How Smartstones Touch compares to traditional alternative and augmentative communication solutions

Most children with ASD have problems communicating, and in many cases these deficits will persist throughout the child's life. A parent's first priority when given an Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis should be to start treatment as early as possible. Intensive treatments for communication skills may sound extreme, but studies have shown that starting treatment early in life leads to a greater impact and faster progress. Many different forms of treatment are available to encourage and practice social interaction, speaking and conversation skills, and build vocabulary. Early intervention treatments administered by professional autism therapists are most likely to be successful, but there are many things you can do at home to increase your child's communication skills.

Alternative and Augmentative Communication, or AAC, is designed to help develop communication skills through the use of a supplementary communication system, technology, or language. Most people automatically associate AAC with technology, such as Speech Generating Devices, however AAC does not have to be high tech at all. The use of American Sign Language as a supplementary mode of communication is an example of AAC without technology. 

Traditional Speech Generating Devices, (SGDs) generate a voice output when the user pushes a button with picture or text describing what they want or need. Some popular models include Go Talk, Partner Four, Quick Talker, Tech Talk, DynaVox, Maestro, Accent, and Vantage Lite. Such devices come at a heavy cost, some over $400, and are limited to a preset number of voice messages by the number of physical buttons on the device. The more messages you can send, the bigger the device is. For example, the Go Talk Express 32, the company's flagship model, weighs in at over 2.2 lbs, and measures almost 15 inches wide by 10 inches tall. Admittedly, it boasts an impressive 160 message capacity, using multiple recording levels, but at a hefty retail cost of $599.

Cheaper models, like the Go Talk Pocket, feature much fewer sendable messages, but offer a smaller, more portable form factor. The Go Talk Pocket comes in at over $150, and features only four buttons. With most SGDs, you must sacrifice either size or number of messages.

Smartstones Touch is a portable, natural feeling object that you and your child can carry with you in your pocket, as a necklace, or as a bracelet. It is the size of a small river stone, and you control it naturally, by simply touching, swiping, and otherwise gesturing on the stone's surface. Instead of a physical board with a limited number of buttons, Smartstones Touch uses gestures and touch control, meaning the messages you send are limited only by your imagination. Best of all, you can equip your entire family with Smartstones for less than the cost of a new iPhone.

For any child with communication problems, Smartstones Touch offers a discreet, portable way to stay in touch. As parent, you can use our free app to send your child messages, locate them on a map, and send them reminders of what's coming up. Your child will be able to respond to you no matter where you are. Extend the connection you have with your child over a distance, by sending simple messages composed of light, vibration and sound. Comfort them, or reinforce good behavior with a message of praise. 

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Lucas Cohen

Smartstones, Inc., State St, Santa Barbara, CA, United States