Articulate It! receives a major update! Join the giveaway to experience it for FREE

Articulate ItSmarty Ears Apps had recently given one of their highly successful apps, Articulate It! a major makeover.  Articulate It! was designed to help speech-language pathologists, teachers, even parents work on children’s articulation and phonological skills.  Packing a hefty weight of 1000 images, one can use the app to target the production of English consonant sounds.

We updated our copy of Articulate It! and after starting it up, we were greeted with a brand new startup screen.  Love the new dinosaur mascot.  Love the new colours!  We could almost imagine how this new look would pop out in Retina screens (we used our trusty iPad 2).Articulate It 1

Here are the update’s highlights:

  • the Reports screen received a new look, and our kid clients’ profiles were retained including data on past activities, dates of practice, and accuracy ratings.
  • the Select Player screen likewise has a cleaner, fresher look.  We tried to import players from Smarty Ears’ Therapy Report Center, and since we haven’t gotten the app yet, we were prompted to download it right away.
  • after tapping on Quick Play, we were treated to four NEW choices
    • Phonemes:  select which phonemes we would like to work on (including /r, l, s/ clusters)
    • Phonological Processes:  one can opt to start the activity by being more specific and target specific phonological processes
    • Manner of Articulation:  choose your mix:  plosives?  liquids? fricatives?
    • Number of Syllables:  filter the words you want included in the activity by syllable.  You can choose between 1 to 4 syllablesArticulate It 2
  • when the activity started, we were chuffed to know that the app now has THREE levels of practice:
    • Words
    • Phrases
    • Sentences
  • images appear to have been refreshed
  • interface received a facelift:  the main part of the screen is flipbook in style, with other options set in a taskbar at the left of the screen.  One can opt to take notes, or rotate the picture in four ways (that way, you can opt to have your taskbar oriented to where you are positioned in relation to the iPad).
  • report format was redesigned:  nice big letters, with buttons to allow the user to view notes made, what words were used for that specific activity, and to play back any recordings that were taken.Articulate It 3

Just so they can let everyone know Articulate It’s new features, Smarty Ears is giving away a FREE copy.  If you think you’re curious enough to win one, join the contest via Rafflecopter (see below) and follow the instructions on how you can have a chance at snapping up a promo code for Articulate It!

Price:  $ 38.99
Weight: 343 MB
Updated:  11 April 2013
Version: 3.2
Compatible with: iPhone, iPod Touch & iPad.  Requires iOS 5.0 or later.
Target Population: children
Awesome if you want to work on:
  • apraxia
  • articulation
  • phonology
  • naming

Customer Ratings (iTunes): 4 out of 5 stars                                                              iSPeak App says: 4 out of 5 smileys

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Regulate speech rates with Speech Pacesetter

PacemakerNeurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, traumatic brain injury or stroke can adversely affect, among other things, articulation and speech rates.  One client of ours used a metronome that set at specific beats per minute in order to bump up his speech rate.  It helped, to some extent, but we found it necessary to point to specific words in reading passages in order to help the client read faster.

Aptus Speech and Language Therapy came up with the app Speech Pacesetter (formerly known as the Speech Pacemaker).  The concept is pretty simple: the app highlights (or points, using a bouncing ball) the words the client is to read out.   Start Speech Pacesetter up and it brings you immediately to the app’s main screen.  The screen’s top edge shows around four popular reading passages’ titles plus a tab that allows you to insert your own reading passage.

  • The Rainbow (The Rainbow Passage)
  • My Grandfather
  • North Wind and the Sun
  • Arthur The Rat
  • pasteboard

Pacemaker1

Below the reading passage tabs are the rewind and forward buttons (moves your cursor one word forward or backward), and the Stop, Pause, Go buttons.  

The selected reading passage occupies majority of the screen.  It is the next few features that highlights the beauty of this app:

  • The orange scrollbar controls the speed at which the words / syllables are highlighted.  Want to refine your values?  Tap the minus/plus buttons to nudge the rate down or up a word/syllable.
    • Select word if you want words highlighted (or shown one at a time) or syllable for per-syllable highlighting
  • The blue scrollbar controls the length of the pause or gap in-between sentences.  Tweak your settings by seconds using the minus/plus buttons.  Beside this scrollbar is the
    • Options button:  allows you to
      • adjust the reading passage’s font size
      • color schemes:  dark background with light-colored font or vice versa
      • toggle the metronome sound on/off
      • choose if words/syllables will be highlighted, bounced on by a ball, or will appear by word
    • Info button:  which gives you basic instructions on how to use the app as well as the app developer’s details and contact information.

