Tobii Dynavox Sono Flex – Reasoning and Research

Sono Flex is not just another fancy app – It is a tool, a language system for developing communication skills. On this page you will learn about the idea behind Tobii Dynavox Sono Flex, as well as the research that has gone into it.

Tobii Dynavox Sono Flex meets conflicting needs

For many AAC users, particularly emerging communicators with limited cognitive abilities, a variety of specific needs must be accommodated when creating a language system. A language system must be able to provide:

  • Motivational quick wins through successful communication without steep learning curves, right from the start. At the same time, it must provide a long-term scaffolding system to guide growth in language development.
  • Easy personalization according to the unique needs of a single user, but also with enough pre-made material to reduce the need for configuring vocabulary.
  • Simple operation and the ability to add new words without cluttering up the interface or requiring long and winding navigation paths. At the same time it should provide enough contents for a user to explore and grow into.

In short, we expect the ideal language system to be simple, yet still offer a perfect level of sophistication. It must be optimized for the communication needs of today, as well as for future language development.

At Tobii Dynavox we believe that these goals can only be met by a tool that supports a variety of language components, an idea supported by research and experience from the field. These components include:

  • Highly interactive phrases enabling quick interaction, both for concrete situations and generic conversation.
  • Core vocabulary words that allow for individual sentence building, thereby providing the opportunity to use new, and sometimes unexpected, words and phrases.
  • Situation specific words and phrases that are available for frequently recurring situations and sorted by the context where they are used (“schematic” categories).
  • General words that are available independently from specific situations in a taxonomical categorization system (a system that is sorted according to word classes like nouns, verbs, descriptive etc.).
  • Access to alphabet boards even when users are pre-literate.

The combination of these language components will result in a highly individual vocabulary that is likely to evolve over time. This means that at Tobii Dynavox, we need to provide tools (language/content applications/software) that enable users and caregivers to easily mix and match the single components. For example, putting more emphasis on phrases versus single words or word-class categories versus situational categories. The tools need to be organized in such a way that it allows for smooth transitions to new levels and a constant path to learning.

To help caregivers and communication partners individualize content and to continue helping users develop their language and communication skills, the ideal AAC content product needs to come with a broad range of relevant premade content that is easy to edit and customize. With Tobii Dynavox Sono Flex, we have achieved this through:

  • Mixing phrase-based and word-based communication;
  • Combining situations or topics with vocabulary categorized by grammar;
  • Minimizing programming to help caregivers easily generate a user interface that balances the mix of developmental abilities and conversational needs.

Tobii Dynavox Sono Flex provides a structure that is easy to learn, the flexibility to customize vocabulary and a growth path as the user’s communication skills evolve. It is a unique tool for acquiring and developing language and communication skills.