Grid Pads are simply touchscreen tablets developed specifically for AAC communication. They use a simple interface grid system filled with pictures and words that allow the user to select a variety of preset categories and form sentences. Most modern models of the Grid Pad order high-frequency vocabulary at the top of each page, which when selected expand into other menus such as next word prediction, core verb links and symbols.
These devices also have built-in keyboards, so users can type their own sentences; create keyboard shortcuts or even store phrases and words of their own. They come ready installed with a predictive text feature which increases the speed at which the user can communicate in this way. Once words are typed or categories are selected, the synthesized voice will read aloud the messages that have been input.
Most Grid Pads have internet and Bluetooth capabilities so can send and receive emails, text messages, or even link up to the users’ environment to control lights, televisions or smart home technology, allowing for greater independence.
Who Are They For?
Grid Pads offer an ideal solution for people who are non-verbal or have incoherent speech, but they require the individual to have mobility in order to use the touchscreen. However, many models are available with built-in eye gaze technology or alternatively have USB ports for an external head mouse, meaning that even immobile people can use them to communicate.
A degree of literacy is also required for to correctly select categories and words, but there is software available for those who have yet to become literate, so it can be adapted to suit even very young children or those with developmental delay syndromes.