Pacemaker3

A lite version of the app may be downloaded here.

What we love about this app:

  • the Pasteboard:  this alone expands the app beyond its first impressions.  Type in or copy-paste a news article, a poem, a song (with the lyrics to be read), even a letter that your client wishes to read to someone.  The Pasteboard lets the client bridge his speech rates from reading passages onto increasingly more difficult ones that are closer to what he/she encounters in real life.
  • easy scrolling when adjusting words/syllables per minute and in-between sentence pauses:  by situating these important settings at the bottom of the screen, it allows the clinician to make fast adjustments to match the client’s performance.
  • one gets to choose whether words or syllables will be highlighted
  • adjustable font sizes
  • simple, fast, light:  with a small data footprint, Speech Pacesetter can work from iPhone 3GS up, and on iPads running iOS 5.0 or higher.  5.8 mb will merely nibble at the edges of your iOS device’s free space.

What we would love to see in future updates:  We are pretty happy with the content, so what we are looking forward to is a couple of adjustments on the interface.  Play, Pause, Stop icon buttons perhaps?  We love the app, and in all its simplicity, it is designed to make reading passages easier to read by a metronome along with visual cues.  No bells nor whistles here, just how we want specific therapy apps to be.

Price:  $7.99
Weight: 5.8 MB
Updated:  15 March 2013
Version: 1.6
Compatible with: iPhone 3GS until iPhone 5, iPod Touch (3rd-5th Gen), iPad.  Requires iOS 5.0 or later.
Seller:  Lorraine Curran © Aptus Speech and Language Therapy
Target Population: children, adults
Awesome if you want to work on:
  • apraxia
  • articulation
  • dysarthria
  • voice
  • stuttering

Customer Ratings (iTunes): no ratings yet                                                                       iSPeak App says: 4 out of 5 smileys

 

 

Streamline your work on verbal apraxia with Speech FlipBook

Speech FlipbookAdmit it: somewhere in the depths of your arsenal / box of tricks / treasure chest / speech box is your handmade speech sound flip book.  Springbound colored laminated sound cards.  Loose sound cards in a plastic box.  We made ours during internship eons ago: cut up index cards with big letters written in wide-tipped markers, held together by metal binder rings.  These worked of course.  They were also unwieldy.  

When Tactus Therapy Solutions finally released the Speech FlipBook, we could almost swear we heard trumpets blaring.  Finally!  But wait a minute, we thought: this for sure is no ordinary flipbook.  We’ll walk you through this and tell you why.

Speech Flipbook1See that start-up screen, the design complete with spring binding?  Great attention to detail, yes?  That’s just an intro.  Before jumping into the Speech FlipBook, we went to Settings first and it was good we did.  Look at this rich array of options:

  • by FlipBook case:   UPPERCASE, lowercase, IPA
  • by Word case:   UPPERCASE, lowercase
  • (include) blank pages: (lets one manage syllable forms better)
    • Initial (allow VC)
    • Final (allow CV)
    • Both (allow V)
    • None (CVC only)
  • Include:
    • Real Words
    • Nonwords
    • both
  • Show / Hide words (words are situated in the bottom of the Flipbook)
  • Turn Links On / Off
  • Flip Effect:  Visual, Sound, Both, None
  • Edit Word List button

Speech Flipbook2

We went back to the cover where one can choose to flip by…

  • sounds
  • words

Speech Flipbook6

Flip by words, open the FlipBook, and it shows you sound combinations in uppercase / lowercase / IPA that form words (or nonwords, depending on your Settings).  Flip by sounds and, again depending on your settings, FlipBook generates initial, medial and final sounds in three paper panels that you can flip individually to create new words / non words.

Of course, what really really trumps the competition here is its ability to hand to the clinician full customizability by allowing individual sound selection.  These tabs are divided into (with their own tab colors, remember attention to detail?) the following:

  • Initial Sounds:  in table form(!) arranged by 
    • place of articulation (bilabial, labiodental, velar, etc.)
    • manner of articulation (voiced & voiceless stops, fricatives, nasals, etc.)
  • Initial Clusters:  /l, r, s, w, 3/ clusters
  • Vowels:  by
    • vowels
    • dipthongs
    • r-controlled vowels
  • Final Sounds (same table form as Initial Sounds)
  • Final Clusters: /p, m, th, f, t… etc./ clusters

Speech Flipbook5SpeechFlipbook 4Thus, if you are to start using the FlipBook with a client, simply:

