Once upon a time…

Once upon a time you just made calls with your phone. Fast forward 20 years and now we carry ‘phones’ that help us earn, learn and have fun as well as communicate.

This has all been made possible by the development of mobile applications (apps) and tablets. An app is a piece of software that can run on a mobile device, meaning we can now use more sophisticated software on the go. Early apps included spirit levels, calculators and arcade games, but they have come on leaps and bounds since then and the apps market has blossomed.

So, what does this mean for people we support? LOTS. The range of possible outcomes from apps is staggering – support to understand what’s being said, support to express oneself, support to learn and develop skills, the list really does go on and new apps are being developed all the time.

Apps take time, attention and energy to integrate into someone’s life so people’s support teams need to get involved. The rewards really are there. For the past year we have been trialling some apps within Certitude - here are some of the ones we have been using.

Proloquo2go (Assistive Ware, £250) – understanding information and selfexpression

Parvin’s all set for a holiday, but where to go? With the support of Ashley, her keyworker and Melanie, Certitude’s Total Communication Practitioner, Parvin went to the travel agents. They used the app Prologquo2go, added images of different holiday options and spent time with Parvin looking and talking over what she liked and wanted. Parvin consistently chose images of Majorca, great choice Parvin!

Thumb. Jam (Sonasurus, £5.99) creating and playing music

Chas loves drumming –he has lessons once a week, but that’s just not enough! Whenever I visit we load up Thumb.Jam, set it to the drums and start tapping the screen. All the drums are here including Djembe’s. Don’t forget your ear plugs!

Fingerpaint (Meritum soft, Free) – creating art

Susan’s mum is a big part of her life and they are in contact regularly. What better way for Susan to tell her mum how much she means to her than to make her a card. Susan loves Fingerpaint – she can tap the screen where ever she wants and rays of colour spring up on the screen – wonderful images each time.

Pictello (Assistive Ware, £19.99) – sharing our stories

Gemma was recently given a photo of herself with her mum and she proudly showed it to me. This is the first and only picture she has of herself with her mum, who passed away when she was a child. We are about to start making stories of Gemma’s life using Pictello for her to share with others to tell them her story. The picture of her with her mum will be the centre piece for this.

Other apps that you might be interested in…

Match and Find (specialiapps, £7.99 – education

Use this to help someone develop their memory, matching, searching and sequencing skills.

Special Stories (Special iapps, £12.99)

Another app to create memorable stories for people to share with others.

There are many more apps out there…please let us know of any others that you have found useful, we’d love to hear from you.

Lucy Harrison, Communication Development Manager, lucy.harrison@certitude.org.uk

Melanie Amaral-Haracic, Total Communication Practitioner, mamaral-haracic@certitude.org.uk

Lucy Harrison

Lucy Harrison

Communication Development Manager

Lucy develops new, creative ways of communicating with people who do not use speech to communicate. Lucy won our prestigious Michael Rosen Award in 2014 for her work.