Q: How do I use Avaz?
A:Here’s a short, visual tutorial that covers all of Avaz’s features. If you’re looking for a printable version, download this instead. Or simply dive in and explore Avaz, an effective ipad aac app for autism!
Q: How do I use Avaz with my kid?
A: Parents and special educators often ask us how they should use Avaz to get the most from it. We created this “Getting Started” manual to guide parents, teachers and educators to use Avaz with their kids. The manual helps them make informed choices and decisions, so that there is a permanent, visible, measurable difference in a child’s communication abilities. We want to emphasize that the impact of Avaz is as much about how the app is used, as it is about the app itself. The fundamentals are important, and we’ve created this manual with advice from speech therapists and experts to give you a flavour of these fundamentals.
It is important to note that the suggestions given in this document should be treated as a general guideline to use an AAC device or app, and will need to be adapted to your child. A trained speech therapist will guide your child in using Avaz effectively, and combining Avaz use with other therapy techniques in different environments. This guide is not a replacement for professional therapy services.
Download the document here: Avaz Getting Started – Therapy manual
Q: How do I get started with the Picture mode?
A: When you start, you will see the root screen in Avaz (which shows the four categories Quick, Getting Started, Basic and Advanced) . This screen isn’t meant to be seen by a child. It’s meant for an adult to browse through and choose ONE of the folders / categories that is most appropriate to the child. You can browse and choose a suitable category as the Home category for the child, by clicking on Settings, and under Picture settings, click on Starting Screen and select the category / folder. To view the root screen again, simply select Root as the Starting Screen.
Q: How do I use 1 iPad with Avaz with multiple children?
A: You can use the Starting Screen setting to do this most efficiently. The root screen (which shows the four categories Quick, Getting Started, Basic and Advanced) can also be customized: you can create your own categories here, and they can all be selected as a Starting Screen. So a simple option for using Avaz with multiple children is to create multiple categories on the root screen, named “John”, “Lily”, “Heather” etc., put in child-specific vocabulary into each category, and select the appropriate one as the Starting Screen when a particular child is using it.
Q: How do I prevent children from changing settings or customizing Avaz without permission?
A: Create a Settings password. You can do this by clicking on Settings, and changing the password. The Settings password also takes effect for the edit button.
Q: How do I reset or change my settings password if I lose it?
A: Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll email you instructions on resetting your password.
Q: How do I remove the message box from the screen?
A: There’s a setting for it: under Picture settings, un-select the Message Box option.
Q: How do I disable speech each time something is pressed, and enable it only when the final message is clicked?
A: There’s a setting for it: under Audio, un-select Speak on Selection.
Q: How do I prevent the app from speaking out non-AAC buttons, like ‘Go back’, ‘Home’, ‘Load’, ‘Save’ etc?
A: There’s a setting for it: under Audio, un-select Speak Action Keys.
Q: How do I train my kids to gradually shift to using the keyboard instead of staying with pictures?
A: As the first step, you could gradually decrease the size of the picture and increase the size of the caption under it, finally displaying pictures only as captions; you can do this by changing the Caption Size under Settings. Then you can switch off pictures in the message box, through the Settings menu. When a child becomes fairly familiar with text, you can start using the Keyboard in a guided fashion. Start with the top row of buttons, called ‘Quick response keys’. Then use prediction to type out specific words keyed with only the first 1 or 2 letters.
Q: How do I save and reuse frequently spoken messages in the text mode?
A: To save a message: type out the message (a phrase, sentence, or paragraph) into the message box. Then click ‘Save’. You can now select one of the letter or number keys to save the message in that key. For example, you can save the message ‘Good morning’ under the letter ‘m’, and ‘Good night’ under the letter ‘n’.
To load a message: click on Load, and select the letter or number key in which you saved the message.
To delete a message that you have saved: Simply clear the sentence box, and save the cleared message into the key you want to erase.
Q: How do I access the pictures or phrases that I used recently?
