Have you ever felt that your voice is not being heard, or that you cannot explain something properly? These are extremely frustrating situations! Now imagine that this is your whole life. You cannot communicate to others through spoken words and often people are not understanding what you want or how you are feeling. Now imagine yourself on the other side of this situation. You are trying to communicate with someone that cannot use spoken words to communicate and you cannot figure out what they need or why they are upset. This situation is extremely difficult and frustrating for both parties and it often ends with miscommunication. This situation is something that people throughout Canada and many other countries face every day.
Fear not, there is a solution.
To solve this solution, a system called Picture Exchange Communication System (or PECS for short) has been created. The traditional PECS system uses physical cards that have a picture and description on them. The person that is using PECS must give the person they are attempting to communicate with the card (or multiple cards) to communicate what they are feeling.
Now imagine this for a moment. Having a picture or a little card for every word that you must say. You need a card for apple, banana, oranges, medicine, angry, sad, happy, bathroom, etc. That’s a lot of cards to constantly be carrying around.
PECS often works great, but it can be impractical to lug around a binder full of pictures to use to communicate. Visuals2Go is a FREE app that solves this issue.
Unfortunately, it is only compatible with Apple devices, but there is likely a similar app that is compatible with Android.
Visuals2Go is an app that digitizes and stores all of the picture cards that an individual uses to communicate on their iPhone, iPad, or iPod. It completely eliminates the need to carry around a binder full of physical pictures, but the creators of the app also understand that sometimes people prefer to have the physical cards and thus, the pictures on the app can be printed as well.
I got the default version of the app, because it is free, but there is also a professional version of the app, which only costs $16.99. The default version is still a super cool app! I played around on it for a bit and I found that there are a lot of features. The default version of the app has tons of pre-made cards for the user to use, but they can also be edited and personalized to suit each individual’s needs. The pictures that are used to describe the word can be changed to different icons and people can take their own pictures and add them in. The app also comes with a default speech voice that will say what the pictures are (I found the voice extremely creepy), but people can also record themselves saying the word instead (bye-bye scary robot voice). This app also allows users to create a sentence strip to have more complex communication, but they can also simply click on one picture.
Visuals2Go is a great app for people of all ages to use to learn to talk, or use as a way to communicate with others. This app would be great in an inclusive classroom for student(s) that have a difficult time communicating their needs through spoken words. It also can be used for young children learning how to speak and learning new words. The app can also be used for students that are new to Canada and have not learnt English yet. This app is very versatile and it is the perfect thing for teachers to (quite literally) have in their back pocket when working with students of all abilities and different parts of the world.
On the SAMR model, Visuals2Go would fall into the Augmentation category. Visuals2Go allows students to substitute traditional PECS physical cards with the digitized version. The convenience of Visuals2Go gives students the option to carry around a iPhone or iPad rather than a binder filled with cards. Visuals2Go is a great update from the traditional PECS cards and it will help students communicate their needs in a more efficient way.
Visuals2Go is not the only app on the market that allows users to communicate in different ways. There are many other, more expensive, apps out there that are similar to Visuals2Go, but it is FREE! It would be a great starting app for a student to test out to see if they would prefer to use an app rather than physical cards to communicate. Students can use this app to communicate with their fellow classmates, their teachers and their parents.
Thanks for reading my blog post! Let me know if you try out Visuals2Go in the comments or tweet me @MsOsachoff on twitter.