Wednesday, August 14, 2013

TaptoTalk Review

  I am doing my first review!!! I am very sorry it has taken so long to finish this review this has been in draft form for a long time. I have spent a lot of time editing it and thinking about how to write these reviews, Because this is my first review it is likely to be a bit disorganized.

App: TaptoTalk


App price: free

Subscription *to customize app* : 

1 year $99.95
life time: $179.95 
   (one time payment)

Over View

TaptoTalk is a relatively simple and basic AAC app. TaptoTalk has an app you can purchase for free on the Ipad, tablet, iPod touch, IPad mini, kindle and androids/smart phones.  However the free app is very basic it comes with  a few basic starter albums with a pre recorded male voice. How ever you ca also download a few other free albums. Male starter, female starter, chicest, numbers and help me. Just to name a few. They also have learning albums for things such as learning arcs numbers and reading. These free albums are also available in Spanish.

In order to customize the app you will have to buy a subscription. You can  buy a one year which $99.95 or a life time which costs. $179.95 so round that up to 100 for. Year and 200 for a life time. They also have packages available for  agency's and pro for 2 or more children.

Once your Oder is complete and your account is set up you will receive an email with your log in information and then you can begin your editing. Over the week I used this app I found there were many circumstances in which i had to find ways to supplement this app and often found myself wishing it had some kind of keyboard. I was frequently editing and adding new albums as i frequently needed to add prescripted things I had not considered before. While it was a pain to constantly have to supplement it in many occasions due to my more advanced communication need this app was simple, easy and predictable which made basic communication fast and simple. in fact  most of my basic communication needs, asking for foo or drink, letting someone know i was going out or that i wanted to do something ect, were met with this app, Because this was my first time doing a testing period as well as my first review i did run into many glitches because of this I plan to retest and re-review the taptotalk app in a couple of months!  Below is my general  ratings and reviews of this app. 

Platforms: Ipad, Iphone, Ipod, internet, kindle fire, Android, laptop, desk top nook, nabi tablet Nintendo Ds and DSI

Challenges: being heard, setting up albums,

Pros: easy to use, great for pre-scripted conversations for easy fast communication, great starter app. excellent for communicating basic needs.good customer support. Good price for a one time payment (affordable) and most importantly this app is highly versatile and can be used on multiple platforms!

Cons:  the major cons are that you need to prescript EVERYTHING! you need to be able to predict what your child, loved one or yourself will need to say or express through out the day across multiple context. the editing can be a bit hard to get started too. i also dont like that you can not edit in app. additionally to update newly published albums you must have and internet connection,

(until I find a way to do star ratings I will us a 10 point scale  1 is poor  10 being the best)

Price ratting: 8
    For what it is it is pretty well priced

Versatility: Versatility rates how many platforms I can use this app on. can I use it on multiple platform for free or will I have to but another version on other platforms?

Versatility: 10
       Okay this is this apps highest ratting!!!  When it comes to versatility taptotalk is amazing and you wont have to pay extra for it and this is great!

voice quality: the realistic 1 being very mechanical and 10 being human sounding) 6, I chose to give

voice quality: 6

voice volume: The voice volume rating rates how easily this app is heard directly from the device with out the aid of a good blue tooth speaker. it is broken down into 2 sections at home, which covers relatively quite places such as at home but also othe quiet places like libraries and places with minimal noise and in public which is the ratting for the ability to hear this app outside on walks, in store at the park ect. Your voice is how well your own voice recording is heard. then we have the over all rating.

at home: 6
  this is a  because depending on whats going on you will want the volume to be up pretty high.

In Public: 2
 this got a 2 because it is nearly impossible to hear out in public on the Ipad. however it was a bit easier (not much) to hear on a smart phone in a relatively quiet place.

Your voice:  7
When you record your own personal voice it is generally always louder and easier to hear both in public and at home then the synthetic voices.

Over all volume ratting: 5

Customization: How easy is this app to customize?

Customization ratting:  6
         I gave this app a six because it is a bit difficult to learn hot to set up the albums but also because it can not be customize in app. this means a parent can not add things as needed, nor can adult who might have higher communication needs and can manage their own account/device. Additionally while you can now use the tap to talk designer on the Ipad and Iphone you can not use it on a regular smartphne. You are also not able to record your own voice using the Ipad.

usage with growth (the ability to meet more complex needs as child or adult grows and develops their communication skills with the app and use it for more complex communication)

Usage with growth: 4

For this I give taptotalk a 4 because while it can be used for evan those who are verbal to communicate basic needs it is not sufficient to cover more complex communication needs.

Suggestion to the company.  Tap to talk is a great app one major thing I might suggest it adding a key board  and or maybe a second app that allows you to make picture sentences as opposed to all pre-scripted conversation.  I would also suggest adding more voices and ideally louder ones. I also suggest making it so parents and care givers can record their voices while editing on the ipad and extending the editing abilities to regular smart phones.

Suggestions to the family and individuals using this app:  To the families either considering this app or who have it already. I would suggest having a second AAC to supplement this app when needed. I also strongly suggest 1 or 2 speakers to amplify the sound. a Bluetooth speaker is great for while in stores and a wire speaker is great for at the table or at school (some place you wont be moving around a lot and the ipad can just sit on the desk.

Other: Tap to talk has other uses too. they have advertised the ability to use this to also help learn things like the alphabet and basic counting and math.


