Review by Dana Villamagna, Common Sense Education | Updated September 2012
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Unique way for kids with limited verbal skills to express themselves

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Teachers say (1 Review)
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K-12 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: Simple pictures organized in a drill-down format help kids communicate specific messages.

Cons: High entry costs for schools (although there is a 30-day money back guarantee).

Bottom Line: Expensive but worthy investment can pay off in helping non-verbal kids learn to communicate thousands of things.

Teachers can use TapToTalk with students of all ages and all languages. You can use it to help non-verbal students communicate ongoing needs, thoughts, and questions in the classroom. The more the albums are adapted to fit a kid's individual life and preferences, the more relevant and empowering the app will be, so sharing information and creating albums in conjunction with a student's parents and therapists will be useful. Teachers can find excellent support resources and videos online.

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TapToTalk is an augmentative and alternative communication app (AAC) that empowers kids who aren't able to speak (or who have limited speech) to say what they want or feel via the app's recorded voice. Kids choose and tap symbolic images of things like food, places, people, emotions, personal needs, and more that are organized into albums. Then the app speaks the related words. Kids can drill down into albums to hear the app speak a more specific item within a general group (tap food to hear "I'm hungry," then tap fruit to hear "I want some fruit," then tap grapes to hear, "Grapes, please."). A main bar on the bottom of each page includes options to return to past pages or to the home screen, shut off written text that appears with the words, or shut off the speaker, if kids are in a situation where they need to use it silently and just use the written requests.

The free version of TapToTalk provides only sample content and doesn't allow for customized albums. Schools and therapists can access the entire program along with customization options for $429.95 (other fees may apply for more albums). When users purchase the full version, they can also add their own images and record content, as well as choose voices, languages, and more preferences. TapToTalk may be used with very young kids, but it will likely be more effective for older kids who want to communicate about a range of objects, places, and activities. Users have access to 2,600 images and 12,000 symbols and can add their own pictures and voice recordings. Each page in an album category can have up to 12 pictures, and each album can have hundreds of pictures. TapToTalk can help increase communication and decrease frustration for special needs kids and their families, friends, and teachers.

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With the paid version, the thousands of cards and the individualized custom-made card option make this an excellent resource for helping kids learn almost any school subject. Kids can also grow personal and interpersonal skills that can help non-verbal or verbally limited students succeed in and out of the classroom. TapToTalk can help kids learn to convey simple messages effectively -- what they want to eat or drink, how they're feeling, what they would like to play, and much more -- using clear sentences and good manners. In using this verbal-assist tool, kids can practice handling stress in a productive way, as they ask for what they need or want, and label their feelings. TapToTalk's albums help kids build the concept that there's more than one way to communicate, and using images can be very helpful. Also, kids learn to categorize items, activities, places, feelings, emotions, and people.

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Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Highly engaging. Kids with limited verbal abilities are empowered to express an almost endless selection of customizable phrases.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Kids can learn to convey simple messages effectively through the experiential use of TapToTalk -- such as what they want to eat or drink, or how they're feeling.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

There are many customizing options available with purchase of the entire program. Also, excellent tutorials and printable manuals can be found on the developer's website.

Common Sense Reviewer
Dana Villamagna Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

(See all 1 reviews) (1 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Hannah B. , Other para-professional educator
Other para-professional educator
Orchard Lane Elementary School
New Berlin, WI
TapToTalk allows non-verbal students to communicate effectively, for a fee

TapToTalk is a pretty effective way for my non-verbal students to communicate. It takes some time to set up different albums, but it's worth it. There is a free version with a few features, and the paid version has a lot of really awesome features, such as creating different albums and customizing the pictures and sounds. The website claims that the app is affordable, but it's actually pretty pricey in my opinion. At least $100 for a year. My school already had the app, but I probably would have done some research to find a similar but cheaper app. TapToTalk does, however, have more features and advantages than other similar programs that I have used in the past. If your school will pay for it, this app is very useful.

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