Voice output communication aids

These communication aids (also known as speech output devices, augmentative and alternative communication devices (AAC) or VOCAs - voice output communication aids) use electronically stored speech as a means of communication. Sentences or longer messages can be strung together from individual words or phrases and the vocabulary can contain several thousand words (Ace Centre, 2010), (Abledata, 2008).

The speech output may use digitised (pre-recorded) speech, synthesised (artificial) speech or both. Digitised messages are created by recording spoken words directly into the communication aid. Synthesised speech is artificial, computer-generated speech - the quality of which is far better than it used to be (Ace Centre, 2010).

There are a number of ways to operate these aids. For example, pressing buttons or a touchscreen (direct selection) or using switches that allow access through any controllable movement of your body (scanning selection) (Ace Centre, 2010).