Monday, July 18, 2016

Featured App: How Do You Know? teaches children critical thinking and inferential skills with over 500 pictures and questions.

This handy app for iPad and iPhone helps children decide what they are looking at based on clues they see. By choosing the best answer for each picture, children are tapping into critical thinking skills and are learning how to describe why they have chosen their answers. This app is great for young users but also very valuable to special needs students who need an extra push answering "How?" and "Why?" questions and finishing sentences that begin with, "Because..". The $4.99 price tag also makes this app very accessible to users on a budget.

If you would like to download this app, please use this link and support Smart Apps for Kids:
iPad/iPhone ($4.99)

Google Play ($4.99)

Amazon App Store ($4.99)
SAFK NO ads NOiap NO ELThis app has no ads, no in-app purchases and no external links.

Our beautiful Ellie recorded a demonstration video for your viewing pleasure so you can see the app in action:

  IMG_1301The app opens to a home screen where users can choose start, settings, reports or information. In start, new users can be created or chosen from previously using the app. There are no pics, just user names in this section and set-up is quick and painless. Type a name, click next then users are taken to settings for that user where audio cue, sounds, "Let's Talk About It" and manual scoring can be turned off or on. The audio cue refers to narration of text and sound settings turn the cheerleading responses and sound effects off or on. Manual scoring leaves scoring to be recorded off screen and the Let's Talk About It feature can be turned on so that no answers or choices are given which pushes users to create their own responses.
Once a user has been chosen play can begin. There are 16 categories to choose from including IMG_1304places, occupations, emotions, activities, conditions & states of being, events, time & holidays, weather, animals and variants of those listed. There is also an option to have a category chosen at random. Once a category is chosen, users pick how many questions will be in the set ranging from one to fourteen. Students are then shown a picture with a question. There are three choices listed below (unless the option has been chosen to answer verbally) and these are all narrated if that option has been selected. For instance, "What is the event?" and then three answers of "concert, marathon, play" are the choices. When an incomplete choice is made, a sound effect is played and users are encouraged to look again. A correct choice asks another question to explain the choice, "How do you know? Because I see..." followed by three more choices that may or may not describe the scene above. Answers are calculated and saved. Reports can be accessed in the reports section by clicking the user name. The first glimpse of the IMG_1306reports are dates, categories, quantity of questions and scores. By clicking on a specific category, the report expands to show number of tries, settings and questions. This can be emailed from within the app and read by recipients without needing to have the app installed.
How Do You Know? targets the following language goals (as stated in the general information section IMG_1307 of the app): "question comprehension (who, what, where, when and how), verbal reasoning strategies to make inferences, critical thinking skills to distinguish key details, build vocabulary and semantic knowledge, use pictures to build concept imagery, recognize and label associated vocabulary, practice reading comprehension at sentence level, verbal reasoning skills.". Speech therapists, parents and teachers will be amazed at the ease with which they and their students can use this app as well as how helpful it is trying to get students to make the connection between simple answers and explaining those answers. For just $4.99 a lot of help is at your fingertips.

CtagbigCynthia added this app to her son's device so she feels like she's still educating her kiddo over the summer. *Smart Apps for Kids was paid a promotional fee for this post.

Guest Review by Jenni: Custom Boards Premium from Smarty Ears

4.5 stars

 Bottom Line: Custom boards is a great time saving app meant for any age. This app allows you to create unique and individualized materials for just about anything, including articulation, expressive language, receptive language, fluency, and any other idea you can think of! Materials can also be easily saved and shared with others.

If you would like to download this app, please use this link to support Smart Apps for Kids:
iPad ($49.99)

SAFKNOadsNOiapYESelLinks to social media (facebook, twitter, and pinterest), as well as additional apps under the support section, no ads, no in-app purchases.

Snip20160718_3Smarty Ears has created another great app with Custom Boards. While this is not a new app (first released in 2012), I wish I had known about it so much sooner! To begin, this is not your “normal” app. You may not be opening up the iPad and using this directly with your child or client (but you certainly can!), I feel this is meant to create and print materials to use.

