Apps, Articulation Therapy, Language Therapy, Random Therapy Ideas, Worth Every Penny

Sundaes Everyday! (Crazy Cat App Review)

I’m always on the lookout for fun, free apps that can be applied for a variety of clients in a variety of settings. The family of _____ Maker (Sundae, Salad, Cake, Donut, etc.) apps by Crazy Cats Inc. fit the bill just right. I have decided to walk you through the basics of one of their apps (Sundae Maker), provide a few pictures of additional Crazy Cat apps that I love to use, and talk about how to use these apps in a number of different ways! All of the apps I’m highlighting in this post are $free.99 (FREE!!!!!), so you can download them without fear!

Sundae Maker begins by allowing the user to choose their sundae bowl or cone. The pictures in all of these apps are the real-deal, so they should really resonate with your clients! There are a good number of images available for each option (bowl choice, ice cream choice(s), topping choice(s), etc.), and you can always unlock more through in-app purchases.

Once your bowl has been chosen, you get to fill it with ice cream. Want 1 scoop? You’ve got it! Want a double-decker-super-size-straight-to-your-hips sundae? Go for it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No sundae is complete without toppings, toppings, and more toppings! Choose anything from candy to nuts to chocolate sauce to whipped cream-the sky’s the limit! Once your sundae is all dolled up, it’s time to “eat” it! You can tap, tap tap the screen to take “bites” out of your sundae until it’s all gone (or half gone, or 1, 2, 3…target # of bites are gone).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, what are some other great Crazy Cat apps to consider?

Salad Maker:

Cake Maker:

Donut Maker:

Not convinced yet? Here are some suggestions about how to incorporate these apps for all kinds of clients and sessions:

  • Childhood Apraxia of Speech clients: sessions often involve LOTS of practice for getting those accurate motor pattens down. Use these apps as an opportunity to practice target words and phrases a handful of times in context before moving on to the next target term/utterance: pour it, pour it, pour it, pour it, mix, mix, mix, mix, mix, roll out, roll out, roll out, more, more, more, more… This works great in the Donut Maker app since you have to add each ingredient, stir lots of times, combine doughs, fry the donuts, frost them, etc.
  • First, next, last practice: “First we tap the bowl button, then we choose the bowl we want, last we tap the bowl picture.” I did this with my client yesterday as we made a salad, but you could just as easily talk about the order of a functional activity (making a cake) with each choice being its own step (rather than doing first, next, last practice at each step). I just wanted to get as many opportunities in as possible.
  • Articulation clients: Choose options that align with your target sounds/words/phrases and practice, practice, practice!
  • Adjective practice: “What kind of ice cream did you choose?” “Let’s add red gummy bears.” “Hmmmm, can you find the purple icing?” “I’m thinking of a green vegetable to add to the salad. Can you find it?”

There you have it! I hope you find these ideas helpful for your next session with these fun apps!

Apps, Language Therapy

What Does Miss Bee See?

Super Duper has so many iPad-friendly fun deck apps to choose from, and What Does Miss Bee See ($1.99 in the Apple App Store) is a great addition to any speech-language pathologist’s technology toolkit. This fun deck includes 56 illustrated picture cards that all pose the question: What does Miss Bee see? Most cards qualify this question by including an additional clause after the question: What does Miss Bee see…hiding in a box? This app is a great way to target all kinds of language skills-from describing to inferencing!

Like all of the Super Duper fun deck apps, you can track correct/incorrect responses for each card and can individualize included cards for each client (or include them all)! Below are a couple creative ideas for using this app in your next therapy session:

 

I know this app is called WHAT Does Miss Bee See, but if you are targeting who-questions, you could easily substitute who in for what and generate lots of “WHO does Miss Bee see” questions: Who does Miss Bee see out the window? A bluebird and a squirrel!

The images are all colorful and detailed, so you can ask questions about details and have your client practice generating descriptors/adjectives while describing what Miss Bee sees. Instead of a horse, some pigs, and chickens, Miss Bee sees a big, grey horse, four hungry chickens, and four pink pigs rolling in the mud.

