Following the success of Tactus Therapy Solutions’ Comprehension TherAppy is their latest creation: Naming TherAppy, designed to facilitate word retrieval among children and adults who have word recall difficulties. It felt like a mini-Christmas morning that day we finally downloaded the app and ran it.
Anybody who’s downloaded and used Comprehension TherAppy (if you haven’t, we highly recommend you do) will be greeted by the familiar Tactus Therapy icon, but this time, with a yellow-orange theme. The home screen was easy on the eyes: clean, simple, straight-to-the-point. Four modes grace the home screen: Naming Practice, Describe, Naming Test, and Flashcards. The upper right corner is taken by 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.
Just as what we did with its older sibling, we used Naming TherAppy with a number of our adult and kid clients. Using either a Belkin Flipblade iPad Stand (which is compact enough to be packed in a Pacsafe Metrosafe 200, Citysafe 100 or a full Slingsafe 300 when we went to our home-visit adult clients) or a basic wooden bookstand when we were with our kids, it gave us a delicious feeling that we did a lot of good just by NOT carrying 500+ actual picture cards and instead showed them in big, bright colors using an iPad 2.
We did not exaggerate when we said Naming TherAppy raised word retrieval apps to a whole new level. It did. It also raised our expectations after we’ve experienced using its older brother at therapy.
What makes this app awesome:
- twice the memory bulk but no performance lag: this app packed 27.2 mb worth of data, which is reasonable given that it had many more voice cues built in. Never did that extra data layer slow it down. Every button responded in a timely fashion, every voice cue played the moment it was called for. All these without us not needing to shut down the other apps that ran in our iPad 2’s background.
- a clean user interface: which is becoming to be what Tactus Therapy Solutions are known for, in our opinion. Present are the Home button, Correct and Incorrect Responses indicators, and Progress Bar
- appropriate sounds, sufficiently loud easy-on-the-ear male voice: a small ding signals a correct answer, a discreet thunk for an incorrect one. A male North American English accented voice was used to deliver cues and questions, and it was loud enough to be heard via the iPad 2’s built-in speakers and within a relatively quiet room.
- beautifully-sized pictures: since this is after all an app for picture naming, pictures were presented one at a time. Each picture made good use of all that screen real estate, with sharp colors and well-defined lines
- adequately-sized letter fonts for letter and written cues: these were not so big that it grabbed too much of our clients’ visual attention, nor too small that it made them squint
- 500+ pictures makes a powerhouse app: pretty much guarantees any user at least 500 Likes in Go Green Heaven… imagine: no more time wasted going through and selecting pictures, no more unwieldy stacks, bye-bye frayed edges and broken rubber bands.
- you can choose your category stacks in Categories: this option is available for Naming Practice, Describe and Flashcards. There are 10 categories to choose from. Check the box to choose your desired categories and the app will mix them for you and present these pictures randomly:
- Naming Practice lets one use a cueing hierarchy for all 400+ pictures: I have yet to see an app that actually USES a cueing hierarchy, backed by evidence on treatment techniques to boot. One can opt to score the responses as correct or incorrect, or just proceed to the next picture using an arrow button.
- 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 takes this app’s activities up another level and drives concept learning (or re-learning, in fact) home with a mighty thunk of a virtual hammer via semantic feature analysis: This activity boasts 460+ pictures with 4-6 question prompts, with each prompt programmed to be appropriate to the picture currently being shown. For example, a picture of a huge, juicy, chunky sandwich is surrounded by 6 question prompt buttons. Tap on each and the following will play:
- “What does it look like?”
- “What does it taste like?”
- “Where do you find it?”
- “What type of thing is it?”
- “How big is it?”
- “What is it made of?”
In other words, the sandwich picture definitely won’t have buttons that will ask “What is it used for?” or “What color is it?” 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.
- the app comes with a non-standardized Naming Test which presents 30 pictures–a mix of common and uncommon pictures from the app’s categories: Use this with a client and it ends with a score and a report. This may be used as a quick screening tool and a means to measure progress. However, if a client is able to name all 30 pictures in the Test, he/she may not gain much from using the app since their naming skills may be functioning above what the app is designed to target.
- the Flashcards mode can show as many as 500+ pictures. One can tap on the picture to hear its label. This mode does not come with all those buttons that Naming Practice and Describe had, thus no prompts are offered.
- Child-Friendly Mode: since the app can be used with children, flipping this mode to On removes pictures such as a bomb, gun, beer, bra, a bar. Very, very nice.
- Scoring a response as correct or incorrect is not mandatory: tagging a picture as correctly named or not is completely within the clinician’s discretion. One can choose to forward to the next picture without necessarily scoring the present picture as correctly named or not. This flexibility, at least, in our opinion, is very much appreciated.
- the prompt buttons that surrounded each picture may be a bit too big and could be distracting for some individuals: the pictures’ size, color and clarity however appeared to compensate for the buttons’ presence. We surmised that since the app is designed to be used by adult clients on their own, scaling the buttons to a smaller size might compromise their user-friendliness.
- the phrase completion cues were designed for North Americans: the developers admitted that it was hard to create the phrase completion cues, and invariably such situations call for some narrowing down. In this app’s case, since most of Tactus Therapy Solutions’ sales were made in North America, the target audience are North Americans. Nonetheless, the app has lots of room for clinician creativity. One need not use the phrase completion cues and culturally-appropriate ones can be verbally given to the client using the app.
- responsive naming
- confrontation naming
- semantic memory
- semantic feature analysis