Thursday, November 15, 2012

Language TherAppy Lite

This app review originally appeared on the blog Speech Adventures by Mary Huston, MS, CCC-SLP.  Thanks so much Mary for being so kind to share this review on TherapyApp411.
App Name/Publisher:  Language TherAppy Lite by Tactus Therapy Solutions

As you most likely know by now, I don’t work with adults. But, every once in a while an app comes along that is just too good not to talk about. If I worked with adults, this (these really) would be must haves. As it is, these are great skill builders for my students that are a bit older (or who annoyed me and now have to work without a game! wait…did I say that outloud?).
Tactus Therapy is one of the “go-to” places for adult therapy. They specialize in products and apps specifically for adult therapy. They truly are phenomenal. They have several apps that are designed for adult therapy, their newest one (at this time) is Category TherAppy. Unfortunately, I’m not going to be reviewing that one just yet.
The app I’m going to review is their free “demo” version of the other four apps. It’s called  Language TherAppy Lite and has free versions of Tactus Therapies’ Comprehension TherAppy, Naming TherAppy, Reading TherAppy, and Writing TherAppy.
When I first downloaded this, I wasn’t at all sure it was something I could use. In fact, if truth be told, I downloaded specifically so I had something “adult-like” to present on when I presented on using iPads in therapy. Boy was I surprised, and I’m very glad I didn’t admit it to anyone (until now).
While this app won’t keep preschoolers entertained…and probably won’t do a lot for the K, 1, 2 group… The older students can definitely benefit from it. I can definitely see where adults dealing with TBI or stroke would be able to get some excellent help.
To do this justice, I’m going to go through each section (briefly). First is Comprehension TherAppy. In this section, the SLP has the option of clicking “listen,” “read,” and “listen & read.” The free version only allows you to do a “trial” of Nouns (but that’s okay – it gives you a good feel for the app). The paid version has verbs, adjectives, and nouns – lots of nouns.
In the “listen” area, three pictures of real items are shown. A voice prompt comes on and the user selects the correct picture. In the “read” area, three pictures are shown with a written prompt at the bottom of the screen. The user selects the correct picture. In the “read & listen” area – there are 3 written words and a voice prompt comes on with a word. The user needs to match the written word with the spoken word. If the wrong word is selected, there’s a negative sound and the prompt is repeated. Data is kept up on the top right corner.
Naming TherAppy has four areas: Naming Practice, Describe, Naming Test, and Flashcards. Naming Practice is separated into categories. A picture of an item (say dog) is presented, and the user has the ability to select different prompts from the bottom of the screen. The open book prompt is a verbal cue (e.g., “a man’s best friend”). There are spelling options (either first letter or whole word), a common saying (idiom) option, a phonetic (initial sound) option, and finally the spoken word. WHEW! This app really does an amazing amount of cueing.
Here’s a screenshot. Even though the selections appear “greyed out” they are still able to be selected.
The “describe” area is again separated by categories. There are 6 areas or prompts. They include “what does it look like,” “what sound does it make,” “what is it used for,” “what type of thing is it,” “who uses it,” and “where do you find it.” This feature in particular is one of my favorites. Building these categorization scaffolds is critical to gaining better vocabulary. I actually, can see myself using this now with a few kids in my therapy.
The Reading TherAppy section has “Phrase Matching,” “Phrase Completion,” “Sentence Matching,” and “Sentence Completion.” In Phrase Matching, a picture prompt is shown with four written phrases. The user needs to pick the best phrase to match the picture. For instance, a picture of a dog is shown. The phrases are “furry dog,” “woolly mammoth,” “wool blanket,” and “fluffy cat.” Obviously there are two that are similar enough the user needs to read – not just guess from the first letter. I happen to have a few 3rd and 4th graders who would benefit from this! If the wrong phrase is selected, it grays out and a negative sound is heard. In Phrase Completion the written phrase is shown with a blank (e.g., “Birthday _______”) and there are four words (e.g., “cake, case, pie, pile”). The user selects the best fill in the blank.
The final section is Writing TherAppy. In this area, the user selects a difficulty level (Easy, Medium, Hard) and the type of activity (Fill in the blank, Copy, Spell what you See, and Spell what you Hear). Fill in the blank – is just that. The picture is shown and some of the word is provided – the user fills in the blank. The difficulty level determines how many blanks and how many “extra” tiles are provided from which to select the correct tile. The user drags the tile up to the correct space, clicks “check”, and if it’s correct it reads it and goes to the next word. If it’s incorrect, it just provides the negative sound and stays there.
See what I mean about this app being great for older school-age children as well as adults?
From the website: “2 expressive (Naming TherAppy & Writing TherAppy) and 2 receptive (Comprehension TherAppy & Reading TherAppy) language apps for aphasia, special needs, and language learners. Both expressive apps have the ability to add custom words and pictures for training individualized vocabulary or foreign languages.”
Wait…the paid version ($59.99) has the ability to add custom words and pictures! Okay…now I HAVE to buy it!
So…have you ever used the Tactus Therapy Solutions apps in your therapy? Will this app prompt you to try it? The Lite version is free after all? Let me know… I’d love to hear what you think of all their apps!
Mary Huston


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