  • tweak your settings: words only? in lowercase? show words? with flipping sound and animation or none?
  • choose your sound combos: tap which initial and final sounds and clusters, and which vowels you want to appear in your FlipBook
  • start flipping! tap the sounds to toggle the sound cue.  Flip between sounds or words to show (and play the sound of) the syllable’s parts
  • recording voice is optional:  you can record the client’s voice to encourage comparing and contrasting his/her voice to that of the app’s, and facilitate the client’s ability to monitor his/her own productions

What we love about this app:

  • full customizability:  we held on to our handmade therapy material because it it was easy to go through individual cards.  FlipBook improved and returned this accessibility back into the clinician’s hands by allowing one to select different speech sounds, whether or not to include blank pages, to use the IPA or not, etc.
  • a rich set of sounds, vowels and clusters offers the clinician that can be combined to produce 60,000 words and nonwords:  we love numbers, so, to borrow from the developer’s website:
    • 22 initial sounds
    • 29 initial clusters
    • 24 vowel sounds
    • 20 final sounds
    • 32 final clusters
  • one can opt to use words and/or nonwords:  would you want your client to practice on functional, real words or give your goals that extra stretch by using nonwords?  Again, your call.
  • retains the natural feel, or opt out if is distracting:  having an app that minimizes distractibility matters a lot to us, so when one has controls to remove sound and animation, it shows just how much it must also matter to its developers.
  • records the user’s voice:  when working on sound production, having a feature like this is always useful.  Any help in facilitating self-monitoring goes a long way.
  • interface is simple to use, sufficiently large font:  working with a client who may have poured most of his attentional resources on managing speech sounds using the FlipBook requires visuals that are easy on the eyes and are engaging enough without possessing distracting features.  What do we mean by this?
    • no scoring: Some may find the absence of scoring options as a disadvantage.  We view it as a welcome change, something that may even encourage the client to monitor and assess his own performance by comparing the FlipBook’s voice prompts against his own voice recording
    • no picturesThis is fine by us.  We would like to think that the developers did design the FlipBook to enable clients to focus how to produce target speech sounds rather than compromise attention by dual tasking via pictures.
  • downright light and affordable:  One cannot go wrong with $6.99, and you’ll love it featherlight at 33.7 MB.  With this price, the clinician can ask the client and his family to purchase the app and use it to practice at home.

What we would love to see in future updates:  We do have a tiny suggestion… a Settings lock.  The more we used the FlipBook, the more we saw it as a viable take-home tool.  Most clients (and their families) either have an iPad or has access to one even if borrowed.  Imagine if several of our clients downloaded the FlipBook, a clinician can adjust each copy’s Settings depending on each client’s therapy goals.  A Settings lock can keep the clinician’s settings in place while the client practices at home going through words and speech sounds in the appropriate level of difficulty.

The tried-and-tested therapy materials are those that one tends to go back to over the years.  What the developers of Speech FlipBook did was they took a universal, well-loved therapy material, compressed all possible targets into an interface that sped up the selection of speech sounds to align with one’s therapy goals, retained the traditional look and feel of the humble flipbook, and produced an oh-so-affordable app that guarantees a permanent place in the clinician’s iPad.  We believe no other app can be packaged to allow highly-specific customization via the selection of specific speech sounds, contain tens of thousands of words and nonwords, allow voice recording and playback and still be priced so low.  Speech FlipBook can definitely earn permanence not just in a clinician’s iPad, but in his/her clients’ as well.

Price:  $6.99
Weight: 33.7 MB
Updated:  28 February 2013
Version: 1.0
Compatible with: iPhone 3GS until iPhone 5, iPod Touch (3rd-5th Gen), iPad.  Requires iOS 4.3 or later.
Target Population: children, adults
Awesome if you want to work on:
  • apraxia
  • articulation
  • dysarthria
  • auditory processing
  • phonological awareness
  • reading, etc.

Customer Ratings (iTunes): 5 out of 5 stars                                                             iSPeak App says: 5 out of 5 smileys

 

 

Discounted / Free apps in celebration of World Autism Awareness Day 2013!

imagesApril 2 is World Autism Awareness Day!  Times like these, beautiful apps go LOW or go FREE.  Some of these are in reduced prices / are free only from April 1-3, 2013.  Check out which apps are these: 

We will be updating this list as sale information comes in.  Bookmark us and make sure to keep on checking back this week!

Find your way through Syntax City

Syntax City

If there is one thing that many speech-language pathologists may agree almost unanimously, it is how difficult it is to teach syntax to our kid clients.  Smarty Ears makes the learning of grammar rules more fun and infinitely more colorful with their latest release:  Syntax City.

