Two New App Goldmines by Tactus Therapy

September 15, 2011

I spend a great deal of time trying out new Apple apps- and currently have over 900.  It’s hard to believe that iTunes currently features over 425,000 apps. There are very few apps which are created specifically to help adults who have aphasia. Tactus Therapy Solutions has recently released two which are wonderful! I find myself using them daily in therapy with adults as well as children who have a wide variety of language and learning challenges. They are a great extension to traditional speech therapy techniques and make it much easier for families to practice at home with guidance about the most appropriate way to configure the apps. They each cost $24.99 and are well worth it!

   

 Naming TherAppy     

This app is very helpful for children and adults who have word retrieval challenges.

  • The home screen presents four modes: Naming Practice, Describe, Naming Test, and Flashcards.
  • In the upper right corner is the Settings button which will allow you to choose your desired number of trials, the email address to which you want results to be sent, and the Child-Friendly toggle button which takes out pictures that contain alcohol, violence, and adult themes.
  • The upper left corner holds the Info button and contains the basic instructions the user needs in order to use the app. So far I find myself using the “naming practice” mode the most.
  • This app includes over 400 high quality pictured nouns with a flexible cueing hierarchy and optional scoring.
  • The nouns are divided into 10 categories and one or more can be selected for targeted practice.
  • The voice output is a high quality male voice with a neutral accent in slow natural speech to facilitate comprehension.
  • Scoring allows a therapist or partner to indicate when the word is correct or incorrect. The app records which cue was used to get the correct answers and produces a score report for email.

Naming Practice Cueing Hierarchy:

Description: plays a short definition and works as a semantic cue
First Letter: shows the first letter of the target word
Whole Word/Written Word cue: shows the complete written word above the picture
Phrase completion: plays a phrase that the client can complete by supplying the target word
First Sound/Phonemic cue: plays the first sound of the target word
Repetition: plays the entire spoke word for the client to repeat

Describe Cueing Hierarchy
This activity includes over 460 pictures with 4-6 question prompts, with each prompt programmed to be appropriate to the picture currently being shown. The Describe Mode offers questions based on semantic properties such as location, function, smell, color, texture, appearance, shape, size, person, time, sound, taste, sound, category, and association.

Comprehension

TherAppy

I find that I am using Comprehension TherAppy daily with adults and children who have aphasia, auditory processing issues and a variety of attention and cognitive challenges. The pictures and voice are very high quality and there are many ways that this app can be configured to work toward goals. Many nouns are initially includes and expansion packs can be purchased with verbs and adjectives.
There are 3 modes:

  • Listen“: match an auditory stimulus (spoken word) to a picture
  • Read“: match a written stimulus (printed word) to a picture
  • Listen & Read“: match an auditory stimulus (spoken word) to a written word
  • 10 categories of nouns are available  including animals, foods, objects, concepts, places, people, body parts and more. Specific categories can be selected.
  • Users are able to determine the number of photos on the screen (2-6) or the “Auto” feature can be selected to automatically adjust the field size based on performance
  • There are 3 levels of difficulty which adjust the relatedness of foils (semantic and phonemic) to move from Easy to Hard
  • Automatic scoring tracks success and progress on-screen

I look forward to new releases in the near future for Tactus Therapy Solutions. Writing TherAppy will soon be available.

To learn about other ways technology can be used to help adults or children who have a wide range of communication, cognitive, literacy and learning challenges – check out my website at  www.innovativespeech.com, contact me at Joan@innovativespeech.com or buy my newest book titled The Ultimate Guide to Assistive Technology in Special Education which is full of info about computer software, iPad apps and other tools and strategies which are helpful for improving speaking, understanding, reading, writing and thinking  for adults as well as children.

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Now Available!! The Ultimate Guide to Assistive Technology in Special Education

March 26, 2011

My new book is now available which highlights effective resources for education, intervention and rehabilitation. It can be ordered from www.prufrock.com or www.amazon.com.

In this easy to read 250 page paperback book which sells for $39.95, I highlight interactive multi-sensory software, Apps, and cool new cutting edge devices that can be used to help improve speaking, understanding, reading, writing, executive functioning skills, learning and memory. All the info was updated just  before it went to press.  Technology changes fast, but this guide is a great way to get started learning more about the many ways powerful affordable technologies can maximize progress.  It’s great for individuals who are struggling as well as those who just want to benefit from all technology has to offer!

I wrote this book for families as well as professionals to help everyone zero in quickly on the tools and resources which can be used to improve communication, cognition and literacy.  I  provide a brief description and information about where to learn more about many wonderful products, strategies and websites for people of all ages who have speech and language related issues, are “twice exceptional”, “on the spectrum”, who have ” learning disabilities”,  who have been classified as “gifted” and who have had strokes,  head injuries or other illness  which may have caused a delay or disorder relating to speech, language or learning. Everyone has “special needs.” Differentiated instruction is the way to go in terms of maximizing the potential of each individual. Everyone has different learning styles, interests, strengths and weaknesses. Many parents, caregivers, therapists and educators realize that the use of technology is very motivating for young children, older students and adults, but they don’t know where to start in the search for the most appropriate technology tools for their situation.

This book features:

  • My favorite 45 Apple apps out of over 350,000 which are currently available from iTunes.com
  • Over 125 carefully selected software programs
  • More than 40 free online interactive websites

In addition to specific chapters focusing on technology and strategies to improve verbal expression, auditory comprehension, reading, writing, cognition, learning and memory, this guide includes information and resources about:

  • switch software
  • dedicated communication devices
  • voice amplifiers and a clarifier
  • accessible cell and landline phones
  • videoconferencing
  • captioning
  • assistive listening devices
  • text readers
  • word based talking word processors with assistive reading, writing and studying tools
  • picture based talking word processors
  • alternative book formats
  • adapted online newspapers
  • portable eBook readers
  • reading aloud handheld devices
  • word prediction programs
  • online dictionaries
  • graphic organizers
  • typing programs
  • voice recognition software
  • recording pen
  • digital calendars
  • time management tools
  • online document sharing
  • online flashcards
  • social bookmarking and annotation
  • online collaboration
  • adapted email
  • specialized search engines and web browsers
This book highlights a wide range of resources that are appropriate for children as well as adults who have a wide range of communication, cognitive and literacy challenges including aphasia and deteriorating illnesses even though the cover makes it appear that it is most appropriate for students.

To continue to be informed of new helpful affordable technologies as they become available free free to sign up for my free e-newsletter at www.innovativespeech.com. I am proud to say that there are approximately 7,000 other subscribers:)