SLPeeps, I have been a terrible SLPBlogger the past few months, and I apologize. Graduate school is finally over (!), and end-of-degree busyness is no longer a priority! I’m on vacation this week, so I’m all yours. And what better time to start back up than Better Hearing and Speech Month?! So, what new apps have I been using the past month or two? Well, working with adults since January, I of course have been using my Tactus Therapy apps like crazy (read my thoughts on this one and this one). In addition, however, I have started using a new AAC evaluation app. I bought it a little while back but only recently have had a frequent use for it. Without further ado…
App:AAC Evaluation Genie
What It Is: An informal diagnostic tool for determining the AAC-related skills of an individual by Hump Software.
A couple months ago, I reviewed a great little app, Timer+ Touch. In the review, I focused on how great it could be for using with adults with developmental disabilities (as well as almost any other population). The developer of this app recently contacted me saying that they now have a brand new app, Talk+ Touch. Since we are right in the middle of International AAC Awareness Month AND Down Syndrome Awareness Month, I thought it would be a perfect app to share and discuss.
As you may know, October is International AAC Awareness Month! Ever since I started this blog, people have asked me a million variations of the same question: “What is the best AAC app out there?” My short answer is usually something like, “Well, AAC is by nature so individualized that there is not one perfect AAC app out there. Check out [insert list of resources] to figure out which one would best match the individual you’re supporting.” While I stand by this answer, in honor of AAC awareness, and in honor of all the AT specialists dying a little inside every time they hear that question, I want to give the longer answer, too.
I am branching out a little with this review, since LessonPix is an online tool not an app; however, I’m completely convinced that it will still be worth my readers’ time! Obviously, I love what tablets and phones can do in therapy–after all, I do devote hours each week to evaluating apps and sharing them with others. But I readily admit that sometimes an app just won’t do it. Sometimes an app isn’t available for a particular skill, or sometimes using a tablet/phone isn’t appropriate with a particular client, or sometimes it’s important that a different medium be used (e.g. when focusing on skills that require manipulation of a physical object). And sometimes *gasp* there is an app that could address a skill appropriately, but it’s not the best way to address it. Shocking, right? Of course not, because you are all wonderful critical thinkers who long ago realized that the iPad is an awesome tool, not a panacea. That said, the unfortunate thing about many non-app activities is how time-consuming lesson planning/preparing can become. Hopefully this review will help you make the process more efficient. Oh…and did I forget to mention there is a GIVEAWAY accompanying this review?? See the giveaway post for details on how to enter to win.
What It Is: An online tool for creating customized materials from an extensive clipart library.
This app review is going to be a little “out of the box.” I’m hoping that even if you and your clients don’t go specifically to Starbucks, you can find some ideas here to generalize to other coffee shops or even places like grocery stores. (For those of you who pretend you like prefer Tim Hortons or Dunkin’ Donuts, I’ve heard there are similar apps out there.) This review actually stems from a group project I participated in during a graduate class last semester, and I think it is worth sharing. We were supposed to come up with a way for an adult with a communication disorder to go into a coffee shop and order their favorite coffee without using verbal communication. We quickly realized that it would be easy (and “normal”) for someone to order by largely just using the Starbucks app. Since coffee shops have become a place for people to do everything from meetings to paperwork to socializing, being able to efficiently order using an app that the baristas are already familiar with could be a huge plus. So, here are my thoughts about the app and how it can be implemented in therapy.
What It Is: An app for ordering your coffee at Starbucks.
There are several American Sign Language (ASL) apps on the market, but I have been largely dissatisfied with the ones I’ve tried so far. So, similar to the Artik Pix review I posted a couple of weeks ago, I want this post to be less of my singular viewpoint and more of your comparisons. Again, I’ll review one of the apps I have, and then you can chime in with how your app compares. Feel free to just give a brief overview or go into more detail–anything that you think will help us find a good ASL app (or weed out the bad ones).
What It Is: An English-to-ASL translator and dictionary by BKS Investment.