I’ve used (and even reviewed) apps by this developer before, so I was excited to hear they had a new app coming out and wanted me to review it! Life got in the way, so it has already been out a couple months now, but I am still thrilled to share it with you.
App: Talking Train
What It Is: An app that features a train with an engine and three cars that can be customized to promote story-telling, sequencing, and more by all4mychild.
How It Works: Customize the engine and three cars to make stories, write out the steps to a task, and more. Customization includes typing, drawing, and adding photos. Record the story (or whatever you made the train into), then press play to hear it back. Touching above the engine causes puffs of smoke to appear one by one, and pressing sends the train on it’s way and then back again. There is an email button built in to allow you to send the recording and picture of the train to yourself, the child, parent, teacher, etc.
Therapy Applications: The developers took time to share eight ways they suggest using the app in the info section (touch the little “i” in the upper right corner of the screen), so no need for me to repeat them word-for-word. They have great ideas for story-telling (original or retell), sequencing simple tasks, facilitating motor activities, question formation, group conversation, activities of daily living/self-care, left-right directionality, and more! Personally, I have frequently used this app for story-telling, even with kids without disabilities. (See the screenshot of how I used it with a friend’s kiddos–we made a story surrounding “Aubrey Comes to Visit!”) But oftentimes the skills I’m addressing have nothing to do with story-telling (well, at least directly). Many times I am just eliciting spontaneous speech/language to work on other goals (everything from articulation to asking and answering wh questions). Since trains are one of the “three T’s” (you know, those things that so many children’s lives revolve around, trucks and tractors being the other two), the app also serves as a motivator for nearly any young child. So, can’t get Sammy to say any of your /s/ target words? Write/draw/add a photo of them to each car of the train, then let him press go once he says them! Everything is more fun in a train–even articulation therapy. Extra bonus: the record/play option makes for excellent auditory bombardment and/or feedback. That’s just one example, but you can address many preschool/early elementary goals in this manner.
Pros: 1. Price!
2. Versatile. The app’s design makes it easy to use it in ways it wasn’t intended!
3. Fun. The kids (especially those “three T”-loving ones) are enthralled by everything from the train to the record option.
4. Great visual representation of event/task sequencing.
Cons: 1. I wish there were more customization options. For example, there isn’t a way to make the drawings in color. Also, it would be super cool to be able to add extra cars to the train for sequencing longer tasks, telling longer stories, etc.
The Take-Away: Another app from all4mychild that can be used a new way every day! For such a low price, this app should be on every preschool/early elementary SLP’s iDevice.
My Questions for You: What goals could you address using this app? Would you always use it for story telling/sequencing or other purposes as well?
Disclosure: all4mychild provided me with a free copy of this app to review. I was not compensated in any way for the review, and they were aware that I would be discussing the app’s strengths and weaknesses.