Accept symbol-based input
For some users with cognitive disabilities or who are learning a new language, it is much easier to understand concepts that are displayed in images rather than text. An on-screen communication aid can allow input by clicking on images rather than letters. For example, the user may ask when dinner is by clicking on a “clock” image followed by a “food” image. This input can then be converted to text or read aloud by the computer.
Discussion by Disabilities
Using symbols instead of text can greatly simplify input for people with cognitive, language, and learning disabilities and those with literacy problems.
Please note that these products are not necessarily endorsed by RtF, but represent the range of available options.
Open Source and free
These products are free and their source code may be modified with few restrictions./p>
- Hawking Toolbar – UNC (Gary Bishop), U. of Michigan (Brett Clippingdale)
- My Freedom To Communicate (MyFTC)
Free, not necessarily open source
These products are free to use, but may have strict restrictions on viewing and modifying source code.
Commercial, with free trial
These products are free to try for a limited period of time or with limited functionality. They must be purchased for full functionality.
- Aurora Suite – Aurora Systems
- Proloquo – AssistiveWare
- PTP-PC (Point-to-Pictures PC) – RJ Cooper
- SayIt Sam – Words Plus (Words+)
- SpeechPro & Multimedia Speech System – Gus
- The Grid 2 – Sensory Software
Commercial, no free trial
These products must be purchased to be used, and did not offer free trials at the time of posting.
Related Research and Papers
- ICUTalk – U. of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital
- A platform model for symbol based communication services- Željka Car, Marin Vuković, Ivan Vučak, Jesenka Pibernik, Jurica Dolić
- Technology Use by Students with Intellectual Disabilities: An Overview- Michael L. Wehmeyer, Sean J. Smith, Susan B. Palmer, Daniel K. Davies
- Keypad layout for alphabetic symbol input- Jin Guo
- SymbolChat: A flexible picture-based communication platform for users with intellectual disabilities- Tuuli Keskinen, Tomi Heimonen, Markku Turunen, Juha-Pekka Rajaniemi, Sami Kauppinen