Cognitive Disabilities: Communication Assistive Apps

May 10, 2023

Communication can be a challenge for people with cognitive disabilities. Particularly, for nonspeaking people. Many people believe nonspeaking people have nothing to say. But this is untrue. They just cannot rely on their voice to express themselves.

These days, there are many apps that help people with cognitive disabilities communicate. It’s important to us that the apps on this list are inclusive. That’s why we have included apps that suit a range of different needs, preferences, and budgets.

Sadly, communication apps can be expensive. Many people need them but cannot afford them. It’s worth looking at sponsorship or insurance options. Schools, workplaces, and disability charities may also be able to give you an AAC device. If none of these options work, then watch out for AAC Awareness Month. Apps can be discounted by up to 50%. Sales usually happen in October.

A note before we start. I do not have a cognitive disability and I’m not nonspeaking. Because of this, I cannot say which apps will work best for you. Every person is different and has different needs. This list just gives the pros and cons of each app so you can decide what suits you best.

PS: All Apps for Cognitive Disabilities guides are written in plain English for accessibility.

Emergency Services

Making emergency calls can be a difficult task for nonspeaking people. Accessible alternatives like relay operators and teletypes take too long and are not good enough. Especially, in situations where you do not have much time. This list includes apps for nonspeaking people that will get you emergency help quickly.

TapSOS (iOS and Android)

TapSOS is a British app that lets you contact 999 without speaking. You can easily connect to the police, fire brigade, coast guard, or ambulance services.

You must create a profile to use this app. This gives the emergency services important information like your name, medical history, and emergency contacts. You can then use the app to contact any emergency service. The app lets you describe your emergency from a list of common emergencies. Emergency services will be sent to your GPS location. However, you can easily edit this if it’s wrong. Help is dispatched as soon as you confirm your location.

The app layout is simple and easy to use. Buttons have text and pictures, so you can use the app if you have literacy challenges. Buttons are also large which is good for people who have fine motor skill challenges.

This app only works in the UK and is for 999 calls. Do not use this app if you do not live in the UK.

Deaf 911 (iOS and Android)

Deaf 911 app is a way to contact 911 if you’re nonspeaking. This is for US residents only.

This app lets you make calls to 911 using text to speech. The operator receives information as you type so they can send help faster. Calls made with Deaf 911 take 30 seconds on average. Many other alternatives take a few minutes. This means Deaf 911 is the quickest way to get help from 911 as a nonspeaking person.

You can choose from a list of common emergencies like medical, robbery, or fire – to name a few. You are then connected to an operator. What they say will be shown as text on screen. Your typed responses will be spoken back to them. The app comes with premade responses to save time with typing. Information stored in the app can give the operator information on your medical history and location.

This app relies on typing, so it’s not a good option if you are not literate.

AAC: Limited Options

AAC stands for Augmentative and Alternative Communication. It’s a way to communicate without talking for people who are nonspeaking or have communication differences.

You do not need technology to use AAC. Using gestures, facial expressions, drawing, and pointing to objects are all AAC methods that use little to no technology. AAC apps are a high-tech AAC option.

There are many AAC apps to choose from. It can be difficult to know where to begin. Some AAC apps have a lot of choice which can be confusing. The apps in this section have limited word options. They also have more pictures and less text. This can work well for AAC beginners, people with reading difficulties, or people who want fewer options.

My First AAC (iOS)

My First AAC is an affordable app for people who are new to AAC. The app costs $24.99. This is a one-time payment, so it’s a good option if you do not want to commit to a subscription.

My First AAC lets you communicate through word cards with matching pictures on them. Words are read aloud when you press them so others can hear. The audio can be either a girl’s or a boy’s voice. You can also make your own cards with pictures from your camera roll and your own voice recordings. However, this feature is limited compared to other apps.

The icons are separated into 22 themed categories. You can switch between categories by pressing the arrows at the top of the screen. There’s also a button beside the arrows which lets you view all categories at once. Screens can be locked to stop you from scrolling between categories. This is good if you want to focus on one topic at a time.