The developers of Syntax City has this to say about the City our students are about to explore:

…We wanted to create a utopia where all verbs would agree with their subjects, all actions would be spoken with the right tense, and all people lived peacefully with the proper pronouns.

(don’t we all?)

Syntax1

The app greets you with an attractive main screen with two choices as to how you want to access the app:  Visit the City, or do a Quick Play. We wanted to visit the City of course.  And before one does that, you create your own Visitor ID.  Enter a name, add your student’s photo (or an avatar, if you don’t want using real photos, or not at all), and click either Settings or Next.  Settings is pretty straightforward:

  • audio on/off
  • emit a buzz if a mistake was made or simply remove the item, and
  • toggle voice recording prompts on/off.

Tap on Next and we finally enter the City.

Explore Syntax City’s environs by dragging the map around.  One can see different streets, buildings, parking lots, foliage, even a ski resort within the City.  The options are:

  • Third-Person Singular Beach
  • Plurals Zoo
  • Was-Were Bakery
  • Is-Are Park
  • Have-Has Grocery
  • He-She Ski Resort
  • Irregular Past Tense Farm
  • Do-Does Gym

Below the draggable map is a bar containing the avatars of the selected students who are to start exploring the city.  Drag the avatars onto a place in the map (we chose He-She Ski Resort simply because it’s 34 degrees Celsius outside) and the app offers Level 1 and Level 2 as the beginning activity.  We chose Level 2.  The app brought us to a picture screen with an introductory text on the bottom about ski resorts.  And of course, the task screen looks as chilly as one would expect a ski resort to be! You have:

Syntax3

  • the stimulus picture in the middle
  • the sentence to be completed below the stimulus picture
  • the choices (two to four, depending on level of difficulty), located below the incomplete sentence
  • the buttons Done, Back, and Next as well as the child’s avatar take up the screen’s corners

Depending on the Settings you made, tap on an incorrect choice and the word either buzzes or disappears.  Select the correct answer however, and the user is rewarded with a quick animation.  In our case, our cartoon skier skied past the picture.  

After answering correctly, the user is asked if he/she would like to record his/her phrase.  If you do not want to make any recording, just tap Next to go to the next item.  

Syntax4One may end the activity anytime by tapping Done.  Naturally, one would like to view a quick assessment of the child’s performance, or a ‘Report Card.’  The app asks you what would you like to access:

  • treasures found in town, or
  • the players performance

Syntax5

The former shows ‘treasures’ that the child has earned from different locations.  Those that the child has yet to earn are grayed out.  Choose the latter and you are led to a very comprehensive report of the child’s performance:

  • child’s name and date of the first session
  • a bar graph showing 
    • the different syntax activities (do-does, was-were, have-has, etc.)
    • which activities were already accomplished (grey for tasks the child has not practiced yet, green or yellow for accomplished tasks)
  • a report window that shows
    • date of the activity
    • number of participants
    • number of foils
    • how long it took to finish the task
    • accuracy, in percent
    • results: what tasks were accomplished for that day, and accuracy in percent
  • a Share button

What we love about this app:

  • engaging artwork and concept: a lot of cartoon work went into this app, the kind that can be hard to ignore and harder to not use the app with!  The concept positively invites any user to explore and see what each location offers.
  • profiles can be created via the Visitor Information screen: this one’s cute… it makes it look like you are really accomplishing a new registration form.  Save the form by tapping on the signature.
  • 50 targets per location, totalling to 400 total targets across 8 locations: and 8 different goals!!
  • allows multiple players AND individual difficulty settings: this feature is a HUGE plus!  You want three (five, tops) of your kid clients to go to Was-Were Bakery, but you want one child to work on Level 3 Was-Were, another child to use Level 1, and your third client to use Level 2.  BOOM.  You got it.
  • beautifully sharp stimulus pictures: we DID say engaging…
  • a quick animation rewards a correct answer: serves well as visual feedback
  • option to record one’s voice
  • lets child keep track of collectible treasures:  most children remain hooked on collecting stickers and badges.  In the case of Syntax City, the app makes it easy for them to check which ones they’ve already earned, and which ones are waiting to be discovered by them.
  • a very informative Report Card: the bar graph gives the teacher/clinician an idea how each child fared in any Syntax City activity AND keeps track of each (registered) child’s performance in past activities.  This matters big time.

