Aljon moved to the United States from the Philippines four years ago with his father and two sisters. When he first came to our school district, he barely knew any English and was a very quiet and timid student. But the amazing thing about children and teens is their adaptability.
In just a few short years, Aljon has become a happy, outgoing student who always has a smile on his face and loves to communicate. His teacher even describes him as the class leader. Even though Aljon has learned a lot of English, his receptive skills are far greater than his expressive abilities. He independently says sentences up to four or five words, but his articulation and sentence structure are often in error—listeners frequently report they can’t understand and often ask him to repeat himself. Unless you know Aljon well and the room is quiet, it can be very difficult to pick up on his words.
It was clear that Aljon needed some form of AAC to get his more detailed messages across. But Aljon is a man on the move! He comes to school for an hour in the morning, then it’s off to his work study program, where he helps build boxes and do other tasks with his hands. When he gets back to school, he has PE, then lunch, followed by helping with tasks around the school like recycling. It was obvious a bulky AAC device wouldn’t be able to keep up. He needed something light and fast he could keep handy all the time. Luckily, Aljon is a whiz with his ever-present iPhone.
When we met for our first speech therapy session this year, he was already using it as a communication supplement by looking up pictures and attempting to spell out words on the screen. While this was very creative problem solving on his part, we knew he could do more with a dedicated AAC app. And that’s where Predictable® has come in. It’s a flexible AAC solution that’s always accessible, on a device he loves and already knows how to interact with.
The first day we downloaded Predictable®, Aljon was flipping through the screens and navigating with ease. (He even figured out how to change the voices!) That’s why this app works: it just makes sense, especially for today’s tech savvy teens. With sections for typed-word prediction, categorized icons, and the ability to add personalized phrases, Aljon has quick access to the tools that will efficiently improve his expressive communication. When he has created his message, Aljon just taps the screen and the words are said aloud for everyone to hear.
For the right students, Predictable® on the iPhone can be a great partner in independence. In one recent therapy session, Aljon told us how he used his iPhone to order at McDonald’s for the first time by himself. And that put a smile on all of our faces.
Written by Matt Paden
School Speech Therapist
Washington State, USA