Devices Offering Great Solutions (DOGS)

Speech Generating Devices

Machines designed to help you speak when talking is hard.

What does it do?

A number of companies make devices that help you communicate when speaking is hard. Many of these are tablet based. Apps can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play that make it possible to express your thoughts, needs, and emotions. Some of these apps can also be used to send emails, control a smart home device, or even text your friends.

If you go through insurance to obtain a speech generating device, you will receive what is called a “dedicated device.” These devices are locked down, which means they can be used for face to face communication but not to access the internet. If you need a device to be “unlocked”, you will have to contact the company to find out the steps to take.

Many of these dedicated devices have a touch screen, but there are other ways of accessing them. You may use switches, eye gaze cameras, head tracking, or a stylus. They may be placed on a tabletop, on a stand, or mounted onto a wheelchair. You can either write your message or use picture symbols to choose the words you want to be spoken.

What kinds of communication devices are there?

Here is a list of some of the major companies that sell dedicated communication devices. This list is not comprehensive and the world of technology changes all the time. Contact us directly if you have any questions!

Child in a wheelchair using an eye gaze communication device

How do I see what's new?

Technology changes all the time. To find out about the latest options for these, you can type keywords into a search engine such as Google, Safari, Firefox, or Bing on a computer or tablet. These are the keywords for this type of item:

AAC, Augmentative and Alternative Communication, nonverbal communication devices, speech generating devices

How do I find out more?

If you live in the US outside of Pennsylvania you would need to find your state's AT program.

If you live in Pennsylvania:

  • you could contact TechOWL to work with a specialist. We can meet with you and sometimes demonstrate this equipment. We can also help with different ways to get one for your own.
  • you might borrow this equipment to try out. Do we have this in our lending library?


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Kathryn Helland

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