High-tech or light-tech? AAC for any situation

We asked members of our AssistiveWare’s Family members AAC community how they use light-tech AAC in everyday life.

When someone uses a device to help them speak or to speak for them, it is easy to take for granted that they will always have access to a voice that can “speak.”  High-tech AAC is excellent for this - it has a large, built-in vocabulary, and access to different voices.  

However, high-tech AAC can be costly, and devices are fragile. We know that there are some situations where it can be better to use light-tech AAC instead. We asked members of our Facebook group, AssistiveWare’s Family members AAC community, how they use light-tech AAC in everyday life.

Getting messy

Messy play can be hard on a high-tech device, so having a light tech version can really come in handy! Play-Doh and sand can wreak havoc on an iPad, iPod or iPhone, so it’s good to have an alternative.

Photo of a young girl playing with a large Core Word board and Playdoh
Ruby, playing with Play-Doh, and pointing to a large printout of a Proloquo2Go page

By the pool

Water can also be an issue for high-tech AAC use. Unless someone has a very secure water-proof case, a device can be damaged beyond repair with even the smallest bit of liquid. In this type of situation, light-tech AAC can really come through. Some families even stick their “Swim” pages to small kickboards or other floating items.

Photo of a child in a pool with an AAC book on the edge
A water-safe AAC alternative

On the move

iPads can be heavy and bulky. Some families mention that it’s easier for their children to carry the light-tech pages when they are moving around and playing.

Some also feel that it is easier and safer to use light-tech AAC in the car instead a device.  A device could become a projectile in case of an accident, whereas a lighter tech version might not cause much damage.

A teenager holding a laminated Core Word Board in the car
Using a laminated Core Word Board in the car

More engaging 

Other parents mentioned having Core Word posters in their child’s bedrooms, as well as at the dinner table. Some children seem less intimidated by the light-tech versions, and parents noticed that other people were more willing to interact with the user when using a light-tech version.

Get your own!

Would you like to know more about how to create your own light-tech version of Proloquo2Go? You can find our printable Core Word Boards here, and instructions for making paper-based AAC here.