Although many clients might successfully respond to what- and who-questions when there’s only one plausible response (which is really more of a labeling task), they fall apart when they must respond to these questions if more complex verb clauses are involved. When first introducing the cards in this fun deck, you can start by simply asking the client to label the picture with the question: “What does Miss Bee see?” As they become more and more successful with these responses, increase the level of difficulty by including the additional clause: “What does Miss Bee see that looks clean?” You can even come up with your own qualifying clauses to check that your client is reeeeaaaaalllly listening to the question and not merely naming the most salient item on the card!

 

Some of the cards include a Miss Bee who is clearly excited/scared/worried/etc. Use these to target emotion identification!

 

I hope you can use some of these ideas to make Miss Bee a hit with your clients!

Apps, Random Therapy Ideas, Worth Every Penny

iSequence, You Sequence, We All Sequence

I came across this app in a moment of panic, when I realized that the sequencing cards I’d been banking on using for one of my client’s baseline probes were not, in fact, going to be of any use. I jumped on my iPad and happened across iSequences, a great app ($2.99) from Fundación Planeta Imaginario. For less than a grande skinny vanilla latte, you get 100 sequences depicting common, functional activities! Exciting right? Read on!

There are actually 2 separate activities included in this app: the first involves putting 3 or 4 images in order of what comes first, next, last, while the other asks the client to either choose the correct end to a sequence (between 2 or 3 options) or to describe how the character in the sequence is feeling.

I stuck to the first activity with my little guy. Since the app allows you to customize which sequences you’d like to include in your game, I chose only sequences that were functional and familiar to my client (e.g putting on socks, blowing up a balloon, putting together a puzzle). The app will allow the user to put the images in the incorrect order and still move on (which is great for gathering baseline data), but it will also provide a positive reinforcer (fireworks and accompanying music) when the sequence is ordered correctly. There is a few-second delay before the reinforcer appears, so you can always skip to the next set of images if you want to avoid it!

I would recommend this app for anyone looking for a fun, easy-to-manage sequencing activity for their iPad. I love how functional many of the sequences are for children; this makes the app a great support tool for teaching sequencing skills in the context of functional hands-on activities. Although I’m not always a fan of cartoon images, these are clean & clear and get my stamp of approval. I had great success using iSequences to gather baseline data, and look forward to using more in future sessions!

Apps, Language Therapy, Worth Every Penny

Ficky Ficky Ficky…Adjective REMIX!

I think we can all agree that some app developers out there are one hit wonders. Then there are the rare Usher-like developers…the ones who come out with a hit time and time again! Smarty Ears is one of those fantastic app developers, whose apps are always great additions to any SLP’s iPad. Their recent app, Adjective Remix, is yet another great tool for any great speech-language pathologist or SLP grad student! Adjective Remix ($9.99) allows users to practice awareness of adjectives by identifying the item that best matches the cued adjective during each turn. There are 8 categories of adjectives included for practice in the app: appearance, colors, feelings, quantity, shape, size, time, and touch & taste.

Upon opening the app, you have the option of jumping right into the activity (by clicking on the “quick start” button), or adding & selecting specific students who will be playing. If you select students (up to 4 at a time), the app will keep track of their responses, detailing their accuracy for each category of adjective as well as the overall percentage of correct responses. Any app that tracks the students’ responses and records/saves the data gets a gold star in my book, so it’s nice to know that all your data is being tracked as you play! This information (called the report card) can then be emailed and/or printed at the end of your session.

In case you only want to target particular categories of adjectives, you have the option of deselecting either entire categories or specific terms during a given game. The selected categories/terms can always be updated later! You can also adjust the type of feedback for incorrect responses as well as the order of item presentation.

Aside from the logistical pros of this app, I love that you can target multiple categories of adjectives during a given game. The photos all include real objects, making them highly contextual for clients requiring the real-deal (rather than line drawings or clip art depictions of an object).

Since many of the included objects are also common items, you can easily recreate the comparisons in your clinical sessions to provide additional functional practice with the adjective terms. If you are practicing the term “empty” on the app, you can grab baskets and leave some empty while filling others in order to allow for additional, hands-on practice with the concept. Additionally, you can use this app creatively by turning off the sound and text and asking your client to tell you what’s similar/different about the presented objects. Not only will you probably elicit some adjectives, but you will also be targeting comparisons and similar/different concepts!