The app design is suitable for children and easy to use. It’s good if you find choice overwhelming as there are fewer icons on screen than other apps. You can choose between eight smaller icons or two big icons. This is also useful if you have motor skill challenges.

This app may not work well if you are not a beginner communicator. The app has over 250 words and phrases to use. However, this is not enough for some people. The icons only cover basic needs, and you cannot create full sentences with them. My First AAC also does not have categories that you might need like work, relationships, and daily planning.

Twinkl Symbols (iOS and Android)

Twinkl Symbols is an AAC and lifestyle app. It’s free to use. Many AAC apps are expensive, so this is a great find. It can be used without an internet connection and is available on both iOS and Android.

This app uses word icons with pictures and audio. Selected words appear at the bottom of the screen to create your message. Finished sentences are read aloud by pressing the speaker button. You can choose from a range of different voices, including children’s voices. The app comes with over 1,500 icons, but you can create more using your own photos and voice recordings.

Most icons are kept in themed folders. These can be found easily using the search function. Icons that you use a lot can be added to your favorites for easy access. Twinkl Symbols also comes with a keyboard function. This lets you type messages and converts them into speech.

This app has many useful features for people with cognitive disabilities. This includes tools like now and next boards, timetables, and choice boards. These can help you plan your day. Other features like target and reward boards are great for work or school.

The app design is simple and has a good color balance. This is good if you get sensory overload. You can switch all your symbols to black and white if no color is better for you. The icon illustrations are clear and inclusive. You can give them different skin tones to match how you look. Twinkl gives you access to over 200,000 illustrations, so it’s easy to find something you like. Though, this amount of choice may be overwhelming for some.

Leeloo (iOS and Android)

Leeloo is an AAC app that can be used for free or with paid a subscription. It’s available on both iOS and Android.

Leeloo has over 1,000 cards separated by category. Cards and categories have illustrations to let us know what they mean. Clicking on a card will read it out and bring up a list of related phrases. For example, clicking on “hello” brings up phrases like “greetings” and “nice to meet you”. Phrases cannot be added or edited. The related phrases have emojis beside them instead of illustrations. Pressing on a phrase will read it out. You can choose from ten different voices for cards and phrases. However, these do not sound natural which you may not like.

Leeloo is not good if you are unable to read. This is because the emojis beside phrases can be unclear. Phrases in one list often share the same emoji which makes them difficult to tell apart. You must be able to read the text to know what the phrase means. An AAC app with clear illustrations is better if you have literacy challenges.

Some users have complained about the phrases that come with the app. Some useful phrases are missing yet there are phrases you’re unlikely to use. This limits what you can say because you cannot add your own cards. Leeloo is best for people who do not need lots of cards to communicate their needs.

The app’s design is great. Leeloo uses autism-friendly colors to prevent overstimulation. They also do not show many screen. It’s a good choice if you find other AAC apps overwhelming and difficult to look at. Leeloo has the nicest illustrations on this list. However, sometimes their meaning is unclear without text. Again, Leeloo is not a good option if you are not literate. Sadly, Leeloo illustrations are not very diverse. You cannot change the icon’s skin tone which is a letdown.

The free version is limited. To unlock the full library, you need to pay for a premium subscription. The regular monthly subscription costs $6.99 a month. But the price depends on which subscription you choose. Leeloo’s subscription is less expensive than other AAC apps. However, it’s also a less powerful app.

Card Talk (iOS and Android)

Card Talk is a free AAC app suited for beginner communicators. The app supports multiple languages and has no ads. Unlocking premium costs $2.99 which is very cheap compared to other AAC apps.

Card Talk has 200 cards with audio you can build sentences with. Cards are read out when you press them, and again when you have completed your sentence. You’re only allowed three cards per sentence. This is too limited for some people. So, it’s not good for people who want to make longer sentences.

