Today AssistiveWare, assistive technology pioneer, adds Dutch children’s voices to its symbol-based communication app Proloquo2Go. The voices were developed in collaboration with Acapela Group and supported by Nederlandse Stichting voor het Gehandicapte Kind (NSGK). The Dutch voices, named Thijs and Merel were recorded by and for children. They will benefit children who cannot speak and rely on Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) systems.
“Children using AAC have always been limited by adult voices. It’s so exciting that technology has made it possible for them to speak in such a fantastic sounding child’s voice. This means that they will be able to identify with their AAC more than ever. It will become a part of who they are.” says Professor Dr. Hans van Balkom.
An estimate of over 50,000 dutch speaking children are unable to make themselves understood with their own voice. It is vital for them to have access to a means to communicate. For many of these children, high tech AAC is the best opportunity for them to communicate. This ground-breaking project introduces the first ever Dutch Text to Speech children’s voices.
Last summer, two children (a boy and a girl) spent days in the studio. They made recordings of all kinds of sentences, sounds and expressions. These formed the basis to make genuine, natural-sounding Text to Speech voices that will allow children to say anything they want.
“AssistiveWare has been our partner since the inception of the children voices. Together we have contributed to change the daily lives of children and their families that are using Acapela voices with AssistiveWare’s award-winning solutions. Over 20 voices in different languages are already available, and we look forward to keep continuing offering voices for kids all over the world,” says Nicolas Mazars, Business Unit manager of Acapela Inclusive.
A special release:
From today, the voices will be available to download exclusively in Proloquo2Go. The award-winning iOS app already gives a voice to over 175,000 children, teens and adults around the world.
This release is extra special for AssistiveWare, “As a Dutch company we are truly excited to be able to deliver the first ever Dutch Text to Speech children’s voices together with our partners Acapela Group and NSGK. Combined with Proloquo2Go, Dutch children who are unable to speak will for the first time be able to say whatever they want in a voice that matches their age and gender.” explains founder and CEO of AssistiveWare David Niemeijer.
It is important to all the partners that all Dutch children who need AAC can have access to these voices.
“For NSGK it’s vital for children with disabilities to be included at school, sports clubs, in the playground – everywhere. There are thousands of children who are unable to make themselves heard with their own voice, and some with access to only an adult’s voice on their AAC system. For these children being able to communicate with a child’s voice is so important to be able to express themselves, communicate and be heard. That’s why we are supporting this wonderful initiative” says Henk-Willem Laan, NSGK director.
Later this year, they will be made available for other companies to license, allowing even more children to speak with a voice they can identify with.
Proloquo2Go is an award-winning symbol-based communication app that gives a voice to those who cannot speak. It is used by people with autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy and other diagnoses for everyday communication and language development. The award-winning app has provided a voice to over 175,000 people worldwide who use it in English, Spanish or French. Proloquo2Go is used for iPad, iPhone, iPod touch and Apple Watch.
De Nederlandse Stichting voor het Gehandicapte Kind (NSGK) helps children and young people with disabilities to enjoy equal opportunities to play, learn, live and work. NSGK supports the children’s voices project from it’s Technology program. Together with other partners, they improve the lives of children and young people through technology.
About Acapela Group:
Acapela Group, leading player in voice solutions for more than 30 years, is constantly creating new voices to better interact with users, thanks to voices that adapt to the context. Voices that convey meaning, intent and emotions. Acapela Text-to-speech solutions give the say to tiny toys, robots, autonomous vehicles, smartphones, IoT and much more. Acapela creates personalized voices that read, inform, explain, present, guide, educate, tell stories, help to communicate, alarm, notify, entertain. From standard high-quality voices to domain-based applications and custom voices, Acapela’s skills cover the full chain of voice needs in 34 languages. Our latest innovations in deep learning and AI opens up new exciting possibilities for voice creation.
* English, Dutch, French and Spanish
* iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch
* Requires iOS 10.3 or later
* 848.7 MB
Who is Proloquo2Go for?
Proloquo2Go’s unique features make it the premier Augmentative and Alternative Communication solution for children, teenagers and adults who need symbol support. Proloquo2Go has been used successfully with individuals with the following diagnoses: autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, developmental disabilities, apraxia, stroke, traumatic brain injury and others.
Unique feature combination
Proloquo2Go is the only AAC app that combines unique features, such as research-based vocabulary levels, (activity) templates to support motor-planning, ExpressivePower™ to express yourself and full bilingual support. And all that with minimal customization effort!
Proloquo2Go is designed to ensure growth of communication skills and to promote language development. It covers all users, from beginning to advanced users, while catering for a wide range of fine-motor, visual and cognitive skills.
Support for all users
Personalize the vocabulary
- Choose from three Crescendo™ vocabulary levels and 23 different grid sizes
- Pick from five vocabulary sets targeting different ages and abilities in Gateway to Language & Learning© (in-app purchase)
- Select the English, French and/or Spanish vocabulary in Crescendo, including regional variants
Fast and easy editing
- Create and edit buttons with 25,000 symbols or use your own photos
- Customize the vocabulary to user interest quickly with VocaPriority™
Use pre-designed (activity) templates for quick and consistent creation of new pages
- Transition between vocabulary levels with minimal re-customization
- Use Progressive Language to hide and reveal buttons in a developmental order
- Support learning through motor planning with core words located consistently across folders
- Benefit from fully configurable grammar support for nouns, pronouns, verbs and adjectives
Configure the buttons and Message Window with symbols and text, or text-only
- Use the highly configurable PolyPredix™ word prediction in Typing View
- Use the Grid keyboard, Apple’s built-in keyboard or buy accessible keyboard Keeble
Classroom & therapy
- Customize vocabulary and settings per student with multi-user support
- Start simple and expand vocabulary as needed with minimal effort
- Share vocabularies and folders between users and devices
Tell us, we want to know
Nick is ten years old and was diagnosed with autism. His progress in speech has been extremely slow. Picture symbols, picture exchange communication techniques and photos were tried but did not work out for him, as Nick was not really interested. When Nick started using an iPad, he immediately understood how it worked and really wanted to use it. The device was reinforcing and he sensed it was a powerful tool for him. Now that Nick is using an iPad with Proloquo2Go he no longer has to try to be what other people want him to be, because he can now initiate communication and say what he wants and needs. Nick lives in New Jersey, United States of America.
Let your voice be heard
- Quickly switch between vocabularies, or mix English, French and Spanish mid-sentence
- Benefit from the option to synch buttons between languages to keep vocabularies up-to-date
- Choose a genuine bilingual girl, boy or male adult Text to Speech voice for American English/Spanish
- Use Hold Duration, Select on Release and switch access to compensate for motor challenges
- Benefit from auditory fishing and appearance options for vision impairments
- Access through Apple’s Switch Control, Apple’s VoiceOver or Apple Watch