Since I try my best to be a critical consumer, here are some things I wish were included in the app:

  • The ability to remove the positive reinforcement visual/sound when the student chooses the correct picture. This app would be a nice way to gather some baseline probe data about adjective comprehension, but the data isn’t valid if the child is receiving performance feedback.
  • The ability to customize the categories targeted for each individual client. Although all the categories are important for practice, not every student will automatically be at the same level as their peers in a group session, and it would be nice to customize the target adjectives for each student rather than for the game as a whole.
All in all, I think Adjective Remix is a wonderful addition to your iPad arsenal of apps! Happy “habilitating!”

 

Apps, Language Therapy, Random Therapy Ideas, Worth Every Penny

Let’s Color Indeed: New Lazoo Let’s Color App!

You know how everyone always asks what kind of animal you would want to be if humans could magically morph into their dream-creatures? Well, If I could be any animal, I’d be a narwhal…unicorn whale!!!!! And since I know you were wondering, if I could be any app developer, I would want to be Lazoo! Lazoo makes the 2 most adorable, fun, all-around-good-time apps, and I am so excited about their new one, Let’s Color!

I reviewed their first app, Squiggles, a while back: https://hbslp.wordpress.com/2012/02/25/squiggles-app/. Like I did with Squiggles, I’ll break down the highlights of Let’s Color.

What is it?

Let’s Color is an interactive coloring “book” for creative kids (and creative SLPs looking to target speech and language skills in a fun way). Choose a page, which is essentially a partially illustrated scene. A little phrase will flash across most of the pages and be read aloud, encouraging the child to add something to the picture: e.g. “What kinds of patterns can you draw on the fish?” or “It’s fun to blow bubbles and to draw bubbles.” While coloring on the page, you can choose your color and the width/texture of your drawing tool (pictured as a marker, paintbrush, chalk stick, or ketchup squirt bottle), and can even add “stickers” to your page!

Once your client (or, ahem…you) is done coloring, press the GO button and watch the page come to life! The app animates whatever was drawn in a short, fun animation that fits with the scene! In the photo below, the balloons are pulling the ants up into the air one by one once they have been colored in 🙂

Why is it great?

Although the app isn’t necessarily designed for speech-language pathologists, it has the key ingredient for any app that will work well in therapy with youngin’s: it’s super engaging for kids! There’s no right or wrong when it comes to coloring each scene. Although the choices for colors/marker widths are limited, this can be a huge benefit for kids who otherwise get caught up in simply deciding which shade of red to start with. How should you get language?

  • Encourage kids to come up with funny ideas of things to add to the picture and then tell you about it (the dragon can breathe ice cream cones and suns instead of fire).
  •   Target colors, shapes, or common objects that appear in each scene.
  • Work on velars: “Let’s GO” “Let’s COLOR

How Much?

Let’s Color is a steal of a deal at $free.99. That’s right ladies and gents: FREE as can be!

I hope you have fun with this new addition to your iPad and find it to be a successful tool in therapy!

Apps, Random Therapy Ideas, Worth Every Penny

Screen Chomp Magic

I’ll be the first to admit it: I live the GLAMOROUS life of a grad student. Early morning panics about exams, long nights writing 10-page final case summaries in the computer lab, overdosing on caffeine… Truly the life of luxury (I know you all remember those days, or are currently living those days). In addition to my regular class & clinic work, I am teaching 2 sections of a 100-level, mile-wide-inch-deep undergrad intro course for our department this quarter.

Throughout these past 10 weeks, I have certainly seen the error of my ways in trying to teach 65 freshman –> seniors challenging concepts like “language disorders,” “audition,” and my personal favorite, “IPA” in 50-minute classes. IPA was actually split into 2 classes (because 100 minutes is totally enough time to explain all there is to know about linguistics and phonemes and diacritics and phonotactics and…yeah, you get it!). So while flopped on my couch last week in a bout of despair, I opened up my iPad and decided to try a brand new app I’d just downloaded: ScreenChomp. I had no idea what the app did, but since I’m always one to give $free.99 apps a chance, I figured it was a good app to test out. It took me all of 8 seconds before I was yelling “HALLELUJAH” for ScreenChomp!

