Sunday, April 27, 2014

AAC: Pogo Boards, A Review

Lately I have made the jump to a new AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication speech device). Although I do not have to use my AAC to get through most days, when I do need it I definitely need one that works effectively.

It is easy to get frustrated with an AAC. When it is too complicated to use or if it does not have that things you wish to say. 

I have used several AACs. For my own personal use, I have always used AAC apps for the iPad or iPhone. One that I have used for a long period now is "Pogo Boards".

Pogo Boards was a great AAC for me. I was very fond of it, or "her". I affectionately refer to the robotic voice as "LucyPogo". There are many great parts about LucyPogo...

Some of the positives include...

It is fully customizable. You can adjust everything on the Pogo Boards app. All the grids, multiple different voices, different languages and all that. You can adjust the size, the speaking rate, the amount of buttons on the grid...

You can share the boards with friends and the world very easily by saving the folders to global folders. This can be a very useful feature.

You can use the app on multiple devices. With my subscription, I could log into 4 devices at one time. I only ever logged into my iPhone and iPad.

I love any device which uses Text-to-Speech features.Anything where speech doesn't have to be recorded is a good app in my book.

Unlike Proloquo2Go, you have the ability to display a different message from that which is being spoken This was useful particularly with pronunciation.

PogoBoards use SymbolStix and have thousands of icons available.

There are many boards that you can either start with as a basis or use as fully functional boards. Or you can go again by yourself from scratch...

The important messages best friends need to say to each other... the app would never capitalize the L in Luke for some reason...

Pogo Boards can be used for other devices not just for iPad and iPhone. You can also print out the boards you make and use it as a low-tech devices.

The staff are really friendly and quite prompt with their replies. They are also very helpful with providing you with other resources.

It's not a perfect system. If it was, I would probably still be using it. I really do like it. But I also have some problems with it...

You can only edit Pogo boards from your computer. You cannot edit it from your speech device.

It is subscription based. This was a big issue for me. The subscription is not much really, and you can pay monthly, yearly, every two years or every three years. I don't have much money. I seriously don't, I couldn't afford a yearly subscription so I had to go with a monthly subscription. Although it wasn't a lot, it just kept adding up for me and I had to say no.

It is a bit faulty. Sometimes, the system would not let me log into my iPad or iPhone. It would say I had "exceeded my amount of maximum log ins", which wasn't true. It was an easy issue to fix, with a quick email to the the staff. But it was a pain nonetheless.

My home page (an old copy from last year) as it appeared on my iPhone

My Core Page for my iPad

A copy of my "People" page from my iPad

My final thoughts on Pogo Boards? If you are an educator, this is a really good system. The more people you have using the system, the cheaper it gets. It is so customizable and I really set mine up for me. Like all AACs, it took a while to set up and I never perfected it. Unfortunately, the drawbacks of this system for me meant it was time to try something new. More on that soon...

Note: Even as I looked through my photos, I didn't have photos of my latest most customized version. For example my iPad page of people normally has the three chihuahuas from Charmaine's house on it. Because, you know... priorities...

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