There are six different areas to choose from when making your custom board: activities and games, Snip20160718_4devices and switches, signs and labels, grids and boards, schedules and calendars, and worksheets. With more than 126 templates and growing, you can create a daily schedule, bingo, dice, sudoku, or create your own interactive book. The options are endless! You will be able to create materials for any goal area including articulation, grammar, sequencing, synonyms/antonyms, fluency and overlays for several different communication devices. Seriously, this list could go on and on! Articulation may be the easiest because the images are sorted by category but then can be sorted by initial, medial, or final sounds. If you find the 10,000 images in the app are not enough, you can also add pictures from Google or your camera.

Snip20160718_5While it is great for therapists, it can also be beneficial for parents and teachers! Parents may want this for additional practice, while teachers may create their own activities, including graphic organizers, sequencing, spelling, etc.

In my time using apps, I have truly found two or three apps that I could honestly say I love. After Snip20160718_6using this app, I will tell you Custom Boards will be added to this list. Why did I love this app so much? The major reason is because it will save me time. As a busy speech language pathologist, I don’t always have time to sort through five different books to find materials to work on and/or send home. I can’t tell you the number of game boards and hide and seek games that I created from scratch last year. Custom Boards will take of all of that! Seriously, no more standing in front of the copier resizing images, followed by cutting, taping, copying all over again (I know I am not the only one who does this). With Custom Boards, I was able to make a few different activities in less than 5 minutes! The only reason I did not give this app 5 stars is due to the price. While it is a great app, Custom Boards is expensive and may cause some people to hesitate to purchase it.
Custom boards is a great time-saving app meant for any age. This app allows you to create unique and individualized materials for just about anything, including articulation, expressive language, receptive language, fluency and any other idea you can think of! Materials can also be easily saved and shared with others.

JenniJenni is a speech language pathologist and guest reviewer on Smart Apps for Kids.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Review: ABA Preference simplifies assessments for parents, teachers and therapists.

Abathumb Stars3.5

Bottom Line: This app makes assessments very simple to conduct for figuring out personalized motivators for each client as well as keeping that information in one easy to navigate space. Although the app works well with no bugs, be aware of how the app is going to be used and how often as cost may become an issue.

If you would like to download this app, please support Smart Apps for Kids and use this handy link:
(iPad/iPhone 0.99)

SAFK NO Ads ExLinks YES IAPThis app has no ads, no external links and in-app purchases.

IMG_0790ABA Preference opens to a log-in screen where users can create an account for the first use and then just login thereafter. After logging in, users are in the dashboard section of the app where they can create clients or view clients in a list ordered by name, diagnosis or company. To create a client, users input the first name and first initial of the last name, date of birth, diagnosis, and school or company. App users can also add a photo of the client. Once the client is saved, he or she also appears in the view clients section. By choosing a client in this section, there are several choices: the client information can be shared (emailed), a new assessment can be created or a history of assessments for this client can be viewed. The app also provides a "How To" section to explain how to create and administer the assessment.
To create an assessment, therapists can use photos from the device camera roll or take pictures in-app. There are six spots for pictures and each can be IMG_0793cropped as needed. During an assessment, clients are shown pairs of items and have to choose one. After the choices have run their course, the app presents the pictures in order of desirability to the client along with the percentage of times each photo was chosen. This information can be emailed along with a pre-written explanation about what an assessment is for and how it is performed. I have included a faux assessment I performed with my cat, Norbert, as a client for illustrative purposes. When making assessments, I would have loved having access to a library in-app as that would be a huge time-saver with much better photos than I take.
NorbertThe app costs .99 initially and comes with five credits. Credits are used to create assessments, one at a time. Here is why that is important. I have created an assessment for a client and several months later, his preference for certain items seems to have changed. I can not simply reuse a previous assessment. I must create a new assessment, even if the objects are the same and use another credit. There are several choices for purchasing credits, single credit purchases at .99 each, ten credits for $6.99 or the premium package of unlimited credits for a monthly subscription of $19.99. IMG_0795
  The app is cleanly laid out and easy to navigate with no bugs. Although there are three tiers of purchase points, I strongly recommend users decide quickly how much they will be using the app. For example, a parent that needs to make just a few assessments for one child will find a gem with this app at a reasonable cost, but a professional that has eight clients and several assessments for each will find the monthly subscription fits their needs, but in the end may not save too much time because they will be creating new assessments each time.