What we hope to see in future updates:

  • an option in Settings to skip the voice recording option: a few of our kid clients get sidetracked by this option that pops out after every item.  
  • tweaked font colors in each location’s starting screen: the text in some of the locations’ starting screens were difficult to read especially if the background was similar to the fonts’ color.  Contain the text in a separate box within the picture, perhaps?

Syntax7

Syntax City can deload the clinician of the challenges behind teaching children the intricacies of learning how and when to use specific words by understanding both the picture and what is being said about it.  As with most teaching apps, the key is to carefully guide the young user in choosing the correct word and understanding what makes a sentence correct or otherwise.  This app helps one meet learning goals, many many many times over.

Price:  $24.99
Weight: 368 MB
Updated:  13 February 2013
Version: 1.2
Compatible with: iPad, iOS 5.0 or later
Target Population: children
Awesome if you want to work on:
  • syntax
  • descriptions
  • naming
  • answering Wh- questions, etc.
Customer Ratings (iTunes): 5 out of 5 stars
iSPeak App says: 5 out of 5 smileys

Happy Easter from iSPeak App: New app reviews and giveaways!

imagesHappy Easter to all! 

To celebrate Easter (and to help iSPeak App shake itself back to life), we are going to release a bunch of app review articles this week!  You just might have an app in this list that you are waiting for a review on?

And as thanks from these app developers, some of these apps are going to come with giveaways!  Best hit Ctrl+D or Cmd+D and bookmark this page because we will be posting which of these apps will float a promo code or two for you.

What’s in your iPad? Gaming apps that are therapy-worthy

And we’re back!  The school year here is about to end and we will be freed from our academic responsibilities for a few months.  To make up for our weeks of silence, we’re offering you a short list of gaming apps that almost always finds its way into our therapy activities.  Check out a few apps that simply refuse to leave our iPad:

  • PerfettoPerfetto by GoodAppl ($0.99):  This one is a bestseller among our bigger kids who love the simplicity of the task matched against immense time pressure.  Ever had one of these as a physical toy?  Quickly sort complicated shapes into their respective holes and beat the time.  Once the toy (or the app) hits 0 seconds, the toy/app “shakes,” throwing off all your pieces.  There goes all your hard work!
  • Lil Kitten Shopping CatLil’ Kitten Shopping Cart Game by PODD Corp. ($2.99):  Before you exclaim and say “$2.99!” let us tell you that this quirky app is perfect for visual attention, auditory memory, visual recall, even mental calculation, all bundled in the everyday life functionality of grocery shopping.  Momma Cat gives Lil’ Kitten grocery money and a shopping list.  Your task is to help Lil’ Kitten find and buy the items on the list.  Guide Lil’ Kitten to the correct aisles, have her push her cart down the shelves, look real hard for the item, AND choose which items are cheaper.  There even is a Sale shelf.  Up the difficulty by having your kid memorize the grocery list instead of consulting it every few seconds.  Watch Lil’ Kitten save up more and more change as she goes through each difficulty level.  We don’t know about you, but for us, this game app is SO worth it.
  • PlayHomeMy PlayHome by Shimoun Young ($3.99):  An SLP’s iPad must have at least one dollhouse app in it, and if there is, we hope it’s My PlayHome.  The characters and other items look hand-drawn and painted, with an overall look that is almost endearing.  Navigate through rooms in the house.  Drop a member of each family into any room you want.  Manipulate the curtains to open and close, feed Mom an apple, pour juice into a glass and put the glass in the sink, even have Dad bounce in the baby’s crib (not appropriate!).  Know what we mean?  Follow multi-step directions, divergent and convergent naming, language processing galore.
  • SorteeSortee by Flow Studio ($0.99):  Unbelievably priced at $0.99, this gaming app must have been designed for SLPs (maybe it was!).  Start at a level where there are two huge pipe openings on each side of the screen.  An object from afar (which is across the desert), floats fast towards you and you have but a a second or two to engage your visual recognition skills and swipe the object into its appropriate pipe (category).  More difficult levels utilize 4 pipe openings for you to swipe objects in.  If you see a cactus approaching, tap the screen with both fingers to vanquish it.
  • How It WOrksHow It Works:  Machines by Geek Kids, by Next is Great ($1.99):  For your curious machine-loving kids, this app allows one to look into everyday machines without tearing the actual ones apart.  The pieces are set apart on the screen, prompting the user to tap-drag each piece into the machine.  Assemble the car / vacuum cleaner / hair dryer, you’ve got yourself a working machine.  Whimsically drawn and easily manipulated, this is one of those apps that you’ll want to try out first before letting your young client use it.
  • Little ThingsLittle Things by KLICKTOCK ($2.99):  This is an iSpy-like game that, while perfect for older kids, can test even our own frustration tolerance levels.  Big figures are made up of tiny figures.  A list appears on the screen’s right side, prompting you to look for those items within the drawing.  This promises to hyper-engage anyone’s focused attention.

