Vocabulary is based on research of the most commonly used words across age, languages, settings, and situations. Eighty percent of the words that we use to communicate are comprised of a core vocabulary of 300-500 words. This means that approximately only twenty percent of a person’s vocabulary is “personalized.” One hundred and nineteen of these core words constitute the main screen of Speak for Yourself. Each of these buttons links to additional related core vocabulary words and personalized, programmable vocabulary.
Features of Speak for Yourself:
Open and close feature allows users to begin with only one word and add to their vocabulary at their own pace. The first word the user learns never changes position. This means that the user will never have to learn how to say that first word again, even if their vocabulary grows to the more than 13,000 words that Speak for Yourself can hold!
The motor planning in this application remains consistent throughout the users’ lifetime, to increase automaticity, which in turn increases the individual’s rate of speech. This is consistent with the way language is developed. When you learn the motor movements needed to verbally say the word “eat” as a one year old, those motor movements remain consistent throughout your lifetime and become automatic. Your mouth still makes the same movements when you’re ninety to say the word “eat.”
Babble feature allows users to explore vocabulary by opening every word in the application by touching one button. Just as a baby, practicing to speak, “babbles” by exploring his mouth’s motor movements and hearing the sounds produced, the user can explore the words available in Speak for Yourself with alternative motor movements (e.g. using his hand). The user can be returned to their customized setting by touching the same button to turn “babble” off.
Lock edit Come on, we’ve all been there. After meeting with the team, customizing the communication system, and finishing the programming to make everybody happy, the child gets into the settings and decides he’s going to do a little “editing” of his own. This nightmare can be avoided by touching the “lock” button. This feature disables the editing functions in the application. To “unlock” the edit functions of the application, go to the iPad® settings and “enable programming.”
Edit and add words using an intuitive interface. When you want to add a new word, decide where you would like it to be, while looking at the screen, touch the edit button and the screen will turn gray. You’ll be able to view the available buttons. Touch the gray button where you would like to add your new word. The edit popover will appear If you would like to use a photo, begin with “image options.” You’ll be given a choice to “take photo” or “choose photo” from your iPad® 2 photo album. If you would like to choose a symbol, touch “add image” and you will be directed to select a symbol. You can scroll alphabetically or touch the search window and a keyboard will pop up. Type the word you would like to add or a symbol name that would represent that word. When you’ve found the desired symbol, touch it, displaying it on your edit screen. If the “word to speak” matches the word you wanted to add, touch “Done” on the edit pop over and “Done” in the top left corner to exit “Edit mode,” your new word is ready to use! If the “word to speak” is not exactly what you want it to say, touch the “word to speak” window, to change it.
No duplication feature: How many times have you looked at a child’s device and there are five different ways to say “bathroom?” Their mom shows them one way to say it, their teacher uses the word “bathroom” in a different location, and their speech therapist uses the word “bathroom” in yet another location. When one of the people in the child’s life forgets where the word “bathroom” is located, she adds it again. The child is shown all of these different motor movements to say the same word. Once a verbal child learns the motor movements to say a word, they never have to learn a “new way” to say that word. A nonverbal child has that same ability with the no duplication feature. If you are attempting to add a word that is already in the application, a window will pop up, alerting you that it is a “duplicate word.” It will also tell you the home screen word you can touch to find it and allow you to use the Search Feature to find the word.
The Search Feature has been described as a “game changer,” allowing educators, therapists, and parents to capture teachable moments and find vocabulary quickly. Touch the search symbol in the upper left hand corner if you are looking for a word. A purple box will appear and blink on the main screen word and then the secondary screen to show you how to say the word. If you have vocabulary closed, don’t worry…the app will open the buttons you need to say the word!
You can change the symbols for the protected core vocabulary words. The word and position remain consistent, but use the symbol that you think will benefit the person using the app!
The top right hand corner of the main screen buttons are “cut out” if that button links to a secondary screen. This is based on feedback that users of the app want to be able to differentiate if the button will immediately speak or go to a secondary page.
Save vocabulary settings for multiple users! You can add as many users as your tablet memory can hold. If you’re trialing Speak for Yourself for several children on your caseload, you can switch between their customized settings and then save and transfer their setting when they get their own tablet. This feature is currently available only on the Android version.
Find out about additional features such as Hold That Thought and the History Feature, as well as the Evidence-Based Research Behind Speak for Yourself.
We’d love to hear from you if there is anything we can do or change to promote successful use of Speak for Yourself!