At $189.99, Proloquo2Go is far from the cheapest App Store offering. Believe it or not, though, that price is actually a bargain--one a certain market is seriously happy to pay.
The target market? Parents of kids with special needs--specifically those with autism, apraxia, and other disabilities that affect their communication. Many of these kids can't speak, or can't speak as fluently as their peers, but they understand what's going on around them, and they do have things they'd like to say.
Augmentative and alternative communication, or AAC, devices can supplement existing speech or replace speech that is not functional to improve social interaction, school performance, and--not for nothing--to give the kids a better sense of self-worth. Electronic AAC aids use picture symbols, letters, and/or words and phrases to create messages. Equipped with an AAC device, a child with cerebral palsy whose speech is limited suddenly has a way to tell you, "I want to go to Grandma's house this weekend!" or "I ate cake!"
Proloque2Go is just one of a growing number of AAC apps quickly gaining ground in the special-needs community. The reason is hardly surprising: before these apps came along, AAC devices could cost upward of $10,000--a cost many insurance companies would not cover. And for that hefty price, you got a heavy, clunky device that screamed, "I am different!" You would have looked cooler lugging an actual Commodore 64 around--though, at least then, you could have rocked the whole retro-chic look.
Kids aren't the only ones benefiting from these apps, of course--stroke and accident victims, as well as adults with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease) and other progressive degenerative diseases are also tapping into this growing market. … Read more