Rainbow Sentence iDevice App

April 12, 2012

Rainbow sentences was developed by Kyle Tomson who founded the Mobile Education Store which offers a series of excellent educational apps. This app is a great tool to work on reading comprehension and sentence structure as well as verbal expression. Color coded visual cues accompany engaging graphics to help users produce grammatically correct sentences. There are 6 levels of sentence complexity and 165 images from which to create sentences. I find that I can use this with a wide range of clients due to the flexible nature of the app. Creative users can use it to work on written expression, visual scanning and eliciting verbal narrative in addition to reading comprehension and sentence formulation.

The user is presented with a colorful picture with text below- which may be color coded or grouped to simplify the task.  The text is spoken aloud as it is dragged to the space above the picture to create sentences. Once the sentence is created the user is prompted to record the sentence in their own voice and these recording can be saved or emailed. Successful sentence completion is rewarded with a puzzle piece to encourage continued play and the puzzle comes to life at the end of the level.

I have been using this app with students as well as adults. The app costs $7.99.

To view a video of the app in action  and a demonstration of the various options/settings click here.

First Phrases App by Hamaguchi Apps for Speech, Language and Auditory Development

April 12, 2012

First Phrases HD by Hamguchi Apps for Speech, Language and Auditory Development is a wonderful interactive animated app for individuals who need to improve expressive language skills as well as a variety of cognitive skills. I have used it to improve direct selection on an iPad, visual perception, sequencing, speech intelligibility and expansion of utterance length.

The app is essentially the user telling the cute animals what to do either by touching pictures or using speech. There are different options, but typically  the user touches one or more pictures of actions or objects ( or sequences them in the higher levels)  and then views a video of a character doing something such as cutting paper or drinking water. There is then the opportunity to record the individual reciting the command and then the character does what it is told. There is not a voice recognition component- the iPad does not judge the accuracy of the verbal response- it only records what it said.  Humor is embedded throughout the app.

The app is great for working on sentence structure and building sentences. There are 17 simple verbs such as “drink” and 12 verb plus prepositions such as “jump on” . Each verb is paired with nouns  to make logical phrases that can be pictured. Up to 15 users can be added to the app.

I find myself using this app with children as well as adults who have aphasia as well as apraxia and dysarthria and find it quite amusing and helpful. I have also used it with children who present with severe ASD (autism spectrum disorder) who are engaged by the colorful animations and helped by the visual presentation of language and need help with cause and effect as well as comprehension.

When downloading the app, I suggest that you first try the lite version which is $.99 to make sure it is a good fit for your goals. The full version is $9.99. The “HD” version indicates that it is for the iPad. If you find it helpful to view the app in action prior to using it – I recommend clicking here.

There are very few apps such as this which use video to enhance language skills and give true meaning to verbalizations or direct selection of items on the screen. The full app does require a large amount of memory and is best loaded directly from iTunes or WIFI if possible- rather than via 3G.