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!

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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!”

 

Language Therapy, Uncategorized, Worth Every Penny

How Fun? Absurdly Fun!

Super Duper strikes again, this time with an app aimed at helping kids recognize goofy, absurd details from a scene. Listening for Absurdities is a bit like a miniature version of the “what’s wrong with this picture” books, though each card illustrates only 1 scene with one silly thing going on. As with all the Super Duper apps, you can customize the card options for each client, or you can make all of the cards accessible to the client. Additionally, you can mark each turn as correct or incorrect, and the app keeps track of this data as you play.

So, how can you incorporate Listening for Absurdities into your next session? Well, here are a couple ideas to start you off 🙂

  • Capitalize on the voice option of this app: Like some of the other Super Duper apps, Listening for Absurdities includes a voiced component. As you scroll from flashcard to flashcard, you must click on the card to activate the voice, which gives you a short sentence about what’s happening in the scene (e.g. “Uncle Luke poured his coffee into a boot”). This is a great added cue to help students who might otherwise have a tough time figuring out what’s goofy in the scene. Additionally, if you’re working on listening skills, you can turn the iPad away from the student and have them fix the sentence after hearing the verbal cue alone (without ever showing them the picture on each card).

  • Keep the voiced component of the app off: Some of the cards are more obviously absurd than others, so you can challenge clients by choosing the cards with more subtle absurdities and asking them to identify what doesn’t fit in the scene and explain how they might fix it. This is a great way to help kids learn to search for key details that might aid in comprehension.
  • Use each card as a story-starter: Not every kid is little Ms./Mr. motor mouth, just dying to give you a 300-word language sample in the first 18.4 seconds of your session. For the quieter clients on your caseload, use the cards in this fundeck as a good theme for a made-up story. They’ll like how silly they get to be, and you’ll be on cloud nine with all their language!
  • Challenge kids to problem solve: With each new card, don’t just have your client point out what’s silly in the scene, but also ask them what kinds of words you could substitute into the sentence to make it correct. Try to generate as many ideas to correct each card as possible! This is great for kids who struggle with semantic variation.

I hope I’ve left you with some good ideas that get you well on your way to absurd fun with your clients!

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!

Apps, Language Therapy, Worth Every Penny

Flashcards for Your iPad

Flashcards are great therapy resources.  They are tried and true, and serve as a great go-to set of stimuli during many of the activities SLPs do on a daily bases.  There are a lot of benefits to having a physical set of cards in front of you.  BAM: basic flashcards can become a memory or matching game.  BAM: stack flashcards around the room to make a car obstacle course (https://hbslp.wordpress.com/2012/02/06/making-drill-activities-fun-for-little-boys/).  BAM, hide flashcards to create a scavenger hunt for therapy targets!  Despite all these great uses for stimulus cards, there are just those moments where you want the content from the card without the ability for your client to pick it up and toss it across the room (or flip it over, or rip it, or spill on it).  Unless you’re a laminating maniac and an organization genius, cards often get lost or ruined after a finite amount of time. They can become cumbersome to lug around for SLPs on the go, and keeping them organized can be a nightmare.  Solution? Flashcard apps.  Super Duper is a GREAT resource for a big selection of flashcard decks that have been converted for the iPad!  The concept is by no means revolutionary, but for short money (apps run $5.99 each) you get all the benefits of the cards’ content without the downsides of dealing with individual cards.  Here are 2 Super Duper apps that I’ve been exploring and would love to share:

WHAT ARE THEY ASKING?

The deck includes a wide variety of picture scenes where one character has a “?” thought bubble coming from his/her/its mouth, encouraging the question, “what are they asking?” Before you begin an activity with this app, you have the option to choose your client(s) and customize the card options for them by selecting the specific cards you want (or you can always select all cards).  Here are some great ways to use this app:

  • Its intended function: asking your client to think about what the character is likely asking.  This requires your kiddo to look for contextual clues in the scene to support their theory.  If you are hoping to generate further language beyond a simple answer to what the character is thinking, ask your client to explain the contextual clues they used to come up with their answer.
  • pronoun practice: what is heshe, it thinking?
  • Inference practice: ask your client questions like: “What do you think happened right before this?” “How does the other character(s) feel about what’s happening?” “How could you solve this problem?”
  • Engage your client in WH-question practice by tailoring your questions about each card” “WHO is having this thought?” “WHEN did X character do X action?” “WHERE has the girl traveled (hint: look at her suitcase)?”

