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Tobii Sono FlexAAC app that turns symbols and text into speech

Tobii Sono Flex is an easy to use AAC vocabulary app that turns symbols into speech. It offers language to nonverbal persons who are not yet in full control of literacy. Sono Flex combines the benefits of structure and flexibility, providing a framework for language development, quickly matching individual and situational communication needs.The language app is a great tool for speech and language pathologists (SLP), special ed teachers and family and caregivers.

Tobii Sono Flex is available for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android devices, Amazon Kindle Fire, and also on PCs and speech generating devices running Tobii Communicator..

A vocabulary that grows with the user

Screendump of Tobii Sono Flex on iPhoneTobii Sono Flex is a comprehensive symbol based AAC vocabulary app for the iPhone, iPad, Android devices, Amazon Kindle Fire and Tobii Communicator that turns symbols and text into clear speech.

Sono Flex is designed for users with limited to no literacy skills, such as individuals with Autism and for speech and language pathologissts (SLPs), special ed teachers, families, caregivers and other facilitators. It uniquely combines the benefits of structure and flexibility. It provides a framework for structured language development through carefully selected core vocabulary and the use of the Fitzgerald Key.

It also provides the flexibility to quickly match interaction needs and allows for straightforward access to words and phrases through many pre designed context packages.

Main advantages of the AAC vocabulary app

Tobii Sono Flex uniquely combines the benefits of structure and flexibility, providing a framework for structured language development, as well as the freedom to easily personalize vocabulary for individual and situational communication needs.

  • Structure – Sono Flex comes with a well-selected core vocabulary as a solid foundation to build an individual dictionary. The Fitzgerald Key structure is not only applied to the core words as category structure, but also referenced in the fringe vocabulary parts.
  • Flexibility – Sono Flex holds words and phrases in over 50 pre-made context packages for various situations and themes, and smart linking of those contexts into the core part enables a quick start into meaningful communication, without complex navigation tasks. Sono Flex also comes with templates that make it easy to create your own topic boards, also making it easy for speech and language pathologists (SLPs) and special ed teachers to get started with the vocabulary.
  • Growth path – Sono Flex offers many ways to grow within the application itself, between Tobii content products, as well as to run Sono Flex on various devices and platforms. As communication needs change, it is easy to switch platforms and/or content packages without the user, speech and language pathologists (SLPs) or special ed teachers having to start from scratch.

More than "just another app" for AAC

The combination of structure, flexibility and a clear growth path characterizes the Sono Flex vocabulary. It is not “just another app”, requiring endless work by the speech and language pathologist (SLP), special ed teacher or family member of building an individual vocabulary structure for the user. Rather it is a unique tool that quickly aids AAC users in interactions and fosters long-term language and communication development.

  • Structure is essential for a symbol vocabulary

    Structure is essential when it comes to quickly finding, using, and adding words and phrases. As individual vocabulary develops over time, a structure must be in place that restricts chaotic growth on the one hand, but also avoids too many constraints or even dead ends on the other.

    Sono Flex provides the user and the speech and langauge pathologist the needed structure in the following ways:

    Separation between core and fringe vocabulary

    Tobii Sono Flex incorporates the idea of a separation between core and fringe vocabulary. Core vocabulary means words and phrases that are relevant in all kinds of situations, for example the verb ‘to have’. The number of these core words is rather limited, but their frequency of use is high. Fringe vocabulary, on the other hand, is very topic related, e.g. ‘birthday cake’. The frequency of use is very low, but there are very many of those specific words in a language.

    Sono Flex provides efficient navigation and quick access to both the core and fringe vocabularies: the core vocabulary is stored in logical categories or based on the part of speech (categories verbs, nouns, places etc.). The fringe vocabulary is kept in situation or topic-based categories.

  • Carefully selected common vocabulary for independent communication

    Sono Flex comes with pre-configured with over 800 words and phrases that have been carefully selected based on their frequency of use and relevance. Frequently used words and phrases are readily available, giving the user the possibility to communicate in all situations. This enables swifter, richer and more interactive communication, more on the initiative of the user and with less support from the SLP, special ed teacher or other communication partner..

  • Over 50 pre-made communication situations and contexts for motivational quick wins

    Sono Flex comes with some 50 pre-installed contextual communication categories with groupings of words and phrases relating to specific situations. Some of the situations are “morning circle”, “getting dressed”, “personal” and “playground”. The contexts themselves have a set of words and phrases that are appropriate or most likely to be used in specific situations; i.e. the context birthday party is set-up with words like cake, presents, balloons, candle, friends, family etc.

    The pre-installed situations make it easier for the user to jumpstart into meaningful communication, providing some motivational quick wins. The situations also empower to user to initiate a conversation.

