Total Talk is a comprehensive AAC app developed by Panther Technology. This app combines core vocabulary, quick communication and other various features that make it an integrative AAC tool for individuals with complex communication needs. Total Talk has a user friendly editing mode with features such as tele-prompt, tele-talk, total flex edit, total cursor, word to phrase, simple send and ez phrase. With Total Talk, you can tell stories, share photo albums, tell jokes and access quick communication such as ez phrases. Do you want to have multiple conversations at once? Use side talk! To learn more about Total Talk, access their website here.
When I first began working in the field of augmentative and alternative communication, I remember programming meaningful phrases such as “I love you” and “i need a hug” for children with complex communication needs. I never forgot how parents reacted when they heard these words aloud from their children via their communication devices in a meaningful way.
For some children, requesting affection and seeking comfort develops naturally but for other children, they can benefit from direct modeling from others via this suggested activity below. This activity can also help with expressing feelings such as being “uncomfortable”, “feeling okay”, “feeling better” and expressing pain (e.g. “Ow”). Practice with your Bluebee Pal! With Bluebee Pal Pro being soft and cuddly, it is ideal for requesting comfort and seeking affection and assistance when hurt or not feeling well.
- Once in the Total Talk app, navigate to the icon on the side bar with the text “Total Talk”. Once in Total Talk, activate the button EZ phrases. Navigate into the category of “affection”
- With your Bluebee connected, ask your child to activate a desired message on the page such as “I want a hug”. Once the child activates this message, you can give Bluebee Pal a hug. Try other messages such as “I need a band-aid”. Once activated, put a band-aid on Bluebee Pal and model verbal phrases such as “You must have gotten a cut. I will give you a band-aid”. This can help a child ask for a band-aid the next time they cut themselves. Follow up this communication exchange by modeling the phrase “I feel better”.
- Take turns with your child and use the comfort page yourself. This can be an excellent opportunity for additional modeling and will also give your child the opportunity to practice asking for comfort. When you activate “I need a hug” prompt your child to give Bluebee Pal a hug. Add other messages that are more individualized for your child such as “Please get me my blankie” or “I need my teddy bear”. This activity is an excellent way to practice turn taking, symbolic play, expressing a need for comfort and learning how to interact in a meaningful conversation with a loved one.