ScreenChomp is a way to make interactive videos that you can then share via email, Facebook, Twitter, etc. When you open the app, you are presented with the screen above. In order to start a new project, you click on the “Draw and Record” button, which will bring you to the screen below:

For any presentation, you can either have a blank “whiteboard” background (like the one shown), or you can click on the button in the bottom left-hand corner to choose a background that you’ve uploaded onto your iPad either as a document or photo. Once your background is chosen, you can write on it with various colored markers (with various size options), erase, clear the entire page, and record your voice as you go! A finished presentation can be “shared” via email or social networking sites.

So, why was I so excited about this for my undergrad classes? Rather than take additional class time to offer practice with IPA transcription (which they badly needed) or to do tons of final exam review, I could make “tutorial videos” for my students to watch on their own time, in the comfort of their own homes! So far my students have had nothing but positive things to say about the video presentations (even though my stylus “handwriting” looks like a preschooler writing while on a roller coaster). I have included links to 2 actual videos I sent to my classes. Please please PLEASE forgive my general goofiness that appears in these…they tended to be created verrrrrrrry late at night on verrrrrrrry little sleep. Also, the info. presented to this class is super-dee-duper basic and might not be up to par for you brilliant SLPs (just an attempt to give a basic presentation of this info. to students from other majors). Although I’m using the videos in college-level classes, I foresee TONS of ways this app can be used in a therapy setting with school-age kids (or even little guys). It would be a FANTASTIC way to demo homework activities or to train parents/caregivers of clients! As a free app, I think ScreenChomp is a must-have on every iPad!

Video project of IPA transcription practice: http://www.screenchomp.com/t/MsI38Avnjr. This one uses a background I imported into the app (from a different app).

Video project of final exam review: http://www.screenchomp.com/t/V62khm4Mll. This one uses the blank “whiteboard” background. ***disclaimer: I accidentally say “functional voice disorder” at one point when I mean “organic voice disorder.” Proof I am sooooo not perfect…sigh!

 

Apps, Articulation Therapy, Language Therapy, Random Therapy Ideas, Worth Every Penny

App Synthesis: Custom Boards-Premium and ABA Flash Card Decks

Do you own the Smarty Ears app, Custom Boards-Premium?  Hmmm?  Do you?  Well, I made the leap and bought this app while it was on sale for Better Speech and Hearing Month (normally $39.99) and I am officially IN LOVE with it!  Although I did appreciate the grad-student friendly sale price, this app is worth it’s weight in gold (or dollars…if you want to be that way) at the regular price.

Now, I could go on and on about the over-11,000 smarty symbols you get when you purchase this app (ummmm, a pseudo Boardmaker for your iPad anyone?).  I could also spout off facts about their 100+ templates into which you can input pictures and text.  But, I think I’ll take this post in a different direction and tell you about how I’m loving using this app with my fellow classmates!

I am a big fan of combining great ideas.  You know that killer food that’s always left over from Thanksgiving?  Rolls + turkey + cranberry sauce = BEST sandwich of your life.  Iced tea + lemonade = summer staple (thanks Mr. Palmer).  Glitter + …….ok, you’re right…glitter is just the devil, no matter what you combine it with!  Anyway, my point is that Custom Boards can be a great tool on its own, but you can make it a super-stellar-Avengers-style tool if you are savvy about combining it with other apps.  The groom to my Custom Board bride is the collection of free ABA flash card decks I have downloaded (from Kindergarten.com).  If you don’t own these apps, go download them immediately.  I mean it…right now!  I’ll wait…

Ok, now that you have the free ABA cards AND Custom Boards, you’re as set as you’ll ever need to be!  Here’s the plan:

1. Take screen shots of the flash cards you want to include in your Custom Boards project:

2. Open Custom Boards and choose a template:

3. Click on the first white box and select the iPad Images button.  This will pull up your photo library (and your ABA flash card screen shots should be there).  Select the first picture.  Once it’s selected, you can size it (by pinching your fingers in or out) to fill the screen with exactly what you want.  Remember that you can add your own text into each box on the template, or leave them blank.

