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!

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

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, Random Therapy Ideas

WH-ing It Up!

Who have you been targeting WH-questions with lately? Where did you search for activities to target awareness of these concepts? When was the last time you had a peds client super jazzed about regurgitating answers to these questions from the same old story books? Enter “WH” Questions At Home by Super Duper ($5.99).  This app provides you with 56 cards that do all the WH-question work for you!  As with other flashcard sets from Super Duper, you are able to take data on the client’s responses as you move through the deck.  Additionally, you can choose which cards you want to include for a given client and which you want to keep out (so you are able to target “who” and “where” questions, but save the rest for later!).

What Super Duper cards tend to do really well is leave the proposed questions open-ended enough to allow the client the possibility of generating multi-word answers (rather than your typical “the boy” response to a “who” question).  Imagine the amount of language you can generate with a question like: “What would you do if you had a tree house?” as opposed to “what is X character doing on this page of the book?”  The questions tend to be very client-focused, which can be hugely important for kiddos who aren’t able to appropriately decode decontextualized concepts.

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Another great feature of this app is the functionality of many of the questions.  Kids will not only be generating language targets, but can be discussing topics that are relavent to their lives.  I see this being a huge bonus in group therapy settings!  For example, the card below is highly contextualized and is a great “mind file”/ “get to know you” type of question for group settings.  While you can certainly target the “who” aspect of this question, you can also use it to get kids thinking about similarities and differences among them (“Wow, both Jimmy and Johnny have their grandparents living at home with them.  Mary, it sounds like you have lots of animals living at your home.  I wonder if Jimmy has pets too…”)  Plus, kids LOVE sharing about their lives!

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It often comes up that SLPs are targeting more than one skill or concept at a time.  Many of the cards provided in this app give kids an opportunity to think about socially expected behavior, such as the one below.  This is fantastic for generalization activities with clients who have previously been targeting these ideas in a more specific way.  Although they might be focusing on the WH-aspect of the question, you can be assessing the social-appropriateness of their response(s).

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My final suggestion for this app is more on the creative side.  Although I love that apps are created with an intended purpose in mind, I always challenge myself to find ways to make the app work for a big variety of clients working on a big variety of goals.  If you have a kiddo who is not particularly verbal and enjoys drawing (or you just want to shake things up a bit for any old client), here is a fun way to generate responses to these WH-questions!  Rather than require a verbal response from the kiddo when a card is presented on the iPad, instead have them draw their response.  You can even turn this into a fun guessing game that might generate new forms of language you otherwise would not have elicited!  So, try presenting your client with a card like, “Where do you keep your toys?”  Then, set a timer for 1 minute and see how many places they draw that are appropriate places to keep toys!  Draw a new card and repeat!

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That’s all for now folks!

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 🙂