  • Placeholders for relevant contexts provide quick access to relevant words and phrases

    By assigning the most relevant contexts to the user’s start page, for any given situation, the users will have quick access to the most relevant words and will become more likely to engage in communication. The Sono Flex app is highly adaptive and avoids lengthy navigation.

  • Support for the Fitzgerald Key

    As the operator becomes more skilled and moves into more abstract communication and categorization the communication partner needs to be able to add words in a structured way to the main vocabulary, so they can be easily found and (re)used.


    Once the user is accustomed with the Fitzgerald Key she can find the right words and symbols more easily through the use of motor memory and color-coding. To foster the learning of the Fitzgerald Key categorization, words in the situation categories come prepared with an unobtrusive color-coding.

    The use of the Fitzgerald Key organization has been proven successful in countless AAC interventions.

  • Saves communication partner time

    The carefully selected words and the pre-configured contexts not only empower the user to initiate communication on his or her terms, but it also reduces the time that caregivers or communication partners need to invest in setting up a customized vocabulary.

  • Flexibility to personalize the vocabulary

    The quality of a vocabulary can be measured by the extent of possible customizations to match individual, developmental and situational requirements. The easier the Speech and Language Pathologist (SLP) or special ed teacher can tweak the vocabulary to the personal circumstances of the user, the fewer learning demands there will be.

    Communication needs, skills and interests are extremely personal, and hardly any two AAC users have identical vocabulary setups. This individualization needs to be very easy and quick to apply, as time of for assistants, speech and language therapists and special ed teachers is a very limited resource.

    Tobii Sono Flex offers a high level of flexibility to ensure the best match with the communication needs of each individual, in all situations, with a flat learning curve, by using the following principles:

  • Comes with 50 pre-programmed contexts

    Tobii Sono Flex comes with some 50 different pre-programmed topic vocabulary sets, holding words and phrases for certain situations and topics.

    The Flex Contexts include situations that are typical for children before school age and match the ones that users of Tobii Sono Primo have already been familiarized with. Typical teenager activities and interests are covered as well as more academic topics for older users. Themes for telling jokes, interacting in social games, indoor as well as outdoor activities, seasonal and personal themes are also included.

  • Hide irrelevant topics

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    Not all Flex Contexts are relevant to every user. To allow for a quick overview and easy navigation, irrelevant contexts can easily be hidden, without totally deleting them from the system – they might come in handy at a later point in time.

    Hiding irrelevant Flex Contexts is simple, and can always be undone later on.

  • Placeholders for the relevant contexts

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    Besides an overview page of all relevant contexts, Tobii Sono Flex offers a more granular pre-selection of topic vocabularies.

    Through placeholders, called Flex Links, the core and fringe vocabulary parts are coupled in the most flexible and quickest way. Simply prepare upcoming situations by populating the Flex Links with contexts that will be needed during the day.

    Flex Links are easily accessible and can even be changed by the user by the AAC user - empowering the AAC user has always been one of Tobii’s top goals.

  • Create your own topic boards

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    Each part of Sono Flex is easily editable. Changing words or phrases, or replacing a picture with one of the more than 11,000 included SymbolStix® symbols or with a custom photographs is a breeze.

    Caregivers can also quickly design new contexts quickly, using the templates that come with the vocabulary app.

  • Individual communication categories and personal preferences

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    Contexts can be set up to reflect the user’s personality, interests and moods. Most of all they can match the understanding and personal experience of the user, to avoid a steep learning curve. For example, a category or organization could be: “Things that fly”, “Phrases I use with my close friends”, "Words I learned from Mrs. Doe”, or “My math class words”. These individual categories can be implemented without compromising the main vocabulary structure.

  • Growth path for symbols and text to speech solutions

    Tobii Sono Flex differs from many other iPhone, iPad and Android apps in that it is not a single, isolated app. Rather, it is part of a comprehensive range of AAC applications, available on different devices and platforms – from handheld devices to dedicated speech devices and standard PCs. It helps users develop their communication and interaction skills, by providing the possibility to grow within, between and beyond Sono Flex.

  • Grow within Sono Flex - Support for Scaffolding

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    Tobii Sono Flex offers a growth path within itself. By allowing for custom contexts such as “things that are blue”, as well as easily adding new words and phrases, the vocabulary grows with the user.

    The way that content is organized and presented also offers a growth path. Begin by presenting custom topic vocabularies only and then introduce Fitzgerald Key categories and core vocabulary items as the user progresses. This scaffolding approach helps the user become acquainted and comfortable before moving on to more advanced communication.

  • Migrate to other content products

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    Tobii has an entire range of content products that are suitable for users with different levels of physical, cognitive and literate abilities.