A: You can access History in the keyboard screen by pressing ‘Load’. The prediction bar now turns into a history bar, showing you the last few sentences spoken out.
We considered providing a History feature for the picture mode as well, but we felt that having multiple ways of creating a message with pictures would complicate generalization skills in children with autism.
Q: How do I use Avaz with a PECS-like system?
A: You can use many of the ideas that PECS espouses in Avaz also. At Phase 1, you would ideally switch off the message box, and change the picture size to 1 per screen. That way, the whole screen is lit up with a single picture. Changing the picture size to 2 or 3 per screen helps navigate through Phase 2 and Phase 3. To ensure that true generalization is taking place, you could quickly switch on edit mode and drag-rearrange the pictures in Phase 2 and Phase 3. The Getting Started vocabulary broadly covers Sentence Structures even without developing a large vocabulary.
While teaching a child to answer questions, a useful feature to enable is the ‘Auto-home’ functionality in the Settings menu. This goes back to the home screen automatically after an answer has been chosen .
The systematic, language-based approach of Avaz helps a child navigate Phases 4, 5 and 6 through an appropriate selection of core words and peripheral phrases.
You can see an overview of the PECS phases here. Please share your experiences with us on using PECS with Avaz!
Q: While customizing Avaz, how do I hide a particular button (category or template) without permanently deleting it?
A: When you click on the pencil icon to switch to Edit mode, two icons, called ‘Enable’ and ‘Disable’, show up in the navigation bar (on the right hand side of the screen). If you click the ‘Disable’ icon and then click a category or a message, the item is disabled. It will not be shown when you leave the Edit mode, until you come back into Edit mode and enable it again.
Q: How do I turn off the zoom-in of the picture when I don’t need it ?
A: You can use Settings to enable this – under Picture Settings, you can use the Enlarge on Select option to turn the feature On or Off.
Q: How do I communicate urgent messages in Picture mode?
A: You can use the Quick icon on the right navigation panel – this takes you to the Quick page which has short messages for quick communication. Of course you can edit these messages and even add messages or categories to this if you wish to.
Q: How do I change the pronunciation of words that are mis-pronounced by Avaz?
A: As of now, this feature is available only for the Picture mode. You can edit the item, using the Edit button, and change the Speak As text, to spell the word phonetically. You can test how the audio sounds by pressing the speak icon next to it.
Q: How can I change the speed of the audio? It is too fast and my kid can’t understand it.
A: Go to Settings and under Audio Settings, change the Speed to ‘slow’.
Q: How do I change the voice or the accent to suit the user?
Currently we offer seven different voices:
- American male (Ryan)
- American female (Laura)
- American child (Kenny and Nelly)
- Indian female (Deepa)
- British female (Lucy)
- British male (Graham)
You can go to Settings, and under Audio settings choose the Voice option to select the voice.
Q: How do I go directly to a top level category without pressing the Back button repeatedly ?
A: You can press the category name in the Breadcrumbs bar, which appears just between the message box and the set of pictures. It display the categories that you have clicked to reach the current picture. You can click on any of the category names to go back to a higher level, including Home. You can also use the Home button to reach the Home page directly.
Q: How do I use a predicted word if it does not appear on the screen when I type?
A: You can scroll the Prediction bar to the left to see more predicted words. There are a total of 20 words predicted. If it still does not appear, then you can spell the word and speak it out by tapping the message box. With increased usage of the word, it will get added to the predicted list of words.
Q: How do I contact the creators of Avaz?
A: Email us at email@example.com
Is there a free version of Avaz?
We’re working on it. Because both our picture library and our voices are covered by license agreements, we need to figure out how to strip them out and yet have a usable app. We’re keen that our free version should be useful as an app in itself, so we’re taking some time to design it carefully.
Is there a way I can evaluate Avaz without buying it?
