Tuesday, June 18, 2013

App Review: Activity Timer Trial

Happy Summer all!

Sorry for the delay in posting, things have been a bit busy, but I have a great app for you this week! Activity Timer Trial (there is a paid version here currently for $1.99) is an excellent visual timer app that I highly recommend.

The trial version has a few limitations after the trial runs out, such as limited number of timers and limited amount of time (10 minutes); however, I have found the trial to suit my kids just fine.  What's so great? It has a three color countdown, chimes that you can set for each if you want, and a different chime for the ending.  This is a great app for any kids that have trouble transitioning between tasks.  The color change and chimes are great for getting them ready for the change to come.

I have used this app with several children (including my own nieces and nephew), as well as recommended it to parents.  I generally run the timer on my galaxy phone while the child plays on the tablet, or with some other activity so that they are able to constantly monitor their time if they wish.  It is one of the best visual timers that I have encountered, and although I have not tried out the other functions, it appears to have a lot of great options if you have time to play with it.

I highly recommend checking out the free version as it has been all I needed so far, but I have already considered purchasing the full version to play with more features.  If you get the full version comment to let us know what you thought of it!

Friday, May 17, 2013

App Review: YouTalk AAC

First a short disclaimer:  I was not compensated in any way for this review and it was a free app, so I simply downloaded it and tried it out.  I was recently contacted by the developers of YouTalk AAC and asked to review their free AAC app.  I am very impressed with this simple and easy to use AAC app.

The first thing you have to do is make sure that you have a text to voice generating app such as "IVONA Text-to-Speech HQ" which they recommend on their page.  This is the one that I used and its quite good as the basic female voice.

Next you can choose either the YES/NO board which is instantly available, or create your own 3x3 board.

There are only a few slight issues: there is a little distortion of the pictures if they are not the same size as the tiles, but my kids didn't seem to notice this.  I could have done a little cropping and made them fit better, but they worked well.  Each button is large and when pressed it says whatever text you programmed.  It has the capability to store up to five boards that you program, I did notice that sometimes when switching between back to the first grid it will show the pictures as very tiny, if I hit the home button and then go back in this immediately corrects itself.  This may just be an problem with my tablet, and the other grids appear to load just fine.

This is a very easy to use app that is great when you need something quick, or something that parents can easily use at home.  It is very simple to edit and although the grids are static, there is a lot of versatility as you can choose to put buttons on any or all of the spaces.  The YES/NO board is also simple and quick to use making it very convenient when working in therapy, or if parents are out with their children.  I love that you could quickly take a picture and add it in if new choices or objects were around, very good for when our clients are out in the world, or when the therapist needs to add something quickly.

Overall, very good  app that is easy to use and does its job well with a few small bugs that are easy to get around.  If  issue of switching between grids were fixed (may just be my galaxy tab) and there were a way to crop the pictures first it would be perfect! I highly recommend that you give it a try.

Monday, May 13, 2013

App Review: Burger by Magma Mobile

Recently I have a lot of kids needing to improve memory and following directions and Burger is just the game to get them started.  There is a timed mode, which for all but the highest kids is too much pressure, however the un-timed "burger creator" mode has been wonderful!

There are lots of options and they are fairly familiar, so my kids don't need long to get familiar.  We generally refer to the bun as "bottom" and "top" and the actual burger patty as "meat" and the kids seem to pick this up quickly.  I have been using this game to build some memory for 2 and 3 words as some of my kids have an especially difficult time with remembering and repeating as well as executing the directions.  

This game has been a motivating and fun way to work on some of these memory/directions skills that my kids tend to avoid.  A way that they love to play it is we take turns taking orders for the other person, this way not only are they following directions but giving them as well.  I sometimes throw in a wrong item, just to make sure that they are paying attention to how I follow their directions.

Overall, great game that is a fun way to work in some extra memory practice and is generally good for at least 5 minutes of sustained interest before changing to something else, some of my kids even enjoy this as a reward and don't even realize that we're still working!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

SuperDuper App Sale

Just a heads up to everyone, Super Duper is having a sale until tomorrow on their apps.  They have a lot of good card decks that can be used to target several different areas.  I often use the past tense deck for identifying actions and describing pictures as well.

Check out their offerings for a lot of different apps!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

App Review: Starfall

I know that many SLP's involved with the schools will be familiar with this app, but for those of you who don't know about it, Starfall is a great reading and phonics app to use in therapy and especially to suggest to parents whose children are having difficulty with reading.

This $2.99 app tackles each sound as well as blends, digraphs and diphthongs.  It is a great starting point or a place for beginning practice in reading and phonics.  I have several children on my schedule who have used this at home and the parents have been very pleased with the app as well.  Additionally, there are free versions at www.starfall.com that also  tackle reading levels from single letters to reading short stories.

Both the app and the website are great additions to your reading repertoire and can be very helpful for parents to try at home.  Also, many of the activities are set up as games so children sometimes don't even realize that they are learning to read.

Give it a try and let parents know about the app as well as the website that is accessible for free!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Review: Flow Free and Follow Me Free

Today's review is of two apps that I have really enjoyed for following directions, memory and attention.  Flow Free and Follow Me Free are two very similar apps that are fun and great for working on several different areas.

Flow Free is a maze-like app that I love for working on problem solving and following directions.  There are pairs of dots in various colors that you have to connect while taking up a whole grid and they cannot cross each other.  Most of my kids can't do this on their own, but we work on counting the number of spaces and following locational directions.  Usually good for a good 5 to 10 minutes of direction-following-fun!

Follow Me Free is very similar but works on memory as well as following directions.  Very similar to Flow Free, dots appear on the screen and move to their end point, then the player has to retrace the dot's path.  You have to really pay attention and remember the path that the dots take.  Usually I have my kids follow one dot, and I will do the other to take some of the pressure off.  You can rewatch the moves as many times as necessary, and this is a good way to track improvements in memory and attention by looking at how many times they need to watch before they are able to replicate it.  I will often also use this for following directions by remembering the path and verbally guiding them.

Both are very simple games that provide a lot of complex skills.  I have also given these to parents as home practice and they have gone over well, especially as they are free.  Just another great couple of apps to add to your repertoire!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Broken Links!

I just wanted to write an apology to anyone trying to follow the review links on the list of apps page.  The links to the Google Play sites were working, but a number of the links to the reviews were broken due to an error when I copied the links.  I am very sorry to anyone who was trying to get to the reviews from that page!  They have all been fixed and should now be linking appropriately to their reviews!

I hope everyone has a lovely weekend!