As a speech-language pathologist based in California, I’m often asked about high-tech augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) options for Spanish speakers. Fortunately, more and more companies have responded to the demand for Spanish options by creating appropriate speech-generating device (SGD) software along with applications for mobile devices. The list below provides an introduction to some of the high-tech Spanish AAC options available in the United States.
- Satillo – NOVA chat and TouchChat
- AssistiveWare – Proloquo2Go
- Prentke Romich Company – Unity
- SmartBox – Grid Player and The Grid 2
- Avaz Inc. – Avaz Spanish
- Tobii Dynavox – Communicator and Compass
NOVA chat and TouchChat by Satillo
About: Satillo offers two programs with Spanish page sets:
Spanish options: NOVA chat software allows the user to easily switch back and forth between Spanish and English within the current page set, although Spanish page sets must be purchased separately. The TouchChat HD AAC app comes with Spanish page sets in all versions. However, to switch between Spanish and English the user must manually change vocabularies under settings.
Compatibility: The NOVA chat software is available for use only on SGDs. The TouchChat HD AAC app is available on the iPad, iPhone and iPod.
Proloquo2Go by AssistiveWare
About: Proloquo2Go is an AAC app offering Spanish page sets.
Spanish options: The user can switch easily between Spanish and English page sets, and even mix the two languages mid-sentence. Various Spanish voice options allow you to choose different regional variants of Spanish.
Compatibility: Proloquo2Go is available on the iPad, Apple Watch, iPod and iPhone.
Unity by Prentke Romich Company
About: Prentke Romich Company’s (PRC) Unity program is a comprehensive picture symbol system based on motor planning. Unity offers the option to purchase Spanish core page sets.
Spanish options: Unity allows the user to switch between Spanish and English page sets by accessing a button on the activity row. AAC users can even press the button mid-sentence to create utterances that are a blend of both languages.
Compatibility: Unity is available only on PRC’s SGDs.
Note: The Lamp Words for Life app, based on Unity, does not have Spanish options.
Grid Player and The Grid 2 by SmartBox
About: SmartBox offers two AAC programs with Spanish options:
Spanish options: Both Grid Player and The Grid 2 offer Spanish voices with the option of dialects that reflect Latin America and Spain. Spanish page sets come with various grid options as well. A cell within the grid can be programmed to allow the user to change back and forth between Spanish and English.
Compatibility: Grid Player is compatible with the iPad mini, iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. The Grid 2 is compatible with Windows-based computers or tablets.
Note: Smartbox reports that it will soon release Spanish grid sets for Grid 3.
Avaz Spanish by Avaz Inc.
About: Avaz Inc. created a Spanish version of its Avaz AAC app, called Avaz Spanish.
Spanish options: Avaz Spanish includes Latin-American Spanish voice options. Unfortunately, this app cannot switch between Spanish and English because each version is sold separately and functions individually. Also, all options and settings in Avaz Spanish come in Spanish. It appears most useful for monolingual Spanish speakers or bilingual users who wish to purchase the app in both languages and use them separately.
Compatibility: Avaz Spanish is available on the iPad.
About: Tobii Dynavox offers two programs with Spanish options:
Spanish options: You can order Communicator software in Spanish. If you want access to English page sets, however, you must purchase those separately. There’s no option to switch back and forth between languages. This software works best for monolingual Spanish speakers. Compass software comes in English but can access Spanish language page sets. However, the only way to switch between Spanish and English is by manually changing the language setting.
Compatibility: The Communicator and Compass software work with Tobii Dynavox SGDs and most Windows-based tablets.
Note: The iDevice version of the Compass app does not seem equipped for Spanish access. You can manually create bilingual pages but this requires a lot of additional work.
Vanessa Fanourgiakis, MS, CCC-SLP, is a school-based SLP from the San Francisco Bay Area. She specializes in AAC and English-Spanish evaluations and treatment. Follow her on Twitter at @SLPvanessa or e-mail SLPvanessa@gmail.com.