Tiny Dentist

  • Tiny Dentist by fantastoonic (FREE):  This app puts your young client on the OTHER side of the dentist’s chair.  Swipe across the patients’ faces to change clients.  Use a scaler, a drill, tweezers, even braces to remove and fill cavities, fix, whiten and beautify the teeth of several kid patients.  Guaranteed a bestseller among your kids, just lower down the volume when the scaler’s squeaking and drilling: it brings back memories of your own dental visits.
  • Phrasal Verbs MachinePhrasal Verbs Machine by Cambridge University Press (FREE):  This app is certainly for older kids or even adult clients.  Lovingly crafted into a virtual wooden case, the app quickly shows the user an animation, and then prompts the user to choose which one of the following 5 phrasal verbs matches the animation.

 

  • Endless AlphabetEndless Alphabet by Callaway Digital Arts, Inc. (FREE)  Ah, but this is not just any alphabet.  Download once, then redownload to get the rest of the letters and words.  Given a word (several times these are ‘big’ words), a bunch of monsters run across it to mess the letters up.  As you drag a letter onto its designated letter space, the letter cries out its phonemic sound over and over again.  Once you have put the word together (ex: word is “humorous), the app tells you the meaning of the word.

So there you have it!  Whether the app is paid or free, the fact is these are great therapy material, and can be used over and over again.  Check the App Store for more apps.  For all you know your target app had gone free recently :)

(registration closing soon) Hearing, Speech, Voice and Swallowing Disorders: Asian Perspective

UPDATED 10 March 2013:  Registration for St. Luke’s Medical Center’s international conference on Hearing, Speech, Voice and Swallowing Disorders:  Asian Perspective* on March 17-19, 2013 will be closing soon.  For interested parties, you may contact SLMC’s Patient Experience Division (contact details at the end of this article).  Several changes have been made on the programme as well, including the schedule of the satellite symposia.  View the updated conference programme here.

MANILA, Philippines:  St. Luke’s Medical Center’s Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery will be hosting the said conference.  The conference promises to be a rare opportunity for local and international delegates–medical doctors, otolaryngologists, audiologists, speech-language pathologists and other allied health professionals and students–to gather and share their knowledge and skills in all fields of communication disorders including dysphagia. The conference will focus on the transfer of state-of-the-art knowledge in these fields to developing and threshold countries with emphasis on audiology.

Click here to view the symposium programme’s cover (with registration details and fees). Click here to view the old conference programme.

Some of the invited speakers are:

  • James Alexander Burns, MD (USA): Dr. Burns is with the Cancer Center of Massachusetts General Hospital, specializing in head and neck cancers.  Clinical interests:  laryngeal microsurgery, phonosurgery, voice disorders, voice restoration and rejuvenation.
  • Linda J. Hood, AuD, PhD (USA):  Dr. Hood is a professor at the Department of Hearing Sciences and the Associate Director for Research at the National Center for Childhood Deafness in Vanderbilt University.
  • Karl R. White, PhD (USA):  Dr. White is the founding director of the National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management, USA, and is a professor of psychology and special education in Utah State University.
  • Jose Barajas, MD, PhD (Spain)
  • Norberto V. Martinez, MD (Philippines): Dr. Martinez is the head of St. Luke’s Hearing and Balance Disorders Laboratory, is the chairperson of the Department of Otorhinolaryngology, University of Santo Tomas Hospital and is the course director of the M.S. Clinical Audiology Program of the University of Santo Tomas.
  • William Hal Martin, PhD (USA):  Dr. Martin is an ENT at the Oregon Health and Science University and is the director of OHSU’s Tinnitus Clinic.
  • Kajsa Mia Holgers, MD (Sweden): Dr. Holgers specializes on hearing and balance disorders
  • R. Rangasayee, PhD (India): Prof. Rangasayee is the director of the Ali Yavar Jung National Institute for Hearing Handicap in Mumbai, India.
  • Doris Lewis, PhD (Brazil): Dr. Lewis is a professor and teaches the masters and doctoral program in audiology at the Pontificia Universidade Catolica de São Paulo in Brazil, focusing on pediatric hearing health care, electrophysiology and pediatric audiology, and newborn hearing screening.
  • Philip Newall, PhD (Australia):  Dr. Newall was the founding secretary of the British Association of Audiological Scientists.  He is regarded as responsible for establishing masters in clinical audiology programs in New South Wales as well as in Manila, Philippines (both at the University of the Philippines, Manila and in the University of Santo Tomas).  He is an Emeritus Professor at Macquarie University and is a Conjoint Professor at the University of Newcastle, and a Professorial Fellow at the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children in Sydney, Australia.
  • Xiaolu Li, MD (China): Dr. Li is with the Department of ENT in Nanjing Medical University, China and a research associate in the Hearing Research Unit for Children in the University of Queensland, Australia.
  • Harald A. Euler, PhD (Germany): Dr. Euler is a professor of psychology at the University of Kassel in Germany and works on the neuroimaging of stuttering.
  • Katrin Neumann, MD, PhD (Germany):  Dr. Neumann heads the Department of Phoniatrics and Pediatric Audiology as well as the Cochear Implant Center at the University of Bochum, Germany.  She is the chair of the Audiology Committee of the International Association of Logopedics and Phoniatrics (IALP) and is a consultant of the Fluency Committee.  Her research interests include stuttering treatment, using neuroimaging techniques in the evaluation of speech, language and hearing processes, and newborn hearing and language screening programs.

