Avaz FreeSpeech is an app designed to help children build grammatically correct sentences. It was developed by an interdisciplinary team of Speech Pathologists, educators, and software engineers. The developer also created Avaz Pro, a revolutionary AAC app designed to give a voice to students on the spectrum. The recommended age range for this app is 6-18 years.
The app allows students to explore the grammatical structures of English language in a visual and engaging way. The format is very similar to augmentative communication apps with Boardmaker symbols that are color coded for quick reference. However, this app is different in that it guides students in formulating grammatically sentences by prompting them with visual cues to increase the complexity of their output.
This is accomplished by the following features:
- Expanding: using questions to cue users to increase length and complexity of sentences
- Scaffolding: predicting likely word choices based on previous word selections
- Contrasting: applying verb tense changes and other modifiers automatically
- Recasting: adding articles (a, the) and prepositions as necessary
- Errorless modeling: formulating a diagram of symbols into an appropriate sentence
By using a type of brainstorming map, it facilitates the construction of ideas by automatically employing linguistic constructs to words placed within the diagram. This framework allows for elaboration of the user’s utterance by systematically offering cues through a scaffolding approach. For example- If you started with the word “want”, you would then be prompted to answer the following questions: when, who, or what. By tapping on a question box, predictive analysis offers some likely word choices or you can select “more words” for additional categories. There is also a place on the right side of the screen to “stash” words for later use.
The word choices are organized in categories. A tab of frequently used categories such as “actions”, “people”, “places”, “things” can be selected which then open additional subcategories to help narrow down the search. For example, if the “food & drink” tab is selected from the main menu on the left, additional options such as “most used”, “meal”, “drink”, “meat”, “places to eat”, and “snacks” are offered to make selecting the desired word easier. There is also a search bar where choices can be found by typing in the preferred word. The formulation of sentences is truly limitless as you can add your own vocabulary choices with actual photos.
This app has endless potential to help students unlock the power of language by teaching them how to construct and expand sentences to better express themselves. For example, by simply pressing the “past” button, the verb will be automatically changed to the past tense verb. If the “question”, button is selected, it will convert a statement into an interrogative. You can easily change between single and plural nouns by hitting an icon on the noun symbol. The meaning of the sentence can also be changed just by altering the location of one symbol.
The settings tab allows for the following options to be set at desired levels:
Pictures: show or hide
Access: tap or drag
Vocabulary: Level 1 – offers a limited number of word choices for beginners
Level 2 : has menu of 11 categories with up to 40 words in each
Level 3: has menu of 11 categories with several subcategories and corresponding words for each
Inflections: Level 1 Level 2 Level 3
Prompts: Level 1 Level 2 Level 3
Voice: 4 choices
Voice speed: 1-6
There is a bit of a learning curve to understand where to place the symbols in order to generate the desired sentence. It takes some practice to become familiar with the location of the symbols and how to arrange them in the framework to achieve the target sentence. A short tutorial is offered showing how to formulate two sentences, but additional examples would be welcome.
I felt that the app is a innovative tool for those struggling to use grammar and syntax appropriately. It contains well organized content, intuitive format, and predictive selections. It has the ability to customize settings for all different levels of skill and knowledge. I also liked the ability to create unique sentences of increasing length and complexity in a systematic way.
We would love to see an expanded tutorial with several examples of how to build increasingly complex sentences as well as the ability to type in a sentence and then be shown how to construct it in the diagram.
It is important to note that this app is not an AAC tool or speech generating device. It would be a wonderful companion to the Avaz Pro AAC app, but it can stand alone as well. This app would best be used under the guidance of a special educator or SLP.
Overall, this app has amazing potential for helping children expand their verbal and written expression. It is an excellent tool to help students develop their grammar and syntax skills in a systematical way by using visual symbols and prompts in a fun and engaging way.
Avaz FreeSpeechby Avaz, Inc.
Category: Education, Medical
Requirements: Compatible with iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPhone4S-iPhone4S, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPhone5-iPhone5, iPodTouchFifthGen-iPodTouchFifthGen, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPhone5c-iPhone5c, iPhone5s-iPhone5s, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPhone6-iPhone6, iPhone6Plus-iPhone6Plus, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPodTouchSixthGen-iPodTouchSixthGen, iPhone6s-iPhone6s, iPhone6sPlus-iPhone6sPlus, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPhoneSE-iPhoneSE, iPhone7-iPhone7, iPhone7Plus-iPhone7Plus, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74, iPhone8-iPhone8, iPhone8Plus-iPhone8Plus, iPhoneX-iPhoneX
Size: 519.04 MB
Screenshots(Click to enlarge)
Screenshots for iPad(Click to enlarge)
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Shari is a married mother of four from Illinois. She works as a speech pathologist in a rehab setting and loves to use apps in therapy. She is a self-proclaimed “Appaholic”- always on the look out for great apps!