The Senior Support Specialist at AssistiveWare teaches us about the joy of sharing accessible tech via Tokens.
Hard, cumbersome, boxy machines used to weigh down the hands of those in need of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC). While this type of tool works for some, it's not a great fit for everyone.
AAC users form a community of folks from a wide range of disabilities who have a difficult time with spoken language. Not too long ago, their most popular tools were bulky, expensive (Up to $12,000!) communications tech that was built to mount onto wheelchairs. Not every AAC user needs a wheelchair and for them, using such a medical device would be like having to wear scuba flippers on dry land.
It’s 2010, the inauguration of the iPad. Then 10-year-old company AssistiveWare devised a brilliant app that would use mobile devices in place of older, less agile tech: Proloquo2Go. A match made in heaven—iPhones, iPads, and other light, affordable handhelds paired with AssistiveWare apps truly democratize the AAC industry.
In comes Pam Harris. A brief history: Pam’s son Josh had developed without meeting normal speech milestones. He used to lug around one of those heavy medical machines he needed to communicate. At one point, Pam and Josh went to Minneapolis where they met a member of AssistiveWare at a conference. They introduced Pam to Proloquo2Go which later she'd go on to beta test. The app was a great match for Josh. Pam was eventually invited to join AssistiveWare by founder David Niemeijer. She accepted the role of support specialist and was handed the keys to Tokens.
Now you’re all caught up!
David wanted to track who was redeeming promo codes to make sure Proloquo2Go was in action, was helping people, being used.
Pam was a delight to talk to. It’s obvious why she was chosen to relate with users, hear their stories, and get them the help they need. She’s the perfect purveyor-of-promos. We asked how she uses Tokens and to whom she provides codes.
“Oh wow, Tokens is wonderful for building customer relationships. We use it to keep track of who’s using Proloquo2Go: reporters, bloggers, PR people, educators, and conference attendees,” says Pam. “We really love getting the app in the hands of Speech Language Pathologists and special educators who can get familiar with the same tool their students use. We provide a copy along with support and resources.”
To Pam, AssistiveWare is about sidestepping “ableists, expensive specialists, and medical industry gatekeepers”—Tokens provides a similar function. With Tokens, Pam can sidestep convoluted App Store Connect procedures and get a life-changing app in the hands of those who have a human right to communicate.
We always check with Tokens and followup with anyone who has not yet redeemed their code. Maybe they need a little technical support or simply overlooked it. There's a deeper connection, a bond that forms when we are able to help someone out.
Pam has a waitlist for Tokens promo codes because of Apple’s imposed limits on how many can be given out per update. In the past decade, she’s distributed well over 5000.
“Tokens has been pivotal in nurturing relationships that last. It starts a conversation around feedback. It allows our app to land in the hands of those who will spread it to those in need. All in all, Tokens helps us connect with customers on a far deeper level.” Says Pam.
We got the chance to peek at Pam’s Tokens organization via screen-share. She’s kept names and codes organized over years, spread across AssistiveWare’s entire mobile software portfolio. It’s warming to see codes in the right hands being used for the right reasons.
While there's a need for social distancing, AssistiveWare is pioneering accessible online learning by going old-school with printable versions of Proloquo2Go. Users who can’t access their communication iPads or have other digital issues during the pandemic can return to humble means of interaction that are still a lot more convenient than pre-Proloquo2Go options. Will this analog innovation inspire us at Tokens to make coins redeemable for apps? It wouldn't be the first time we've gone tangible.
We offer a free Tokens trial that's not limited by time! Generate, share, and track 10 promo codes for free. No credit card required.