You can create custom cards with your own pictures and voice recordings. Though, this is limited compared to other apps. Cards are split into topic categories on a bar at the bottom of the screen. You need to scroll to move between categories. Therefore, this app might not work well if you have dexterity issues.

The app’s layout is simple and easy to use. Color is used carefully and there’s a limited number of cards on screen. It’s unlikely to be visually overwhelming. The illustrations on Card Talk are not great. Their meaning is sometimes unclear without the text. We recommend adding your own photos to cards if you have literacy challenges.

One downside of the app is that it’s better on a tablet than a phone. Buttons are sometimes too small for easy phone use. However, this is the case for most AAC apps.

AAC: More Options

ACC apps with more word options allow you to create longer sentences with different grammar structures. This can be a good option for intermediate to advanced AAC users and communicators. Most of these apps can be edited to suit your exact needs. They are very powerful communication tools.

However, many apps like this are expensive and only work on Apple devices. We have made sure that this list has options that are free and available on Android.

Proloquo2Go (iOS)

Proloquo2Go is one of the most popular AAC apps. It’s also one of the most expensive options, costing $249.99. Supported languages include English, Spanish, French, and German. This app is iOS only and works best on iPad.

Proloquo2Go has over 10,000 icons with audio that you can make sentences with. These are organized using the Fitzgerald key. This means icons are color-coded to match their word type. For example, nouns are yellow and verbs are pink. Chosen icons are read aloud and shown on a sentence bar at the top of the screen. The sentence bar shows both words and icons, which makes this app a good choice if you are unable to read or have memory problems. Completed sentences can be read out in full by pressing the play button.

Sometimes it’s difficult to express yourself with icons alone. That’s why Proloquo2Go comes with a keyboard feature. It uses word prediction as you type for quick communication. Typed sentences can also be read aloud using the play button. You can choose from over 100 realistic voices, including both child and adult voices.

Proloquo2Go’s large selection means that you can make full sentences with the correct grammar. You can even conjugate words by holding the icon down. This means that you can change the word to match the situation. For example, if the word should be plural or you’re talking about the past or the future. This is great for advanced communicators as many apps do not let you do this.

Proloquo2Go comes with a feature called progressive overload. This lets you hide icons and uncover them later as your language skills progress. For example, you start with five icons. Then, you uncover some so you have ten icons on screen. This continues until you have uncovered all the icons for your grid size. This is a great way to take AAC at your own pace.

Everything on this app can be edited to suit your needs and preferences. Icons can be added, deleted, and edited. You can change things like the icon’s illustrations, its background color, and even add photos from your camera roll. You have access to over 25,000 illustrations. Proloquo2Go’s illustrations are not as nice as some other apps. However, they are very easy to understand which is great if you have literacy challenges. You can also set a standard skin tone for your icons so they look like you. There are five different skin tones to choose from. Some AAC apps do not offer this, so this is a good feature.

This app will not work well for everyone. Editing on this app can be confusing. The amount you can change is overwhelming. Particularly, if you have problems with making decisions. Buttons in edit mode are also small which is bad for people with dexterity problems. This app is not good if you get visually overwhelmed, either. The smallest grid size shows nine icons which can be a lot for some people. Proloquo2Go also uses lots of colors which may cause overstimulation.

Proloquo2Go is the most expensive AAC app on this list. That’s why we would not recommend it if you have never used AAC before. A free or low-cost app lets you figure out if you like AAC first. You can then move on to more powerful options like this one.

Fluent AAC (iOS)

Fluent AAC is an AAC app for Apple devices. You can buy this with a subscription or with a lifetime purchase. In 2023, a monthly subscription will cost you $9.99. The lifetime pack ranges from $179.99 to $299.99.

Fluent AAC uses icons with matching audio. Words you press appear at the top of the screen to form a sentence. The app uses word prediction which changes and conjugates icons to match your sentence’s grammar. Icons are read out when they’re pressed, and again when you have finished your sentence. There are five voices available with adjustable speeds.

