There's Plenty of Work To Do
Augmentative and Alternative Communication has been around for a long time. Some strategies and solutions have been well-proven over the years, but there is a strong need for continued innovation and collaboration.
At CoughDrop we believe that Assistive Technology is important enough that we have better things to worry about than how to keep customers paying more and more money for proprietary locked-in solutions. We work hard to learn from others and share what we've learned, all in the open so we all can benefit. We don't pretend to know all the answers, and lean heavily on community experts and families to help us keep building in a way that can make the most difference.
A major part of our company DNA is to go out into the field and find out everyone else's answers to our questions, instead of just relying on our own perspective. That's how CoughDrop got started in the first place, and we keep doing it today. Below are some of the projects we've collaborated on.
AAC At a Distance
With physical distancing comes limitations on in-person therapy, education and even social interactions. We are collaborating with OpenAAC on an initiative to address these problems using specialized technology, such as Co-VidSpeak, and additional feedback from practitioners and families. For individuals with degenerative scenarios or social anxieties having pre-recorded messages instead of synthesized speech can be valuable and convenient.
When starting with AAC, there are important questions to understand, like how many buttons a communicator can handle, how fast they can select targets, etc. We are collaborating with AAC Evaulation Genie author Celeste Helling to create a new, data-driven approach to AAC assessment that can be used by anyone in the CoughDrop app.
For individuals with degenerative scenarios or social anxieties having pre-recorded messages instead of synthesized speech can be valuable and convenient. John Costello at Boston Children's is a pioneer in the work of effective message banking. We are actively working with John and his team to develop novel solutions to the difficulty of recording and transferring large collections of sound files.
Jill Senner and Matt Baud work hard to advocate for communicators in the AAC space, to make sure they get the communication supports that they need to succeed. We have collaborated with them on new ways to efficiently track Partner-Augmented Input and to create a set of Social Pages that can be used with CoughDrop.
Project Core is a powerful resource for implementing and supporting core vocabulary for AAC communicators. We have worked with Project Core to implement their sample communication boards, and will continue to leverage their expertise in the development of our core word-based resources in the Communication Workshop.
Let's Ask More Questions
AAC research can be challenging, often because of a lack of good data. Because CoughDrop is in the cloud, we can provide interesting insights based on hard data. Many CoughDrop users opt-in to anonymized contribution to research projects in the hopes of improving our understanding of AAC around the world. If you are interested in collaborating to answer new questions, please let us know!