A machine that talks for a child who has autism is called several different things: Augmentative Communication Device, Voice Output Device, and many are referred to by either the name their manufacturer gave the device or by the name of the company that sells the device. There are simple one button devices where the child pushes one button and the device says whatever is recorded on it. Other devices are full blown computers and can do everything except peel the carrots. It is confusing to track down all the options. Many therapists (like me) try to learn how to use three or four different devices and then we encourage all our clients to buy one that we already know so that we are knowledgeable enough to be helpful. This might not be the best way to choose a device but practically speaking, it is what we have to do. So many new options are coming out all the time that it is literally impossible to keep up with everything unless you specialize in this one area of our field.
I am going to keep adding links on to this page and appreciate anyone who will send me more links to put on to this post.
Cheat Sheet on Devices by Cathy Binger Ph.D.
Cathy Binger's Lovely Communication Boards (collections of pictures to be used on devices or as paper boards)
Boardmaker Discussion Group at Yahoo
(I will add more later but I wanted to set up a place to send my families who are exploring the option of using an AAC device)