Keywords always stay in the same place to boost language muscle memory. The app comes with over 5,000 fringe word vocab icons. A search feature lets you find any of these fast. Like Proloquo2Go, you can hide cards that are not useful to you. Cards can be revealed again as your language progresses. Fluent AAC supports many communication levels.

Fluent AAC can be edited to suit your needs. You can add icons, change illustrations, and edit icon border colors – just to name a few. There are over 25,000 illustrations available, which you can make male or female. The illustrations on this app are nicer than others and easy to understand. However, they are not good for people with vision impairment as their thin lines could be difficult to see. The illustrations are not inclusive, and you cannot change their skin tone. This is a letdown. However, you can add photos from your camera roll if you want icons that look like you.

The layout is very simple. The app uses icons with white backgrounds and colored borders. There’s an option for icons to have colored backgrounds as well. It’s organized without being overwhelming. Everything is easy to find and use, including the edit mode screen. Edit mode is often confusing on other apps, so this is a plus.

Fluent AAC is an expensive option. However, it’s a very powerful app. The app offers a free trial for seven days. Many AAC apps with similar price tags do not offer this. This is useful as it lets you see if you like the app before spending so much money. Fluent AAC also comes with lessons, tutorials, and frequently asked question pages for anyone who is new to AAC.

The customer service for this app could be better. Some reviewers have complained about having to wait weeks for a response. This is something to think about since this app is a lot of money. Good customer support is important. Especially, if you’re a beginner AAC user.

TouchChat (iOS)

TouchChat is an AAC app that supports English, Spanish, and French. It’s only available on iOS. Currently, it costs $149.99 plus tax.

This app uses word icons with audio to create sentences. Selected words appear on a bar at the top of the screen. Pressing anywhere on the bar will read your sentence out in full. The sentence bar shows text only, not text with illustrations. This may be confusing if you are not literate. Pictures can be removed so only text remains if you are literate.

Some AAC users have limited use of their hands. New Apple devices come with head tracking options. This lets you use head movements and facial expressions to move about the screen and select buttons. The app also comes with features like switch scanning and a range of touch access features. Other accessibility features include button timers. This means you must press a button for a set amount of time to use it. This is useful if dexterity issues make you press buttons on accident. TouchChat is a good option for people with a range of accessibility needs.

TouchChat helps you build sentences with word prediction. When you press an icon, the rest of the icons will change to fit your sentence. This lets you build longer sentences with different grammar structures, which is useful for advanced communicators. Sentences can also be created by using the predictive keyboard. Both let you communicate faster.

It’s easy to add new buttons, edit existing ones, and delete unwanted ones. TouchChat comes with over 40,000 symbols to add to icons. You can use photos from your library too. Individual button size can be changed as well as overall grid size. This is useful for people with dexterity problems, yet many apps do not offer this. Buttons can be programmed to play audio from your music library or launch videos from YouTube. I have not seen this on other apps.

The app design is quite busy. Icons use color coordination for different word types. The whole icon is brightly colored which can be visually overwhelming. Colors are grouped in a way that looks random which might make this worse. There are also motion animations that may cause overstimulation. One of these animations happens when you swipe between pages. It can be turned off but may be difficult if you do not already know how to. This app is not good if you need a plain layout.

The illustration quality is not great compared to other AAC apps. Sometimes their meaning is not clear. This is a big problem for people who cannot read and rely on pictures to communicate. However, they’re good for people with vision impairment. They are simple and use thick lines which makes them easier to see.

The app has some downsides. First, editing can be annoying. Each icon must be edited individually. Other apps let you edit multiple buttons at once. Further, the icons do not come in categories. You need to do this yourself. Both are very time-consuming. Second, this app is expensive but cannot be customized as much as Proloquo2Go. It’s worth thinking about what you need from an AAC app before buying.

TD Snap - Core First (iOS)

TD Snap is a paid iOS app that supports many languages. The basic version costs $49.99 and the full version costs another $149.99. There is also a free version called TD Snap Lite. The basic version is the cheapest paid app in this section. TD Snap can be used with touch, mouse dwell, head tracking, and eye tracking.