    For some users, Sono Flex is the natural next step after Sono Primo, a product aimed towards situational communication with pre-recorded speech. Sono Flex offers more functionality, as it has common categories, more contexts, includes many more words and phrases, supports the Fitzgerald key and more. For some, Sono Flex will be their first product.

    Once the user develops more abstraction skills they can move onto other Tobii content products such as Tobii Sono Lexis, which provides even more words within more sophisticated categorization structures. Another possibility is LiterAACy, which uses and fosters preliterate competencies such as navigation through the dictionary.

    The color codes and the vocabulary base of Sono Flex are identical to those in the other content products. This, as well as a shared look and feel, creates a familiar environment and breaks down the barriers to entry when switching solutions.

  • Move on to other assistive technology devices

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    Sono Flex is available for the iPhone, iPad, Android and Tobii Communicator. This means that users can switch to other devices and still use Sono Flex without having to start from scratch.

    Sono Flex can be used as a stand-alone solution as well as a complement to a dedicated communication device or for special occasions such as when travelling.

    For some, Sono Flex on the ANdroid or iPhone is the first contact with alternative and augmentative communication (AAC). It can then serve as a tool to see if, and how, AAC works with a particular user before applying for funding of a dedicated speech device.

Read what others say about Sono Flex

Awesome, awesome, awesome! I wonder why it hasn’t been developed before. It is great to have the situational modules at hand so easily. This is just perfect for us to prepare sessions with clients with a minimum of time consumption. It is really nice that you have chosen very interactive and playful contexts that are age independent.

Alycia Berg, MS, CCC-SLP, Boston Children’s Hospital

I have to say, I really like Sono Flex. I believe that the control that a user has over it is going to be very helpful and prove to be successful over other currently available products where one can just flip through screens without having access to a full communication system that supports interaction.

I really love the Context-based pages. It is great that you include phrases in these as well for quick interactions that are specific to the context-based pages. Glad to see About Me as a context page.

The way you can swap out context-based pages is really brilliant and helps to expand the communication opportunities without increasing the navigation demands.

Judy Lariviere, M.Ed., OTR/L, Communication Specialist, Rett Clinic, Oakland Children’s Hospital

Looks good. I like the way the vocab is laid out and you can change one bottom bar - its possibly the fastest way of changing vocab I have seen.

Will Wade, Lead Occupational Therapist at KentCommunication and Assistive Technology Service, Researcher at Oxford Brookes University, Operator of Apps for AAC website

I love the vocabulary and the mix of core words and situations What I like: Layout of pages; no vertical scroll; grammar feature; situations, situations, situations Editing is very different, but once I got used to it I liked it (I like to see the whole page as a list, that is cool)

Kate Ahern, M.S.Ed., AT Specialist and Operator of ‘Teaching Learners with Multiple Special Needs’ Blog

Get it

Buy the full version of Tobii Sono Flex on the App StoreGet the Lite version of Tobii Sono Flex for free on the App Store

Tobii Sono Flex is available for the iPhone and iPad at the App Store, as well as on the powerful Tobii Communicator, for dedicated speech generating devices and personal computers (PCs).

Try Tobii Sono Flex for iPhone and iPad

Sono Flex for iPhone, iPod and iPad is available in two versions from the App Store, one paid version and one a free, Lite, version. The full version costs 99 USD - you only need to buy one license to run it on either the iPhone, iPod or iPad.

The Lite version of Sono Flex for iPhone and iPad has some minor limitations but it offers the same functionality as the full version, so you can evaluate it before you decide to buy.

Click here or on the banner to the right to go directly to the App Store.

Buy the full version of Tobii Sono Flex on the Android StoreGet the Lite version of Tobii Sono Flex for free on the Android Store

Try Tobii Sono Flex for Android

Sono Flex is also available for certain Android Devices.

The Lite version of Sono Flex for Android has some limitations compared to the full version, but it offers the same functionality, so you can evaluate it before you decide to buy.

Buy the full version of Tobii Sono Flex on the Amazon App StoreGet the Lite version of Tobii Sono Flex for free on the AAmazon App Store

Try Tobii Sono Flex for Amazon Kindle Fire

You can run Tobii Sono Flex on your Amazon Kindle Fire device.

There is a free trial of Tobii Sono Flex for your Kindle Fire that lets you evaluate Tobii Sono Flex before you decide to buy the full version.

Try Sono Flex for Communicator

Try Tobii Sono Flex for Tobii Communicator

If you have Tobii Communicator you can try a 30-day free trial of Sono Flex for Communicator for you PC or speech generating device. Just visit our web and fill out the form.

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