4. Repeat with the other picture(s) to complete your template!

COOL!!!!!  Right?  Of course it is!  Apps can be fantastic on their own, but the possibilities are endless when we think about synthesizing their contributions to our field!  I would love to hear how you are combining your iPad apps to create great new projects and therapy tools!  Below are a couple more examples of boards I’ve made using the ABA flash cards 🙂

Post-vocalic /r/ animal Articulation Therapy board:

Emotions Board:

Apps

Hooray for TxTools

I’m really good at a couple of things: grammar, eating chocolate ice cream…

I’m pretty good at a slightly longer list of things: playing scrabble, studying for tests, roasting marshmallows to perfection…

Sadly, there is a rather extensive list of things I am relatively terrible at doing.  I usually make a whole-hearted effort to improve my skills in whatever I might be attempting, but at some finite point, frustration takes over and I end up groveling at the feet of others, begging for help.  At the top of this particular list is my ability to calculate a client’s current age on a standardized, norm-referenced test.  It’s as if my brain has decided that mentally figuring out how to add and subtract days and months should be lumped together with activities that fall into the realm of “exceptionally difficult” (you know, like scaling Mount Everest or breaking WWII codes).

This is where PediaStaff‘s wonderful app, TxTools, comes in!  If this app were speed dating and could only use 3 words to describe itself, it would probably say: simple, no-frills, efficient.  It’s a “dad” app: the one you call when you want to get your problem fixed or your question answered.  Not when you want to kill hours with meaningless conversation just for the sake of talking (those are “mom” apps, people! Or maybe “BFF” apps).  TxTools has 3 functions:

  1. The Age Finder: This allows you to quickly calculate a client’s current age for standardized assessments and paperwork!
  2. The IEP Scheduler: This allows you to help calculate the exact date of upcoming IEPs, evaluations, or specific timelines for initial evaluations.
  3. The Percent Correct Calculator: With this function, you can easily and efficiently take on-line data and determine exactly what percent of correct responses the client made during an activity.

PediaStaff, thank you for coming up with great ideas to make life just a little bit easier!  From your amazing Pinterest pages to this helpful new app, I bow down!

You can get TxTools in the App Store for $free.99 (that’s right…FREE)!

Apps, Language Therapy, Worth Every Penny

Super Dee-Duper Therapy Apps!

In honor of the fact that Super Duper is marking all their apps down to only $1.99 between May 1st and May 7th for Better Speech and Hearing Month, I wanted to post a review of 2 of their apps that I think are great!  All of the apps in this family give you the ability to keep data or correct/incorrect responses.  Additionally, they are customizable and allow you to choose which flash cards you want for each client and which you want to leave out or save for later (isn’t customization the best?!?!).

What’s Being Said

This app reminds me of a spin-off of part of the TNL (Test of Narrative Language): where the child must generate a narrative based on what’s happening in the picture.  In this case, the child is expected to generate language about what they think is being said by the character(s) on the card.  Although this might seem like a limited task, there are a huge number of possibilities for language skills you can target with an app like this!  Below are some of my ideas:

Rather than just asking the client to fill in the thought bubbles, ask them to tell you a story about what happened/is happening/and will happen based around what they see on the card.  They can still incorporate the task of filling in the conversation bubbles, but you also will get all kinds of information about the syntactic organization of their sentences and paragraphs, their use of transitions, the relevance of their ideas, their descriptive vocabulary, and their lexical variety!  With a simple card like the ant/picnic one above, you might even cue the child with the beginning of the story: “I’m going to start a story about this card.  I’ll tell the beginning, and then I want you to tell me the rest!  Ready? A man and a woman went for a picnic on a hot, sunny day.  They decided to go for a walk before lunch, but left all their food on the blanket while they were gone.  In the meantime, 2 ants came across the blanket and picnic basket.  Can you finish this story?”  You can always ask the client what they think the ants are saying to each other if they forget to fill in the bubbles!  Language, language, language!

Use this deck as a quick criterion-referenced activity to look at mental flexibility (part of a child’s developing executive function skills).  With a card like the one above, you can begin by asking the client to tell you what each character is likely saying.  THEN, throw a wrench in the scene by explaining that their initial conclusion may not be accurate (for example, the lady inside the house is actually telling the pizza delivery lady that she didn’t order a pizza at all).  See if your client can readjust his or her thinking quickly in order to change the conversation components of the card to match your new scenario!

Let’s Predict

This app was designed to help clients practice their understanding and expression of what is likely to happen next.  Prediction is a critical skill for general language development (we do this all the time during conversations with other people), but it’s also extremely important for academic success.  The ability to predict is linked to one’s ability to make inferences, as both require the child to “read” the scene and make assumptions about abstract actions that may or may not take place.