TD Snap uses word cards with pictures and audio. Selected words appear at the top of your screen to make a sentence. The sentence box shows text only, no pictures. This may cause problems if you are illiterate or have memory issues. Cards are automatically changed to match your sentence using word prediction. Finished sentences are read in full by pressing the speak button. There are several voice options with adjustable speed sliders.

QuickFires is a tab with loads of premade phrases. These are read out when you press them. For example, the airport category has phrases like “Can I have the window seat?” and “Where is my gate?” There are plenty of categories and phrases aimed at a range of people and situations. This inclusion is great as many apps only add premade phrases aimed at younger people.

You can also create messages using the predictive keyboard. This is useful if you cannot find the right icons to express yourself. Finished messages can be read aloud using the speak button. Sometimes you do not want others to hear your conversations. Tilting the device shows your message in large font across the screen without reading it out. You can also do this for sentences built with icons or QuickFires. This is useful in loud places too.

The layout is simple with good organization. All buttons are labeled clearly, making it easy to find what you need. Toolbar buttons can be hidden if you prefer. Icons use colored backgrounds to match their word type. Other apps also do this, but it can be confusing. This does not happen on TD Snap. Colors are grouped in a way that makes sense and is not difficult to look at. It might be a good option if you usually get visually overwhelmed by other apps.

This app has great grid size options. You can have as few as one or two icons on screen. Many apps offer a minimum of nine icons which is simply too many for some people. This could be a good option if you like fewer options. As well, there are grid size options for people who like many icons on screen. TD Snap works for all kinds of communicators.

The standard illustrations are not always clear. They can be confusing without text. This was mainly just on words that are difficult to draw like ‘do’ or ‘can’. There are a lot of different illustration options, so changing to something clearer may be best if you have reading difficulties. The illustrations are very inclusive which is great. They can all have one skin tone to match you or a mix.

Cboard AAC (Android)

Cboard is an AAC app for Android and Microsoft Windows devices. Most AAC apps are iOS only, so this is a great find. It’s free to use and supports 40+ languages.

Cboard is another symbol app with audio. Chosen words appear in the sentence box along with their illustrations. Using both is great for people with literacy challenges or memory problems. Instead, sentences can be typed using the keyboard feature. Words are read using the synthesized voice that comes with your device. You can add personal voice recordings if you want a more natural sound.

The layout of this app is simple and easy to understand. The design is suitable for a range of ages and does not use overwhelming colors. Cboard illustrations could be better. Most of them are okay, but some may be confusing if you cannot read. Some of them also use very bright colors which may cause overstimulation. The Mulberry Symbol set gives you access to over 3,400 symbols so this can be changed. Standard icon skin tones also are not inclusive. You are unable to change skin tones like you can with other apps. This is understandable as this is a free app. However, it’s still a letdown. Using photos from your camera roll is one way to get around this.

There are two things I do not like about this app. First, you are not able to add multiple users to the app. That means you are only allowed one screen setup. However, one layout will not work for everyone using the device which can cause communication problems. The second thing I do not like is that you cannot save regular phrases. You must re-type every time. This is both annoying and an accessibility issue.

Speech Assistant AAC (iOS and Android)

Speech Assistant AAC is a low-cost AAC app for iOS and Android devices. The full version costs $19.99. The app does not require an internet connection and is compatible with Bluetooth keyboards.

Speech Assistant AAC is aimed at literate AAC users. It uses buttons with text instead of icons with pictures. Therefore, it’s not a good option if you cannot read. The app works the same as other AAC apps. Pressing a button will read it aloud and put it in the sentence box at the top of the screen. Sentences can also be typed using the keyboard feature. Completed sentences can be read out by pressing the speaker button. Voices for this app come from your device, so they may not sound natural. Some reviewers have complained about this.