There are a couple of ways you can do this. First, we have several videos and screenshots on the website, and you can take a look at those to get an in-depth feel of how Avaz works. Second, you could contact us with your location, and we’ll try to put you in touch with someone who does have Avaz, and who may be able to show it to you. If you’re a therapist looking to evaluate Avaz, please contact us : we have links with a number of therapist networks, and we will try our best to find a way for you to evaluate it free of cost.
Q: My kid uses Avaz on a school iPad, but I’d like her to communicate at home as well. Is there something I can do?
A:Our friends at Symbolstix have very generously agreed to taking print-outs of various Avaz screens for personal use. So your best option would be for the child to use Avaz in class, and use a picture book with the same pictures organized in the same way at home. If you’d like your child to experience the same look-and-feel of Avaz with a picture book, we’d suggest printing out the entire screenshot, including the message box and the navigation bar; that way, the book and the app reinforce each other. (You can take a screenshot on your iPad by pressing the home and power buttons together, and download it to your computer through iTunes for a printout.)
If you upgrade Avaz, will I have to pay for it again?
No! We realize Avaz is a significant investment, and we’re committed to lifetime free upgrades for Avaz. We’re also committed to adding new features in response to user feedback really quickly – so please mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want something new in Avaz for Autism!
Is Avaz available in languages other than English?
We’re working on it! Stay tuned for more updates by following our Twitter feed @avazapp.
Q: Can I use Avaz on the iPhone / iPod?
A: No. While we hope and expect that children will use Avaz in their daily communication, our focus when designing Avaz was that a child would also be able to use it for caregiver-assisted language development. We didn’t want to compromise on this aspect of Avaz by scaling it down to a device with a smaller screen. However, we’re still brainstorming this, so stay tuned for updates!
Q: Can I use Avaz with Mayer-Johnson (or any other) symbol set?
A: No, Avaz comes with Symbolstix symbols. However, you can create symbols using Boardmaker, and upload them into your iPad as photos. You can then use these in Avaz too. Please make sure you comply with the licensing policy of the symbol set that you are using.
My kid is already using a different app. Should I switch to Avaz?
When we designed Avaz, we realized that a lot of kids already use iPad-based AAC apps for autism. So we’ve designed Avaz to be an easy replacement for many other popular apps. A speech therapist can help you choose the best app for your kid’s needs, but you’ll find switching to Avaz is a great experience for your kid, and you’ll also love the ease of customization as an adult.
Why does a particular feature of Avaz behave the way it does?
We’re very proud of the fact that Avaz is research-based, and we’d be glad to answer your questions about every feature of Avaz. Please contact us on email (email@example.com) or tweet at @avazapp; we promise to explain our rationale to you and listen to your feedback.
Something isn’t working right! / I want a new feature!
Avaz, the best ipad aac app for autism, is meant to be useful for both children and care-givers, and if there’s anything that prevents that, it’s something that’s highest priority for us to fix. Please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org – we promise to get back to you, and more importantly, to fix whatever you don’t like.
There are hundreds of AAC apps for Autism, in the market, what makes Avaz special?
Avaz is research-based, therapist- and parent-friendly, and focused exclusively at autism. It’s won several awards and recognitions for its innovations and ease of use. If you’d like specific information about how Avaz is better than other apps for autism that you’re comparing against, please let us know – we’ll try our best to give you a detailed and impartial answer.
I can’t find my question here. What do I do?
Please feel free to write to us at email@example.com and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
These are the help screens that you’ll see if you press the help button in different Avaz screens while using the app.
Picture Mode Help Screen
Customize Picture Mode Help Screen
Add new/Change Help Screen
Keyboard Mode Help Screen
Save Message Help Screen
Load Message Help Screen
Improves therapist productivity
Useful for a wide population
Improves intent to communicate
Language development through picture vocabulary
Avaz has 3 graded, research-based vocabulary sets, with over 5,000 core and peripheral words, organized into intuitive categories. The vocabulary is exhaustive and color-coded linguistically, to assist language development.