In addition to simply asking the child to predict what’s likely to happen next based on what they see on the card, try asking him/her to tell you what they think happened right before this AND what they think will happen next.  Synthesizing a single scene into a more cohesive “story” will help your client in all kinds of classroom tasks that similarly require synthesis of information across activities/classes/topics!  Encourage the client to look for clues in the scene to help them figure out what happened before the scene and what’s likely to happen next.

YOU (as the clinician) can be the one making the predictions!  BUT instead of making accurate predictions, create silly ones that don’t make total sense based on the clues in the picture.  The client’s task is to tell you why your prediction is unlikely to take place and to correct it into an accurate prediction! For example, if you were using the card above, you might tell the child that you predict the man is going to grill some chicken.  Their job is to consider the clues (eggs, milk, flour) and (hopefully) correct your prediction to one that makes more sense: the man is going to bake cookies!

Double up on the functionality of this app and use it for verb awareness!  Focus on what the character(s) is/are doing in each picture!  Shoot for less common verbs (e.g. “spreading jelly” rather than “making a sandwich”).

I hope these ideas make your next therapy session with your Super Duper apps THAT MUCH BETTER!!!

Apps, Language Therapy, Worth Every Penny

Get Ready for Some Language Adventuring!

It’s been a while since I last reviewed an app, so I think it’s high time for such a blog post (you have dysphagia and motor speech disorders exams to blame for that)!  Smarty Ears has a new(ish) app out called Language Adventures ($19.99 in the iTunes App Store).  I was fortunate enough to win a copy of it through a Facebook contest that TherapyApp 411 held a few weeks back, and I’m excited to share some of the great features this app has to offer!  Language Adventures is a language board game app that targets synonyms, antonyms, and/or multiple meanings in both receptive and expressive modalities!

First and foremost, a HUGE Thank you to Barbara Fernandes and the rest of the Smart Ears brainteam for adding video tutorials to all their apps!  I know, I know…all technology should just be “intuitive” these days right?  WRONG!  We all find ourselves caught in the trap of thinking we know exactly how an app is supposed to run, only to find out that we’ve been neglecting some of the coolestmost exciting features all along simply because we never took the time to learn how to access them.  Usually this happens as soon as we give the iPad to a client and give them the freedom to “figure the app out”…a million times better and faster than we did!  Smarty Ears makes it so easy to learn all the perks of their apps through clear, concise, and accessible tutorials!  (Woot Woot)

The Language Adventures game will support 1-4 students, so it’s a great option for individual therapy and group therapy alike!  Adding a new student/client is easy: just enter their name, DOB, grade level, target items (synonyms, antonyms, and/or multiple meanings), and target language mode (receptive or expressive).  You can even add a photo or avatar to represent each student (and who doesn’t love seeing themselves when an app is opened?!?!).  Yes…I did name my pretend student “Fro” (can you tell someone was craving fro-yo when she was testing out this app?).  The game can be played at 3 different levels, so never fear: this game will grow with your clients and be more than just a one-hit wonder!

The app itself is designed as a board game!  Brilliant!  For each turn, the client taps the dice to determine how many spaces they can move on the board.  In order to cause their piece to advance, they must click on the square that correctly corresponds with the number rolled on the dice (Hey-o…math too!).  Best part of rolling dice on an Ipad? They never fall off the table!!!!! As soon as the correct box is chosen and the piece moves forward, a language question will appear for the client.  If you chose to target all 3 language skills, they will appear in random order throughout the game; otherwise all the questions will relate to your designated skill determined for the kiddo.

If you are working on receptive language skills, 4 possible answer choices will appear for the child to choose from.  When working on expressive skills, the question is open-ended and the child must generate their own response that you can then mark as accurate or incorrect (Yup, this app collects your data for you too).

In the settings tab, you have the ability to turn audio-reading of questions on or off as well as to choose the consequence that occurs when an incorrect choice is made during receptive language questions.  Luckily for you, you’ll never need to worry about adjusting trivial things like the background music or minor features…in fact, the snappy music will keep you and your client(s) jammin’ through your whole session 🙂  All in all, I highly recommend this app for targeting the specific language skills it incorporates.  Your clients are sure to love the board game concept, and you’re bound to love all the great learning opportunities this app provides for language!