This app comes with other useful features like tabs for multiple conversations, auto complete, and phrase history. You can also communicate messages without audio. Messages can be shown in large letters across your screen. The text rotates with your phone to let others see your message. This is great if you’re somewhere loud or want privacy.

One downside to the app is that it cannot be used to make or take phone calls on Android. The developer has stated that this is an Android compatibility issue that they cannot fix. This is not a problem on iOS. If you’re an Android user, then you should use a different app for making phone calls as this one will not help.

Text to Speech

Text to speech apps let you type what you want to say, and they will read it aloud. Many of them come with predictive text for quicker communication. It can be a great, flexible communication method for literate nonspeaking people.

Proloquo4text (iOS)

Proloquo4Text is a text to speech app that uses word prediction as you type for fast communication. The app works in 18 languages, and you can choose from 130 different voices. This app does not use any symbols, so it’s not a good option for those that cannot spell. This app also may not work if you have serious motor skill challenges as it relies on typing skills.

Proloquo4text has a pad in the middle of your screen to type messages. On the right side is a tab with a list of common phrases. These are separated into topic categories. You can add or remove what you want from this. On the left side is a tab with Quick Talk phrases. These are premade phrases that you are likely to need. This includes things like “please”, “thank you”, and “please be patient while I type”. Being able to access everything from one screen helps with smooth communication. The app has been designed for bilingual use, so it’s easy to switch between languages.

The app generates word predictions as you type on a bar above your keyboard. These predictions are made using PolyPredix technology, which reduces typing efforts by 50%. Typed messages are read aloud by pressing the play button. There’s also a setting that reads your sentence out whenever you use sentence-ending punctuation. This is punctuation like full stops or question marks.

The app design is simple with limited color. This color scheme is good for people who find color overwhelming. However, this design is not good if you need visuals. There are no pictures and the app looks very practical. You can change the colors of the text pad and text, however, this may make them less clear. The amount of text on screen also may be overwhelming for some people. Especially, with both tabs up. The tabs can be disabled but it does make the app less convenient.

There are a few things to think about before buying this app. One, it’s expensive. This app costs $119.99. Though, it’s much cheaper than many symbol-based AAC apps which are double the price. Two, this app works best on iPad. Phone screens are not big enough to display the phrase tabs when upright. Without the tabs, the app might be less useful. Also, the small phone buttons may not work if you have dexterity issues. Last, you can edit a lot of things on this app. However, it can be confusing if you do not know what you’re doing. Editing something wrong may cause more problems when using this app.

Predictable (iOS)

Predictable is a text to speech AAC app. It costs $249.99 in the App Store and gets a 4.4-star rating. The app supports 26 languages and has some great accessibility options. You can use Predictable for phone and video calls too. This app is made for literate AAC users as it relies on spelling.

The app uses smart word prediction as you type for quick communication. Words and phrases used often will be recommended more. You can also use the phrase bank to save phrases you use a lot. This means you do not need to keep typing things out. There’s a history bar on the top left of your screen. This lets you scroll through recent messages and repeat phrases without typing again.

There are 10 different keyboards to choose from, including an emoji keyboard. The emoji keyboard lets you select different emotions which will play matching sounds. Predictable also comes with other writing options. A button with three lines on the keyboard takes you to a premade phrases page. You can customize these to include your favorite words and phrases.

You can use head tracking to create messages if you are unable to type. The app lets you set how long you want to stay on a letter to select it. This stops you from pressing the wrong letters when moving across the keyboard. There’s also an option to use Face Switch. This lets you select a button by making facial expressions. This includes blinking, frowning, and smiling.

At the bottom of the keyboard, there’s a phone icon. This plays a message asking others to be patient whilst you’re creating your message. This is a useful button for communicating with people who are not used to AAC.

The app is easy to customize. You can change things such as theme, font, and the illustration’s skin tone. These are great, inclusive features that some other AAC apps do not have. Predictable also has multiple voice options with speed and pitch sliders.

This app is great on Apple, but you should avoid Predictable if you’re an Android user. Many reviewers report that the app crashes a lot and that there are frequent bugs. The Android version is also more expensive than the Apple one. Most reviewers dislike the Android version and say it does not match the price tag.

