How I Use It
This is an augmentative communication app that I used in my weekend children's class with a five year old autistic boy named Thomas. Thomas was non-verbal and had a hard time communicating his needs and feelings during our 2 hour class each week. I learned about CoughDrop, which has at month free trial, and thought it might be helpful for him in our class. I spoke with his parents who were also starting to work with their doctor and a speech therapist and we decided to move forward with this program.
I created an account online and then downloaded the app onto an old Android tablet that I had. I loaded a set of core vocabulary words and also created a couple of speech boards with words and phrases that related to our class. Then I modeled use of the device so that Thomas could learn how to use it.
Honestly, at first, he just spent a lot of time pressing all the buttons and it was a little bit disruptive in class. Looking back, I can see that he was just getting to know the program and learning how it worked and what it could do. Thankfully, we didn't quit just because it was uncomfortable at first. We started to use AAC in our class regularly so it didn't seem weird or unusual that Thomas used the device to communicate.
When my eight students entered the classroom the first thing I would do was use CoughDrop to ask them how they were feeling that day. I told them how I felt and then invited each child to use the speech board to tell me how they felt, including Thomas (who almost always said he was feeling "silly").
When it came time for our annual program, we created a button that Thomas could press so that he could vocalize his part just like everyone else. He was thrilled to be able to be part.
We used CoughDrop in our class for almost a year, and I watched Thomas become more and more engaged in our lessons. I also watched as he began to make more and more speech sounds on his own. When he left my class to move on, he was beginning to speak some words on his own and I believe using CoughDrop gave him the confident to realize he DID have a voice and someone was willing and eager to listen to what he had to say.
Speech pages were easy to create and adjust. I also liked that because the program is cloud based Thomas could have the same speech boards available on his device at home that he had on my device in class. I was set as a supervisor on his CoughDrop account so I could also access his speech boards from my laptop at home to make changes or update things as needed. Then I saved the changes to the cloud and they showed up on any device logged in to his account.
There are a bunch of video tutorials to help people learn how to use the program, but it is really user-friendly as well so it didn't take a lot of figuring out to get it started.
This program worked perfectly for my student and was a HUGE benefit to our class. I'm really glad we found CoughDrop and were better able to hear what Thomas had to say.
As an augmentative communication app I think CoughDrop is in a class of its own. The program can run on just about any type of device and since it is cloud-based the account information is saved in the cloud rather than on a single device. You can then access the account from just about any device and the speech boards and buttons are exactly the same. We loved using the app, and it was a big help to my student who had been quiet and withdrawn but became engaged and excited. I credit CoughDrop for a lot of that.