Ctag2Cynthia thinks it's important for everyone to know that Norbert the cat was not harmed in the making of this review. *Smart Apps for Kids was paid a priority review fee for this post.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Review: Listening Power Preschool HD has all the bells and whistles for teaching kids how to listen.

Listen 5stars



Bottom Line: Listening skills can be very difficult for some kids and Patti Hamaguchi, Speech-Pathologist, has come to save the day with Listening Power Preschool HD. This app is packed with stories, questions and options to adjust everything in between. In addition, this app enables users to create individual profiles or groups and each profile can be set to get harder or easier depending on how well they are doing.


If you would like to download this app, please use these handy links and support Smart Apps for Kids:

iPad ($19.99)




Lite version:

iPad (.99)




SAFKNOadsNOiapYESelThis app has no ads, no in-app purchases and parent-protected external links.




IMG_0617The app homescreen leads to all areas of the app including a demonstration video, users, settings, information, more apps by this developer and a button to start playing. The demonstration video is parent-protected and is just over seven minutes long that explains everything parents, teachers or therapists need to know about adding users, creating groups and customizing use of the app. Users can hit the home button or click on the settings button from this page.

The users section is cleanly designed for ease of use. This page is where users are created and selected to play as individuals or groups. There are tips on IMG_0618  how to add or select profiles posted next to items and there is also an option to view data accumulated for each group and individual. The buttons to return home and settings are included in this screen as well as a help button that answers common questions about renaming, adding and settings. Users can also proceed to play from this screen.

In settings, there is a home button and at the top right of the screen users will see the name of the user or group these IMG_0619settings are for. There are seven settings buttons on this page. Activities includes the five activities in the app: listening for descriptions, listening for directions, listening for grammar and meaning, listening for stories with pictures and listening for stories without pictures. Each activity's level can be set for easy, intermediate or advanced and answer choices can be set for two, three or four with four being the hardest. This button also gives users the choice between automatic or manual showing of the activities. The answer choices button in settings gives users the option to automatically show choices or have them manually presented where a button must be pressed to reveal choices. Levels button is used to choose between auto advance/drop (difficulty will get easier or harder depending on play) or manually. The bubble game button lets users IMG_0620turn the game on or off as choose how often it comes up as a reward. The tracking button lets users turn tracking on or off and choose where or not to display scores which is a very nice feature to keep children from getting discouraged. Text can be turned off or on. While this is an auditory-centered app, this custom setting can be very helpful depending on the environment the app is to be used or even as a reading comprehension app. Narration and sounds can be adjusted on another button and finally, there is a play button.

IMG_0624Back to the homescreen to another super-cool section, information. This area shows what users might expect such as credits and the purpose of the app, but it also has the fabulous features of being able to email or print all of the stories. It is 69 pages worth of reinforcement that can be sent to other adults working with the child or children and listening skills. The last button on the home page links to all the other Hamaguchi apps and there are a lot to choose from.

After users have been created and settings made, play can begin. The app is best used with a parent or educator for kids with short attention spans, but IMG_0628adjusting the rewards and levels can make the app easy to play without strict oversight. The activities are cleanly described in their titles. For example, the listening for descriptions section narrates questions such as "Show me the longest one." and children are shown the appropriate amount of choices in pictures. Wrong choices are recorded, but there is no auditory response for incorrect taps. When correct answers are chosen, a quick animation and/or narration is played.

IMG_0625The app had no technical issues while I tinkered and played. I sat my son down to practice those listening skills and loved how the automatic features and custom settings could be adjusted appropriately. The app is very clearly designed and it was easy to move from one area to another. The pictures were also right on-point and unambiguous as choices. Overall, this app delivers all it promises with tons of settings, ease of use and attractive, intuitive layout.



Ctag2Cynthia had to take care of kids while playing one of the activities and failed because she stopped listening. *Smart Apps for Kids was paid a priority review fee for this post.