When the iPad was first introduced the first thing I said to Kyle was "wow, if they could make an augmentative communication application it would be way cheaper than the Dynavox." Dammit if I only knew how to make an app. I contacted Apple. I contacted a few other sites to no avail. I swear within a few days, though, people read my mind and I came across quite a few apps that could make children with autism and other speech and language difficulties be able to "talk" to their family and friends.
Go to the app store on you iPad or iPhone or even iPod and just search autism. Tons of things will come up. Some free some not. But it is really amazing the variety of things out there that can help anyone from stroke victims to autism. Not only that, there are apps for schedule makers, first/then boards, timers, as well as items like Proloquo-to-go which are set up similarly to a picture exchange system.
Traditional systems like the Dynavox are still very good, but they are heavy and cumbersome. I had little ones who were no bigger than my three year old, not really able to use it on a daily basis because it was too damn big and heavy. They may be sturdier but they are anywhere from $7-10 thousand dollars. If the family can advocate and get down insurance throats or get special grants, maybe they might get it covered. But for $499 and up plus the cost of an app, and cover, it all of a sudden makes it that more accessible for the child to have a more accessible world.