Avaz for Autism is an assisted communication system designed to help persons of all ages and abilities with basic and advanced communication needs. The app offers thousands of symbols organized into categories and subcategories, the option to type words, phrases and sentences, and the ability to add personalized symbols, pictures, sequences and to arrange them for quick access.
- More than 15000 symbols
- Add your own pictures or symbols
- Modify and edit all content
- Record individualized messages
- 3 voice choices, including male, female and child
- 3 voice accents
- Optimized for the United States
- Guided system to transition from symbols to text
- Quick Response bar for frequently accessed messages
- Option to remove distracting content
- High contrast mode
- Adjustable sizes and ratio of picture size to caption
- Color-coded vocabulary
- Over 80 built-in conversational topics
Avaz for Autism offers an outstanding and flexible communication system at an affordable price. The software is exceptionally straightforward and simple to learn and use, yet offers enough depth to meet most communication needs even for normal-functioning teens and adults, making it suitable for a wide range of ability levels and needs. Pictures are clear and simple, and symbols are mostly quite intuitive. The recordings for a few of the words seem to have been cut off or started a slight bit into the pronunciation, but if this proves to be distracting, the user can edit the content and create a new recording. The documentation with the system is very clear and easy to use, and the options to customize for individual needs are superb.
Avaz for Autism is more than a communication tool-it can be used to actually teach language skills. Students can begin communication with single words or telegraphic speech, then gradually learn to use more conventional syntax. The system is set up to allow and even encourage transition from communication with symbols and pictures to using typed words.
With over 15,000 built-in words and phrases, Avaz can meet all basic communication needs and a wide range of advanced communication desires, including managing various conversational settings. The vocabulary is presented in nested categories, but users can easily group favorite or frequently-used items in the Quick Response section so they can be accessed readily. App developers have included a search option that will quickly guide users to desired words, then the words can be put in sections that make sense to the user.
The customization options for Avaz will allow teachers, parents, therapists or mentors to find the right level for each individual, then make the system responsive to the student’s needs. Makers of the app have grouped vocabulary in sensible ways to start new or lower functioning users with readily-accessible, basic vocabulary. More advanced users will find vocabulary suitable to many conversational settings as well as expressing basic needs and desires. Items can be rearranged, groupings can be customized, and it’s even possible to create personalized groups so that several individuals can use Avaz on the same device, as in a therapeutic setting. Options to assist individuals with varying degrees of visual impairment and attention problems round out the major customization features.
Finally, the system includes not only basic and advanced symbolic and picture vocabulary, but also allows users to type in selected words, phrases or sentences. This capability to mix the two forms of communication will allow users to transition from assisted communication to more conventional written communication in a gradual way if that is the goal, and it also dramatically expands the communication options for students who can utilize typing to communicate in some situations.
While this app isn’t really designed to entertain users, it certainly expands their options for recreation. The software not only will help individuals with communication impairments take action to get basic needs and wants met, but it also offers built-in conversational options, including things like discussing religion, enjoying holidays, and talking about vacations around the country. The ability to add content and modify existing content means that even persons with limited verbal skills can be offered the option to say whatever is on their mind, even abstract thoughts. That’s a real gift.
Avaz for Autism costs $99.99 in the App Store, which is an incredible value. Similar systems are priced at several hundred dollars, and most do not offer the level of flexibility and customization options that this application provides. Therapists will appreciate the capability to track progress in therapeutic sessions, and parents/caregivers will appreciate the ease of use and flexibility of the software.
This app does not include advertisements or readily-accessible links to the internet or social media. There is an option to share messages on various social media sites or through email, but it is well-hidden in the Settings menu, which can be password protected if the user so desires.