Monday, July 01, 2013

Communication Device Evaluation: The Super Talker!

So I'm trying something new with this blog post. If you are reading it, then you are also reading the presentation I am giving in my grad class. Using our own personal website was one of the options for presentation mode and I thought, hmm, that could be interesting! Feel free to chime in anything you'd like to the comments below. I will be delivering my presentation sometime after 4pm on Tuesday July 2nd and it would be fun to have some comments to review with the group too. Especially if you have ever used this device or anything similiar to it.

Now, onto the meat and potatoes..

A picture of myself holding the Super Talker

I chose to do an evaluation on The Super Talker Progressive Communicator. Since I work with students with many communication needs I was more drawn to a communication device for my project. 

The Super Talker Progressive Communicator is a communication device that stores pre-recorded expressions or words, which are then activated by pushing down on a picture. The device allows you to have one, two, four, or eight pictures displayed at a time. The Super Talker is manufactured by AbleNet and can be purchased on their website, or many others, such as Mayer-Johnson. When you purchase the Super Talker you receive the communication device itself and the four plastic screen overlays; the overlays store easily in the back of the device so they are not lost. Super Talker does not come with the images to place under the overlays. You have to create those yourself.  

When choosing images for the buttons on your Super Talker you want to make sure you choose one that represents or closely represents what you will have the recording say. For the Super Talker I am using in my videos I have an image of "more" or "all done". When pressed, each button has the corresponding voice output.

Recording on the Super Talker is super easy. I am currently borrowing my device from the Delaware Assistive Technology Initiative (DATI) here in my state. They are an amazing resource for basically anyone who is in the market for any type of assistive technology whether it be low tech or high tech; teachers, families, students, Speech and Language Pathologists, Occupational Therapists, etc. When I picked up my device they reviewed with me how to record on it. So simple, I wanted to make sure you had a tutorial as well! 
{Wondering if your state provides a similiar resource center? Follow this link and select your state. They will provide you with contact information for the assistive technology center in your state.} 

As mentioned in the video above, there are options for up to eight switches to be attached to the Super Talker. In order to activate the voice output on the Super Talker you have to give a genuine push on the image, not a light tap. There is one spot on the activation pad that I found would not result in any voice output. If a student has the inability to reach toward the images, or push hard enough in the correct location to activate the voice output, they may be a candidate for using a switch with this device. 
Another important feature on the Super Talker is it's volume control. Many students have specific sensory needs, some may have a preference for loud sounds and some may not. With the volume control option you can address that need. This is also helpful for any student who may have slight hearing loss. The one or two choice overlays also allow you to create larger images for students who may have vision needs. For a student who is blind, or has significant vision loss you could attach something with a sensory feel to the board. For example, rough Velcro for "more" and soft Velcro for "all done". A student could then feel for the appropriate touch to know which button to activate. Another option for vision would be to adjust the colors on the images you choose in Boardmaker. You can also adjust the background colors on the images as well. Below you can find a tutorial on how to use Boardmaker to set up images to use under the overlays on the Super Talker. 
Overall I found the Super Talker to be an easy to use device, both for the adult and the child. The device is easy to program, has a clear intelligible voice output (as long as you speak clearly!), and provides multiple choice boards. If I were considering an assistive technology communication device for one of my students I would think about the Super Talker and whether or not it would meet his or her needs. As we make many advances in the world of technology there are many more high tech communication devices on the market. It is important not to forget about these devices either. They may suit your student's needs better and be less expensive. 
The link below provides great additional resources and information on the Super Talker. You can find examples of use for the Super Talker, demonstration videos, success stories with the device and more!

{Click here to learn more about the Super Talker}
Don't forget to let me know your thoughts! I'd love some feedback from you if you have ever used this device or anything similiar.


Jess said...

That is a cool communication device. I used assistive technology with a student with limited speech last year. He had a DynaVox. It was very complicated and set up in categories with a lot of vocabulary. I would have loved to be trained in before using it with him. I relied a lot on the student showing me how to use it.

Love your presentation and glad you could do it on your blog!
Rambling About Reading

Miss Kindergarten said...

That is sooo cool Erin!!!

tnw1988 said...

This is a neat device. I used a device last year with a boy that is nonverbal. It wasn't as fancy as what you have! I'll have to look into one of these.

A Tender Teacher for Special Needs

Sarah said...

I have used a PEC's system with a student as well as a variety of iPad speech apps! (which turned out in K to be to complex) However the one we have had the best luck with our our school with our students is called a PODD -- its considered a low-tech system that I actually got to model a book w/ the whole class and the student that needed the device had his. Pretty amazing how POWERFUL the tool was for everyone!

Thanks for the resources--I am not sure if our state of Iowa has a similar resource system! I know that we have area ed agencies that we pull a lot of resources form as well as our SLP's.



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