    In conclusion TaptoTalk is an excellent starter app for those just starting out using AAC apps and devices. TaptoTalk's simple easy to use interface allows the child or adult express their basic needs, desires and feeling quickly and easily. Sadly it does not meet the needs of individuals with complex communication needs and abilities with AAC apps do to the fact it is all based on pre-scripted communication.  Yet  to it's easy of use and simplisty is is still a great app to have. while many kids might outgrow this app it can still be functional for covering basic needs.

I highly suggest this app for  those just starting out  with communication apps as it is very basic easy and simple. What might surprise you is I also suggest this app for adult and children with Autism who are verbal as well particularly if they have a tendency to become non verbal under stressful situations, when scared, injured, lost ect as it is simple and easy to use and convey important possibly life saving information. This apps versatility is als a strong point for both those who are non verbal and those who may only need it on occasions as it can be used on a wide verity of platforms it can be available quickly and easily  With the support of a second app TaptoTalk is a great app to have for even advance communicators! 

Over all App rating:  7


 Have any suggestions for other review? Do you have an experience with tap to talk that you would like to share?  please feel free to leave a comment or send me a message 

Thank you


Saturday, August 10, 2013

What happened to Nimrodel?


    Nimrodel (Nim-row-dell) is now 10 years old and for those of you who don't know Nim has worked beside me for may years as my partner, best friend and Service dog. her tasks made it possible for me to manage many of the basic day to day things i struggle with due to my autism and she has on more then one occasion been a life saver for me. simply put she has been my life line for the past few years and before she was task trained and became a service dog she was my emotional life line. Nim is the reason I wake up everyday and even on the worst days. since she has retired to at home service i she is what i look forward to most, seeing her run up to me wagging her tail and getting kisses. Recent;y Nim has become very ill.

what happened to Nim?
well yesterday was a lot like any other day, we woke up and hung around the house a bit Nim seemed sore and i was waiting for an hour after my meds kicked in to take Nim out as she seemed content to just nap. after a bit i took her out. after she went out to pee and poop (just her first short walk) we went back in and i started to do some work on my blog. Nim decided to lay down and wait for me to be ready for our 1 mile walk. after a few minutes i hear Nim doing something so I turned to look and she was up on the mini trampoline and it seemed like she was going to use it to climb up on the bed for some cuddling.. however when i called her she didnt try to get up. she seemed i thought to be trying to decide how to do it. in hinesight i think i noticed her head moving a bit but it didnt register at the time. then I hear what sounded like a ripping sound so i lead her off the mini trampoline thinking it was going to break under her and I didn't want her to get hurt *i couldn't have imagined what was about to unfold*

when i got her off i realized it wasn't a ripping sound there was not tare then at second glance I realized it! it was pee! Nim had peed through the mini trampoline! so i asked her if she needed to go out and she started walking sideways towards me! this worried me she was walking at an angle seemed like she wanted a wall for support..a quick glance it looked like she was holding up her back leg and she fell. then she got up and fll again. i panicked! i scream and broke into tears i called pat and fought through my tears that it was an emergency and nim needed to get to a vet. then i ran to my roommate i could hear her getting up and falling but i was paralyzed in fear for a few minutes. we came out and nim was in the bathroom, she followed us out walking sideways and fell again. then it got even worse. she began looking like she was trying to get up and falling back really quickly in a repetitive and circular motion. she was literally spinning around the kitchen and across the room doing this. i scream as my knees buckled just crying. i couldn't even talk to the vet i was such a horrible mess. all i could think was that i was seeing my dog suffering and dying a horrific death! i thought they were seizures. Sarah did what she could to keep me calm reminding me to stay with nim and to pet her no matter how bad it got. i wanted to close my eyes and make it all go away. there was nothing worse then seeing Nim go through this! after she got off the phone with the vet we wrapped her up in blankets and protected her head. *Sarah suggested it as i couldn't think clearly at all at this point!

We knew things were really bad because when pat here she didn't even seem to realize he was in the room. normally she runs around in excitement when she so much as hears his car and when he walks in the house. however this time he came right up to her but it was like he wasnt even there. we all slowly and carefully lifted her onto the blanket and loaded her into the car. as soon as we got there staff came out and we got her into the office. they checked her temp 104.9 and we went over our week and what it could be ruling out what it wasn't. Nim was realy out of it. her eyes were glazed over and she couldn't even get off her side. when she would sit up she swayed. When the doctor came in he checked her over and checked for an ear infection. her ears looked good so he moved on to test her eyes and her sense of touch. through these tests he found she lost vision in her left eye. she also lost sensation in her front left leg. He said that it looked like she has old dog vestibular disease but her loss of vision in one eye and loss of sensation in her front leg is unusual so it could have been a stroke or possibly a brain tumor. the good news is that if it is old dog vestibular disease most dogs who get this recover to nearly 90 plus percent back to normal. Unfortunately it would cost thousands of dollars to figure out which for sure. while we waited for mom to get there Nim started to show some improvements. her eyes cleared up and she waged her tail when mom walked i showing she was aware. she also tried to sit up but didn't have to much of a rolling fit with our support. after reviewing our options we said we will take her home and see how she does with supportive care. We plan to reassess in a 5 plus day. We have much hope that she will regain her ability to stand and walk and may make a near full recovery! we are praying very hard for this

Nim's care: for care she needs subcutaneous fluids twice a day on antibiotics and aspirin (coated) physically nim cant really use her limbs and sways when she sits up. she is also tilted to the left the vet said this is classic with old dog vestibular syndrome and will likely improve if the diagnosis is correct but may always tilt her head a bit to the left. Still unable to walk


Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers she means everything to me!

FOLLOW Nim's recovery at