Sunday, December 7, 2014

Product Review: Coughdrop AAC


Cough Drop AAC is a brand new cloud based Augmentative Alternative Communication System, created by Brian Whitmer, a computer programmer and father of a child with a disability.  The free, web based Beta version launched on October 9th and is available by signing up at  until January 9th. This system was created to better serve children with unique and complex communication needs, such as autism, Rett Syndrome, selective mutism, MS, ALS, traumatic brain injury, to name a few.   

What makes Cough Drop AAC Different?

Cough Drop AAC system is based on collaboration and data based reporting for IEP team members.  I think it is like the Google Drive for the AAC users and can be used across laptops and tablets.  One of the more frustrating aspects of current AAC programs on the market is modifying boards.  If I modify a student's board on my laptop, each therapist that has access to that child's user and board information also has to make the changes. That's just inefficient, especially for children who rely on us for their voices.   Like Google Drive,  Cough Drop AAC updates changes that other team members make on a user's account across the board.  That is the benefit of the cloud based system.   Another great feature among therapists, is the ability to share core boards and other custom vocab based activities as a social network.

Screenshots of my favorite features:

Home Screen with Core Word Screen with Easy Navigation

Share Feature

Social Network and board sharing among other professionals

Color Editing Feature and Modification  That Changes Across Devices

Creating A Board for A Child with Cortical Visual Impairments:

Since I work with children with visual impairments, I created a board that was custom built for a 13 year old child with visual impairments with complex communication needs.  This particular board was created for a child with cortical visual impairments and very involved gross motor challenges.  However, she is very expressive and relies on others to physically help her make adjustments to her iPad screen settings for her visual needs.  Her expressive language is not always clear, so we created a core vocabulary board for her visual modifications on her iPad and computer screen using Cough Drop AAC. Here is what we created for her. 

My Experience Editing the Board:
Editing the boards was very easy and intuitive if you have worked with other dynamic systems.  It is easy to navigate and uses easy language.  I was able to easily altar the size and color of images on the boards.  Brian has created a very easy way for those of us that work with the visually impaired, to augment the visual presentation of these communication boards.  Cough Drop AAC also features several voice output options and a "Speak It" feature within the system that enables the user to use his or her core word vocabulary board as a tool for expressive language directly from the website.

Final  Thought: 
Cough Drop AAC is an innovative system that is going to catch AAC users up with the 21st Century.  Brian has ideas of making it compatible to make Cough Drop AAC compatible for tweeting on Twitter and writing Facebook status updates.   I am excited to see how it will work with switch interfaces in up and coming versions.  

Starting in January, the full version of Cough Drop will be available with a competitive monthly rates and free trial.

You can contact the creator, Brian Whiter at: 
Brian Whitmer 
CoughDrop, Inc. 
+1 (801) 997-0844

or on Twitter @CoughDropAAC



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