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Pure Friendship for Individuals with Special Needs
Tzvi Schectman

Five Text-to-Speech Apps Make Communication Easier for Individuals with Special Needs

“Text-to-speech” is a technology that allows an individual to type out a message and have it spoken by a device, and/or have spoken messages translated into text messages. The following apps allow text to speech functions to go right on a smartphone or tablet, helping those with difficulty hearing or speaking to communicate easily without expensive specialized equipment. Have you used an app that's not on this list? Tell us about it in the comments.


Text to Speech Apps: PredictableWebsite: Manufacturer’s description: “Multi-award winning app for people with speech disabilities who need a sleek, simple and smart way to communicate! Predictable speaks out the messages you type using your favourite from a selection of keyboard layouts (including 10 key keyboard, Apple’s own iOS keyboard, or any keyboard extension from the app store also works). Intelligent word prediction, which learns an individual’s pattern of use, makes communication even faster. Use Nuance voices, record your own voice saying familiar phrases or use your voice banked ModelTalker voice. Save phrases in the phrase bank for quick access; add items to Favourites and set up the features for a more personalised experience. Switch accessible; people with significant physical disabilities can still work the app using one or two switches. Now in it’s 5th major iteration, with all new features and appearance.” Download: App Store | Google Play Cost: $159.99 | $158.44


Text to Speech Apps: RogerVoiceWebsite: Manufacturer’s description: “RogerVoice provides a means for the deaf and hard-of-hearing to carry out phone conversations. ... Automated Real-Time Captioning (or subtitling) allows you to read a written transcript of your correspondent's spoken words, using voice-recognition technology. Your correspondent's words are instantly displayed as text messages on your screen. Transcription is secure and provided in multiple languages. Automated Voice Synthesis allows you to write your message to your correspondent, who will receive a voiced response. ... RogerVoice is suited for deaf and hard-of-hearing persons, persons with hearing loss, as well as persons with difficulty speaking, with aphasia, paralysis, or severe stuttering. RogerVoice may also be used by any person wishing to have a live transcription of a phone call for personal use.” Download: App Store | Google Play Cost: App is free, but you pay for call time

Talk for Me

Website: Text to Speech Apps: Talk For MeManufacturer’s description: “Not being able to speak on your own is difficult. Talk For Me - Text to Speech, designed and engineered by a person unable to speak, seeks to make your life easier. Type any text in the main text area or tap one of the six main custom buttons and your iOS device will talk for you. Want to set up more custom phrases? Swipe up and up again for more pages with custom editable buttons. Need even more? Save phrases in an archive database. This is great for saving partial sentences. A quick swipe left, select a sentence from your archive, and it will appear in the main window ready for you to complete. Once you set up with frequent custom phrases, this app will allow you to communicate with ease. No active internet connection needed. Large buttons for easy use.” Download: App Store Cost: Free

Touch Voice

Text to Speech Apps: Touch VoiceWebsite: Manufacturer’s description: “Touch Voice Gold provides outstanding Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) features for the speech impaired. The Touch Voice Gold app gives people who are unable to speak a voice. By touching buttons on the screen the app speaks for you with a customizable human sounding computerized voice. By speaking for them, Touch Voice Gold allows them to communicate with family, friends, doctors, nurses and care givers. Users of Touch Voice Gold can now speak their needs and feelings, reducing stress levels, which can possibly lead to better communications and facilitate care and recovery. Designed for communication in a hospital setting, convalescent facility, home care or in just any common communication scenario or situation. The app transforms the iPad into an Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) device for those who are unable to produce understandable natural speech on their own. The user interface is optimized for use by those who have mobility and dexterity challenges specifically affecting their ability of targeting and touching communication buttons with their fingers.” Download: App Store | Google Play Cost: $26.99 | $21.99

Voice Dream Reader

Text to Speech: Voice Dream WeaverWebsite: Manufacturer’s description: “We are passionate about making a difference in people’s lives, whether for a professional or student who wants to be more productive, or someone with learning differences who comprehends better listening than reading visually. ... Voice Dream Reader ... reads articles, documents and books out loud. With advanced text-to-speech and a highly configurable visual layout, it can be tailored to suit every reading style and level. Supported documents: PDF, Plain text, MS Word, MS PowerPoint, RTF, and Google Docs; Web articles; DRM-free EPUB eBooks; Bookshare Books; DAISY text-based books and audiobook; Audiobooks in MP3, MP4 or zipped MP3 format; Experimental rich text and image support for all documents. ... Spoken word is highlighted to improve comprehension and retention. ... High contrast and large font size for low vision readers. Optimized for VoiceOver, Braille and switch control.” Download: App Store | Google Play Cost: $14.99 | $9.99

WRITTEN ON January 22, 2017 BY:

Tzvi Schectman

Tzvi Schectman is the Family Coordinator for the Friendship Circle of Michigan and the Editor of the the Friendship Circle Blog. You can connect with Tzvi on LinkedIn and Google+