Talk for Me! Text to Speech (iOS)

Talk for Me! is a text to speech app that costs $1.99 in the App Store. It’s ad free and does not require an internet connection to work.

The app is very simple. Just type your message and then press the Say It button which will read it out loud. You can also use the return key to read your sentence. The app can recognize punctuation and will mirror this when speaking. This app can be used for phone calls and video calls as well. Common phrases can be shown on the home screen using the 34 customizable phrase buttons.

The app design is simple with large buttons. This design works well for people with fine motor skill challenges. The text to background color contrast is not great. Plus, the text box is quite small. Therefore, it may not be good for people with vision impairment.

Text to Speech! (iOS)

Text to Speech! is a free text to speech app for Apple devices. It does not require an internet connection.

This app is easy to use. Type your message and press the play button above the keyboard. This reads your message out loud. Speak as you type is another option that instantly changes your text to speech. The app knows the punctuation you have used and will read your sentence to match it. There are 178 voices to choose from. This includes 63 different accents and languages.

Phrases that you use a lot can be starred. This puts them on the home screen for easy access. Starred phrases can also be organized into folders. This lets you access certain topics quickly without endless scrolling.

The design is simple and does not feel too busy, even with the keyboard. The app uses clear buttons so it’s easy to find everything. However, the text box is small which is bad if you have vision impairment.

Tell Me – Text to Speech (Android)

Tell Me is a free text to speech app for Android.

The app is very simple. Type or paste any message into the text box and press Read. This will read your message aloud. There are different voice options. Plus, you can change speed, pitch, and volume using the sliders under the text box. Sliders may be difficult to use if you have dexterity problems.

The app only has what it needs. Everything is clearly labeled and uses symbols. This makes it accessible and easy to understand. The design is simple and does not use many colors. It could be a good option if you often get visually overwhelmed. However, you can also change the app’s colors if you prefer. The buttons on this are smaller than other apps. Once again, it may not work well if you have dexterity problems.

Write and Show

Some nonspeaking people prefer to write what they want to say and show it instead. These apps do not come with a speech function. They just display written messages on screen.

Emergency Chat (iOS and Android)

Emergency Chat is a communication app aimed at people who are having an autistic meltdown but still need to communicate.

The app shows a message that lets the other person know you’re experiencing a meltdown, but you can still type to communicate. This message can be edited to match different situations and needs. You can then type anything you want to say into the app which shows as a text bubble. The other person can type back a response which will show in a different colored bubble.

The app design is simple to stop you from getting visually overwhelmed. You can easily change the font size. However, you cannot change the font itself. The app would be better if you could choose the Open Dyslexic font. You also cannot change the color scheme. A white background with black font can cause challenges for people with dyslexia, which is a problem.

Make It Big (iOS)

Make It Big is a free app that shows any message you type in big letters on your screen. This app is only available on iOS devices.

It’s easy to access quickly. There’s an option to open the app from your lock screen. The app also has widgets that you can add to your home screen. Both of these options are great for when you’re in public or on the go.

The font size changes as you type so you never have to scroll. The text also rotates with your phone screen so it can always be seen. In emergency situations, you can shake your phone to make the text flash. The color of the text and background will keep swapping to get attention. However, remember that this can cause seizures which kill people. Only use this in an emergency.

Cardzilla (iOS and Android)

Cardzilla is another app that shows typed messages in big letters across the screen. The app is free and is available on both iOS and Android.

All cards are automatically saved, so you do not need to worry about losing conversations. You can also save your most used cards in Favorites for quick access. Text resizes as you type so that you do not need to scroll. Shaking your phone will clear your message. This lets you communicate quickly. You can easily disable this feature if it causes problems.

There are a few color waves you can use. However, these are limited. The options may not suit everyone’s needs. Another problem is that you are not able to change the font. This can cause problems for people who need to use Open Dyslexic font.