We enjoyed ourselves so much with Tactus Therapy Solutions’ latest app that we almost let this month pass without releasing a complete review about it. Conversation TherAppy landed in our iPad just in time for Aphasia Awareness Month this June 2013, and it arrived heavy with features.
When we received a copy of the app, we planned to field-test it with a couple of clients. We ended up using Conversation TherAppy with all of our school-age kids as well as with our adult clients with stuttering, aphasia, dementia, and verbal apraxia. In a couple of weeks, our fellow clinicians were borrowing our iPad and trying the app with their clients.
Conversation TherAppy is the eighth release from its developer. Given the success of the apps that preceded it, we were eager to discover what the latest app has in store for us. The app’s Home Screen greets the user with these:
- the Start button
- User Hub
- Settings button (top right corner)
- Users tab (on the screen’s left)
- Connect, Tutorial, and Other Apps (on the bottom of the screen)
Let’s start with Settings, for a good reason. If you are a clinician and you are about to use the app with your client, you will want to lay the parameters out first. Settings allows you to:
- select the Number of Trials: minimum of 5, or choose to tackle All items
- Content: filter the pictures according to what is appropriate for your client (Child, Teen, Adult)
- Scoring Sounds: want the Default ping? The more subtle Click? Or mute all scoring sounds?
- Email Results To: enter the primary email address to where the results can be sent to
- Links: toggle Links on/off
- Customize Database: this is the heart of Settings and will allow you to:
- select the category of the content you wish to customize and include/omit pictures from that category
- edit the questions that accompany the Question Types
- enter notes about each specific client
- include / omit questions
- delete sessions
Results are tabulated in the User Hub as well. Select a username from the list on the left of the screen and the Results window will show you the date, the time it took for the client to finish the session, his/her score by the total number of items and in percent values, option to email the results, or delete the entry.
The Users tab on the left of the screen allows one to quickly select the user/s who will participate in the activity. Tick the box next to the name then tap Start. The app (as with most of Tactus Therapy’s apps) allows you to select your categories first prior to starting with the session. By default, the following screen will show you:
- a picture that shows the topic that is up for discussion
- ten buttons that flank the picture, each representing a Question Prompt:
- User Names on tabs (maximum of 6 users on the iPad, 4 on the iPhone/iPod Touch)
- Home button on the top left corner
- Progress bar on the top right corner
- Backward and Forward arrows on the lower corners
Explore the app by downloading the Lite version here.
- clear, sharp images: This mattered a lot. A 64-year old client of ours has dementia and her cognition fluctuated a lot. We used Conversation TherAppy with her and directed her attention to specific parts in each picture, particularly the emotions in the subjects’ faces. She consistently identified these emotions and managed to note other details in most of the pictures as well. Image quality was certainly a priority when this app was developed.
- engaging topics were well portrayed in the pictures: four 11-year old boys made up our social skills group. Considering how volatile their attention spans were, it was rewarding to note that the app helped in drawing out a detailed conversation from them. They chose which pictures and topics they wanted to expound on. The scene that showed rudeness was one of their favorites because of the varied reactions the subjects had in response to the rude moviegoer. They argued about their personal interpretations of verbal abuse. The picture auto theft drew much emotion from our client with dementia, enabling her to summon enough processing powers to participate and explore the topic further.
- heaps of options in Customize the Content: we honestly do not have anything else to ask for because the app allowed one to:
- double-check which topics are unlocked for all populations and which ones are restricted to Teens and Adults or Adults only
- select or deselect which ones can be included in an activity
- edit the questions… per topic!
- user names and scoring buttons are available and are conveniently placed: It is not easy to keep track of each participant’s performance while doing any group therapy session, but with these User tabs, keeping track is as simple as tapping a button. And since we expect the iPad to be on landscape mode with the clinician beside or behind it, putting the User tabs on top of the screen just made a lot of sense.
- User Hub keeps track of each user’s scores: use the app, tap the buttons toscore, and allow yourself to get lost in the conversation. Let the User Hub track each client’s scores (as long as you consistently use the scoring buttons). Time and date are also logged in, so it is easy to monitor progress. Options for emailing the results and deleting entries are provided. And one more thing: results can be viewed in graph form. Yes: GRAPH.
- Question prompts are specific to each picture: there is no better way to allow users to expound on each given topic than by asking specific, open-ended questions. These questions encourage one to share opinions, thoughts, and stories of one’s experiences. With the app’s customization features, it is easy to edit the questions and shorten these to match a client’s processing capacity, or even write the questions using the client’s native language (one that uses Roman characters).
- 12 categories contains a total of 300 pictures accompanied by more than 3000 questions: as we said, there is much to talk about this app… 3000 questions!
What we would love to see in future updates: Try as we might, we ended up answering our own suggestions. Bump up customizability and put in Add My Own Photo option? The app covered a lot of daily life situations and issues. An option to add another question prompt? Edit one of the question prompts and customize it according to your client’s needs. How about options to view the photo only and/or be able to zoom into it? Turn off all question prompts, and if you really have to zoom into the picture, take a screenshot, open it in Photos, zoom in as much as you want.
In our opinion, Conversation TherAppy is one of the finest apps Tactus Therapy has ever put out. With it being heavy on features and flexible with all its customization options, one need not hesitate in using it with any client. Since we all aim to facilitate good conversational skills in our clients, this app may promise to be a mainstay in your device. This app need not work hard to earn your love and tapping devotion. It does its job and it does it so well, we guarantee you that you will use Conversation TherAppy over and over and over again.
- Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, cognitive-communication disorders
- learning disability
- verbal apraxia, etc.
Customer Ratings (iTunes): no ratings yet iSPeak App says: 5 out of 5 smileys