial will show you all you need to know to get started in about a minute. If you’ve been a school SLP for a while, then imagine the best features of Cowriter, Writing with Symbols and a Dynavox style device all melded into one easy-to-use communication app. And now imagine that app at about half the price of ProLoQuo2Go.

What I love most about SpeechHero is the way you see all of the information at once, and yet the visual interface stays clean and uncomplicated. You have the text at the top, the pictures on the phrase bar below it, and subtly beneath that is the path you took to get to the picture you’re currently on. And all of these displays are updating together as you add each new word. Talk about a powerful teaching tool– there’s the text, the picture, the category and the spoken word all presented at once to build up a child’s understanding around each individual concept.

Easy to edit and fully customizable, this app is versatile. I might use it to establish a basic communication system with a child with autism, while someone else might see it bring instant communication success to an adult who has recently suffered a stroke. It’s that powerful and it’s that flexible.

Does it do everything ProLoQuo2Go does? No. Or maybe I should say not yet. At this moment, it does not allow for subtle verb changes and plural forms in the picture mode, and the vocabulary base is not as large. But the makers of SpeechHero are actively updating and improving this app as we speak, and I think we can count on it to just keep getting better.

SpeechHero puts top quality, easy to use augmentative communication in reach for a lot of families. At $99.99, it is absolutely worth a careful look.