Tom Taps Speaks – is a communication app that is aimed at individuals with special needs and communication difficulties, including autism. The app is available for free download from the iTunes store.
The iTunes store has the following description:
‘Form new friendships and bridge gaps with Tom Taps. Tom Taps is a communication app to help individuals with special needs. The app showcases a colorful and easy-to-use layout to motivate communication. Your loved ones can choose from a wide array of 700 cards telling expressions, people, objects, places and more categories all portrayed in vividly-illustrated pictures. Now, they can talk and bond with you, their friends and their teachers in a breeze!’
I was kindly asked to review this app with my young son Tom and I have to say that it was incredibly easy to use and that Tom took to it straight away. Tom is verbal but we do use PECS and visual images for him as he is a visual learner and I believe that this app will help further his communication needs.
Firstly the app comes with 700 extremely clear symbols that are grouped into a variety of topics. These include:
People, Actions, Things, Feelings, Quick Phrases, Food, Drinks, Places, Toys, Pains, Short Words,, Body Parts, Hygiene, Clothing, Animals,, Weather, Count, Description, Sizes, Colors, Shapes and Time.
So as you can see, pretty much everything is covered. These cards can also be customized with your own photograph or image as well as recording your own voice. Tom never likes to hear my voice on apps, so I left the prerecorded voice on. However I did personalize a few of the cards.
The screen is very easy to navigate between using the picture cards and board, white board and keyboard. To be honest Tom found this easier to use than me and navigated from one screen to the other without any problem and without becoming frustrated as the transitions were seamless. This is always a huge worry when using any app on the iPad, as if they decide to stop or are slow he will become frustrated and anxious but this app is very fast and easy to use.
So the whole idea of this app is to use the various screens to communicate and this can be done in a variety of ways.
The Whiteboard allows you to doodle your thoughts and ideas and Tom did write his name using thsi feature but I was unable to capture it. My eldest son did the following drawing, just to give you an idea.
As the website states; Go Picasso. If words and pictures can say no more, doodle your thoughts!
Registration is free and I would strongly recommend registering, even if you use the free version, as this will allow you to unlock the parental settings. This allows you to access the store, as well as being able to delete and edit features om your boards.
So I whole heartedly recommend this app. It is affordable, or free, easy to use for both parent and chgild and I think will enhance the life of any child who has difficulties with communication.
Tom Taps Speaks can be downloaded from the iTunes store here with the one board feature being free and the Customize Feature costing $4.99
The Tom Taps Speaks website can be found here