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Hurry Up and Make It Personal: Customizing AAC to Optimize Efficiency

Posted Aug 23, 2021 - 11:11am

By Margaret Moore, PRC-Saltillo Blogger

From the time I received my first AAC device at four years old—about 20 years ago now—I have continuously sought ways to optimize my efficiency for using my device for communication and, as I grew older, for working on the Windows side of the device.

Certain functions of the device are immensely instrumental in reducing the time it takes users to compose messages. PRC-Saltillo’s Accent 1000 has abbreviation expansion. When I type in, for example, ‘MAM’ followed by a space, my name appears. This feature is great for multiple-word terms that would be difficult to add to my word prediction and that I use so often that going through my pages to access the keys in which they are saved would be more time-consuming than pulling up my keyboard and typing in two or three letters.

When I use Windows, WordPower’s pages only occupy half of my screen, allowing an app to be visible. In previous articles, I have discussed how I intern in the publishing industry. There are certain terms I must use when flagging errors in book manuscripts. I recently created a computer access page and programmed the terms into it. Given the quantity of terms that would not have abbreviations as easy to remember as the initials of my name or my area of academic study (the letters ‘CW’ expand to ‘Creative Writing’), abbreviation expansion would not be efficient.

The page allows access to the terms with few clicks and no abbreviations to recall.

How do I know when it’s time to put a term into a key or an abbreviation? I’ll start to notice that I use it frequently, and I’ll feel like I’m retyping it repeatedly.

I highly recommend that AAC users assess what words and phrases seem to come up in their messages often and see if they can make use of any programming options to type more efficiently. Let’s make it personal with AAC, building a customized vocabulary in each person’s device so that they can share their thoughts in the fastest way possible.

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