The conference will cover three levels that will serve the needs of the broad audience of attending professionals:

  • An academic-scientific level with keynote speeches and oral presentations.
  • An intermediate level with pratically-oriented workshops for otolaryngologists, practitioners, audiologists, speech-language pathologists, and professionals from related fields.
  • A basic level for community health workers with hands-on workshops.

Among the topics that will be covered by the said instructional courses and workshops are on tinnitus, tympanoplasty, FEES, laryngeal EMG, speech and language disorders, voice therapy, post-amplification rehabilitation, laryngeal videostroboscopy, transnasal esophagoscopy, vertigo, mastoidectomy and amplification device assessment.

To know more about this symposium, contact details are below:

Patient Experience Division

* This conference is a joint initiative of:

 

 

Work on semantic maps and mental representations using Category TherAppy

CT1 Happy 2013 everyone!

After two major holidays, two typhoons, and several visiting relatives, we have finally come up with a comprehensive review on Category TherAppy, another one of Tactus Therapy Solutions’ beautiful offerings.  As a fan of Tactus Therapy, the first thing we wondered about this (then) upcoming app was “What color theme would it be this time?”  Our next thought was “What would the app’s logo look like?” We were that excited.

With a stellar app lineup, we had high expectations of Category TherAppy, and its developers have definitely not disappointed us.  The homescreen shows the user four activities to choose from:

  • Find the category member
  • Categorize and sort the stimulus picture and/or word to its category
  • Exclude the picture and/or word that does not belong in the category implied
  • Add a picture and/or word that can belong in the category of pictures and/or words

CT2True to form, the app gives the user control on the level of difficulty of any activity selected.

  • Easy (Concrete): for basic categories such as body parts, buildings, clothing, containers, electronics, food, furniture, jobs, letters, musical instruments, plants, rooms, shapes, tools, weapons, etc. (23 in all)
  • Medium (Sub): for subcategories, like accessories, African animals, condiments, desserts, flowers, footwear, forest animals, insects, joints, parts of the face, pets, sea animals, etc. (24 in all)
  • Hard (Abstract):  for abstract categories, such as big things, cold things, hot things, kitchen items, liquids,things made of plastic, smelly things, special occasions, things found in nature, etc. (19 in all)

As with the developer’s previous apps, the rules are simple:  select the activity and the level of difficulty and the type of activity.  The next screen brings the user to a list of target categories from which one can tap the checkboxes to select, then press the right arrow.  The app asks a question and the user may touch the picture and/or word that he chooses as an answer. The choice will be outlined in green followed by a bell sound if the answer is correct.  Should the answer be incorrect, a buzzer sounds out, the picture and/or word will fade out and is boxed in red.  Correct answers are scored on the screen’s top right.  Incorrect answers are counted only once per item.

CT3There are Hint buttons in the Exclude and Add One activities.  The Hint button, for example, reveals the category name to which all items belong to barring one (in Exclude).

Of course, no current app of Tactus Therapy’s is without the Results box that comes out either at the end of an activity or when the user taps the Home button.  The Results box shows:

  • Items answered / total items (percentage)
  • Continue
  • Try Again
  • Email Results
  • Done

In the main screen’s top right corner is the Settings button, and this allows a high degree of customisability for the clinician.

