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ipad speech aidThe iPad has earned itself a new useful function with the launch of the free app, Verbally. Placed in the medical category, Verbally is an assisted speech solution that turns the iPad into a communication aid. Verbally is listed as a potential communication aid for people with apraxia, ALS, stroke, traumatic brain injury, Parkinson’s, cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy.

The iPad speech aid software is easy to use and while there are certainly some features that we would love to see added to its small but already strong arsenal of features, it has made an impressive start. Not only can it be used as a speech impediment aid, the app can also prove useful for those who are learning English and can use the app as a pronunciation guide.

On first launching the app, a small guide on how to use it will be displayed. There isn’t much to using the application itself, and there is definitely something to be said for its simplicity and ease of use. There are also several ways in which it can be used.

ipad speech aid

There are two tabs in the app, one for words and one for phrases. On the words tab, you’ll find a grid of over 50 commonly used words which you can tap to add to the sentence or phrase you wish to hear.

ipad speech apps

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On the phrases tab, you’ll find a grid of 16 commonly used phrases which, like the words, you can tap to speak immediately.

ipad speech apps

One main gripe with the app so far is the fact that you cannot add or delete words or phrases from the grid, which would really make the app even more useful when it comes to using it as a speech impediment aid. Each person may have personal phrases or words that they use more commonly than others, and personalising the application will make it even more useful.

After you’ve chosen your words, phrase or typed out the sentence yourself, hit the green speak button to hear the phrase. You have a choice between two different voices which you can change in the app’s settings – Dave or Rosie. Of course the robotic voice does leave something to be desired, but is a limitation to be expected with an app like this.

ipad speech apps

As you’re typing or entering words in the text box, you can clear it by hitting the ‘x’ button and delete one word at a time using the backspace button.

ipad speech program

Other settings you can change are choosing between a horizontal and vertical keyboard, with the latter having two options for right and left handed users. The horizontal keyboard does seem like the more comfortable option to use, particularly if you are accustomed to using the iPad’s native keyboard.

ipad speech program

You can also import your contacts to the app. The benefit of doing this is to improve the app’s prediction settings. As you are typing, four buttons above the keyboard will feature words that the app predicts you may need next in your sentence, a feature which should improve the more you use the app.

ipad speech program

In addition to the regular buttons found on the iPad’s native keyboard, there are three additional buttons. The repeat button allows you to repeat the last phrase or word that was spoken.

When the ‘speak each word’ button is toggled on, any phrases or words that are typed into the app will be automatically spoken without having to hit the ‘Speak’ button first.

The bell button plays a chime sound which can prove useful in getting people’s attention.

ipad speech aid

Verbally is available as a free download from the iTunes app store. Let us know what you think of it in the comments.

  1. Matthew Sullivan
    April 27, 2011 at 8:25 am

    this app is useful to me as i have a speech impairment, but working on improving it. one of the new features that I would like to see in the next version is a few other voice options, and more clear voices as well. also the ability to support the iPhone/ iPod touch and other smart phones. Apart from that I think this is a really handy tool.

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