Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Visual Perception - FREE Apps that help give your eyes a work out

We had Occupational Therapy yesterday for Little Miss M, and the focus of the session was Visual Perception. As I watched our very talented therapist spread different pieces to a puppet out on the table and challenge Little Miss M to find the right ones, the wheels in my brain started turning. The session moved onto Tangram-like puzzles and hidden pictures and picture differences on the computer. All I kept thinking was, there have to be apps for this and I really must compile them because, surely, Little Miss M cannot be the only child struggling with Visual Perception.

As defined by The Free Dictionary by Farlex, Visual Perception is:
The capacity of the mind and eye to "see" something as it objectively exists.

Little Miss M's Occupational Therapist showed me the website: www.eyecanlearn.com. It has a bunch of puzzles and activities for visual exercises. For the most part, the website offers activities that need to be facilitated. There is not an opportunity to highlight or circle on the screen. However, this is a great starting point to see where help may be needed for the student. Little Miss M was clearly struggling, and I couldn't help but think that an interactive app might be the way to go. And, before I committed to anything that cost money, I was going to explore my FREE options!

I started with 3D Puzzle for Kids (iPad/iPhone Free). The Free version only allows you to complete three levels of each puzzle. The shape puzzles were cubes, spheres and pyramids. You can choose either alphabet faces or animal faces for the pictures. The first three levels are not terribly difficult. There is background music and the app makes a ding sound when you get a piece in the right place. There is also rewarding clapping when you complete the puzzle correctly. The app also has the capability of dragging the puzzle in any direction, using directional arrows or your fingers to manipulate the pieces and enlarging or reducing the size of the puzzle.
To Download the FREE version 3D Puzzle for Kids (iPad/iPhone), please support Smart Apps for Special Needs by clicking this button:

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There are In-App purchases for the extended version as well as external links to purchase more games.
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Next, I moved on to apps that would help Little Miss M find the difference between two alike pictures. 

The first app I tried in this category was Kids' Puzzles - Find the Differences - again, I tried the Free version.  I really liked this puzzle app. The child touched on the picture, where they see a difference. If they are correct, a green circle appears on both pictures; if they are incorrect, a red "X" appears for a short amount of time, and time is taken off the clock. The player is given two chances for hints as well. There are Easy, Medium and Hard settings for the puzzle. The Free version has 16 puzzles, each with three different levels.

Do download the FREE version of Kid's Puzzles - Find the Differences (iPad/iPhone), please support Smart Apps for Special Needs by clicking this button:

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It states right on the homepage that there are Ads, but they are removed once you purchase any picture set. There are also external links and In-App purchases.
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I moved on to try Spot the Difference HD Lite. The free version has 20 different puzzles with a variety of pages and expectations within. For example, if the player chooses the first level of the doghouse; round one may ask them to find three differences, round two may only have two differences, etc. It seems to vary from round to round, and (at least in the free version) there was no end to the round. This app was very quick to offer help and was far too visually distracting for me. However, it was easier and the charming music might be motivational for younger players.

If you would like to download the FREE Version of Spot the Difference HD Lite (iPad Only), please support Smart Apps for Special Needs by clicking this button:


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Again, the free version has ADS, that can be removed by purchasing the Full Version. There are external links to Facebook and Twitter. The In-App purchases are for the Full Version
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Moving right along, I tried out Find the Differences - Farm Animals! This one was good too, as you could choose from three different skill level - Easy, Medium or Hard. However, with the free version, the player only gets two different puzzles to choose from. The music is cute, and it is rewarding to find the correct differences, but I had trouble - as the adult - finding all of the differences on the medium level.

If you would like to download Find the Differences - Farm Animals! (iPad/iPhone), please support Smart Apps for Special Needs by clicking this button:


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No Ads, but there are external links and In-App Purchases.
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Last up to try was Highlights Hidden Pictures Countdown (iPad only). There are three different games to choose from. The player can choose Level Up, and race against the clock; Showdown, and go head-to-head with family and friends; or if they possess the DUO POP (which we do not), the player can compete using that. The free version of Level Up includes four puzzles. This app took me back to doing the puzzles in our Highlights magazine, but it was so much more rewarding and interactive. The puzzle was not easy, but I certainly had a lot of fun! Showdown can be played with 2 - 6 players. Each player is given a certain amount of time to find a picture and then the iPad is passed. This app has limitless potential for interactive play and visual perception.

If you would like to download Highlights Hidden Pictures Countdown (iPad Only), please support Smart Apps for Special Needs by clicking this button:


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No Ads, but there are external links and In-App Purchases for the full version. 
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Of all the apps I tried to give Little Miss M's visual perception a good workout, I am probably most likely going to purchase the Full versions of Highlights Hidden Pictures Countdown and Kid's Puzzles - Find the Differences. For now, though, I am going to challenge her with the free versions and see how long I can keep her attention on the app, while also focusing on how well the apps work at training her visual perception skills. 

** Please note: Some of these apps have in-app purchases, but they can easily be disabled in the settings of your device. There are also ads and social network links in some of these apps. Only the app's developer can control when an app is free or not. All apps that we post as free are verified to be free at the time of this post. We make no guarantees otherwise.**


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Amanda is learning a lot about her own visual perception abilities by helping her daughter work through her difficulties.

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