  • CT10Maximum Number of Trials: options are 10, 25, 50 or All.  “All” refers to the total items of all the target categories that the user has selected prior to starting the activity
  • Target Type:  allows the clinician to select how the question and options will be shown, is it to be as Words & Pictures, Pictures Only, or Words Only
  • Field Size:  a field size of Small will show 3 choices, Medium shows 4 choices, and Large will show 6 choices
  • Default Email Address for Results
  • Child-Friendly Mode: one can toggle this on or off as needed.  Toggling this on, for example, removes the target category “Weapons” from the Easy (Concrete) level of difficulty
  • Audio Reinforcement of Category:  this works only for the Exclude and Add One modes.  If this is toggled on and the user makes the correct answer in either mode, the app tells the user the category name.

CT8What we love about this app:

  • retains the clean, sharp design that its predecessors have been known for: we all know how crucial this is especially if one works with older clients with visual issues, or with individuals who are relatively distractible.
  • well-chosen picture stimuli: these are crisp and stands out against the white background
  • stimulus picture shrinks into the correct category the user has chosen: this is seen in the Classify activity, and helps establish the idea that the picture is “taken in” by the category the user had correctly selected.
  • stimulus picture moves into the empty box: seen in the Add One activity, the picture that the client had selected moves to take its place along three other pictures that belong in the same category.
  • age-appropriate pictures: older individuals may be more familiar with the form of film cameras than of digital cameras.
  • several categories are familiar and appropriate to older kids and adults: as with the previous apps, this app was designed to be used by older individuals.  Concepts such as things made of fabric, toiletries, and meats are a welcome addition to more common target categories.
  • lightweight:  weighing at 24.2 mb, it is hard to believe that this packs 700 images and a lot of voice clips.
  • A screenshot of the app on the iPhone 5.

    A screenshot of the app on the iPhone 5.

    available for iPhones and iPod Touches, and is optimized for iPhone 5: we were lucky enough to finally upgrade our iPhone 3GS to iPhone 5, and we saw that the app stands out nice and clear in the phone’s Retina, widescreen display.  Despite the difference in screen real estate, the Retina screen makes up for it and makes the letters readable.

  • affordable: this is a worthy $15 investment as this can be used over and over again across clients.

What we hope to see in future updates:

  • an option in Settings to remove the audio button under the stimulus pictures/words: we used the app with a couple of our older clients with fine motor problems, and they accidentally press on the audio button rather than the picture/word.
  • an added feature for iPhones and iPod Touches to zoom in on pictures:  several pictures are too small to be visually understood when displayed in smaller screens.  While the app does not offer the pinch-zoom function, it may benefit the client who uses the app in an iPhone/iPod Touch if a tap-zoom function can be added.

Working on categories is a common activity in language therapy.  What Category TherAppy has managed to do is to collate four kinds of activities into one tight, comprehensive app, and spruced it up with customizable field sizes, filtered target categories, cue types, and best of all, difficulty levels that range from concrete to abstract categories.  With 700 images in 70 categories, one can do so much with this app with any client.  By taking on the bulk of preparation from the clinician, more time can be devoted into helping one’s client process what is on the screen and providing ample feedback.  In our iOS device, Category TherAppy falls under our select “high frequency” apps… if you know what we mean.

Price:  $14.99
Weight: 24.2 MB
Released: 11 November 2012
Version: 1.0
Compatible with: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Target Population: children & adults
Awesome if you want to work on:
  • naming (objects, categories, places, etc.)
  • associations
  • descriptions
  • answering what and why questions
  • etc.
Customer Ratings (iTunes): 5 out of 5 stars
iSPeak App says: 5 out of 5 smileys

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas season means giveaways from Tactus Therapy!

Tactus Therapy Solutions, the makers of the apps we reviewed such as Comprehension TherAppy, Naming TherAppy, Writing TherAppy, Reading TherAppy, Visual Attention TherAppySpaced Retrieval TherAppy and Category TherAppy (review coming soon!) is going to sprinkle your Christmas season with giveaways right in their Facebook page.  From December 6 to 21, a day-long app contest featuring free apps will be announced at 4:00 pm PST.  Codes will be given away to followers who “like” their Facebook page, follow them on Twitter, answer a question, or write a review.  If you want a chance to win one (or more!) of their beautiful apps, zip by their Facebook page and keep joining until the 21st.  

Remember that all their apps are compatible with iOS devices (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch). Sign up for their newsletter if you want to be updated as to when they will be releasing Android- / Windows-compatible versions.