You are given the option to mark each card as correct or incorrect if you come up with a personalized data system, but you can certainly leave the activity open as a means of generating great language in addition to thinking about what different characters might be saying in each scene!

UNDERSTANDING INFERENCES

Since inferences are a broad area of language, this app has lots of possible functions!  Again, you have the power to choose specific cards to include for each client, or to use the whole deck.  You can mark each card as correct or incorrect if you want to tap into the data function of the app!  Here are some ways to get rolling with Understanding Inferences:

  • If your client is just starting to work with inferences, one-word responses might be a great target with this deck!  For these kiddos, elaboration might be too tough, but the ability to provide a relevant answer to the posed question will demonstrate that they’re getting the idea of an inference!
  • Use the cards (and their questions) as a story generator.  Ask your client to not only provide an appropriate response, but to also create a story about what happens next.
  • Use the cards to model a descriptive guessing activity and then have the client try it on his/her own!  Practice with a card like the one below (giving clues to help describe a target object based on its appearance, function, etc), and then see if your client can give you enough clues to guess what he/she is thinking of 🙂
  • Be silly; instead of thinking of things that DO belong (for cards like the one below), try to think of things that DON’T belong.  Understanding how objects DON’T fit into certain semantic categories can be just as important as determining how and why they do! 

There you have it!  A few fun ways to get your started using a couple of Super Duper’s flashcard apps!  The magic is in how you make these apps work for you, especially since there are so many possibilities beyond their basic, intended functions 🙂

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

Word Stack App Baby!

Another day, another app.  I found out about this app from being that person on the bus into campus this morning.  When I say that person, I mean the one who happens to sit next to you and then not-so-secretly watches you play on your iPad for 15 straight minutes.  As we were approaching my stop, I mumbled the following incoherent, awkward question: “Heywhatgameareyouplayingthere?”  This poor fellow bus rider looked at me like I was insane, but played nice and told me that it’s called Word Stack.

I had watched her play for a mere quarter of an hour and already knew this was a game that had me hooked.  She was having trouble getting through her current level, and I had already figured out the word relationships in my head and was literally (Chris Traeger style: http://www.tvfanatic.com/2011/05/parks-and-recreation-presents-literally-the-funniest-video-of-al/)  dying to impart this information.  BUT, I waited patiently while she explained the rules of the game and then finnnnnaly asked if I could figure out the current level.  By the time I reached my stop, I’d made a friend (per say) and discovered a great new app to share with all of YOU!

So, what exactly is Word Stack?  It’s a game of word relationships (language!!!).  You are given a starter word in green on the right side of the screen, and 8 additional words in blue on the left.  Your job is to stack the words one by one in the column on the right.  Each word that gets added must have some kind of appropriate semantic relationship with the top word in the stack in the column on the right to make it stick and turn green (synonyms, antonyms, compound word pairs).  

This game is fantastic for older kids working on language, especially for semantic relationships and word relationships.  Although you can’t control how each word will relate to its corresponding word in the list (synonym vs antonym vs compound word), this is a fun way to practice those skills as your clients acquire them!  I also see this app being used very well with adult clients with acquired language impairments.  You can play independently or in a group (either pass the iPad after each word is stacked or have everyone work together to solve the relationship).  Sometimes, multiple words could possibly fit in some kind of relationship with the one already in the stack, but you will be stuck later if you choose the wrong one early on!  LOTS of problem-solving skills involved here!

Price: $0.99 Less than a buck for LOTS of levels, LOTS of language therapy opportunities, and LOTS of fun!  There’s also a free version, but I went straight for the paid one!