The excessive prices on AAC devices call for action. It is time to look at better assessment strategies and alternatives with software and hardware that we have available. With a little skill and ingenuity, there are many alternatives already available. For example, using Microsoft PowerPoint, Opus Presenter, or FrontPage/Dreamweaver you can use hyperlinks to jump from page to page. You can even use the newer versions of Microsoft Word. Here are some directions to get you started for a Mock Up in PowerPoint: (warning: this is not for beginning users of PowerPoint)
1. Sketch out a diagram to keep you on course. An example of a PowerPoint slide might look like this....
Here are some examples:
In the left column is the category menu that will remain on every page. When the person clicks or presses on "food", it will be hyperlinked to a slide with the menu on the left and 5 food choices. Which may look like this:
When the person clicks or presses a food item, it could be linked to the spoken word.
2. Design your first slide as a template. In the example above, the template included the category menu and five blank choices. Use autoshapes to draw the circles and squares. On the toolbar, select Insert, Picture, and click on Autoshapes. To keep the shape in proportion, press the Shift and Ctrl buttons as you drag the cursor to make the shape. Use Autoshapes to also draw the line separating the menu from the choices. To make the line thicker, double click on the line and on the Colors and Lines tab, change the Style.
3. Insert the graphics for the menu categories by selecting Insert, Picture, From File. Find the graphic you want and double click on it. Change the size of the graphic by pressing the Shift and Ctrl buttons and dragging a diagonal corner of the graphic. Make it small enough to fit into the shape. If your graphic doesn't have text, you can insert it by going to Insert, Text Box and typing the word. When you're finished with the template, duplicate it twice so that you have 3 slides. Name each slide for a menu category.
4. THIS IS THE IMPORTANT STEP! On the first slide, draw a large square over the first category graphic (for example, food) by using Autoshapes. Double click on the square to get the dialog box (the square must have handles around it showing it as active). On the Colors and Lines tab, click on the inverted triangle on Fill and select "NO FILL". Then click OK. This makes an invisible button.
5. You also need a hyperlink for each page. With the square still active, right click for the drop down menu, then left click on Action Settings. Under Mouse Click, select Hyperlink To. Click on the inverted triangle and select the slide that corresponds to the category.
6. Copy the square (the invisible button) then paste it on each slide.
7. Repeat the process for the other menu categories.
8. You can remove the lines around the square by making the square active, right click for the drop down menu, left click on Format. Under Color, Line, select "NO LINE".
9. On each slide, fill in the graphic choices by going to Insert, Picture, From File and selecting the graphic you want. If you are unable to move your graphics (if you are using an older version of PowerPoint) you may have to change the layout. To do this, right click on the graphic for the drop down menu and select Format Picture. On the Layout tab, select In Front of Picture. This will allow you to move the graphic.
10. If you save the presentation as a PowerPoint Show, you can play it without opening the PowerPoint Program. Go to File, Save As. In the dialog box, drop down selections under Save As Type. Scroll down and select PowerPoint Show.
If you get frustrated, try one page without hyperlinks. And don't be too hard on yourself. This is not easy and very time consuming.