Thursday, April 3, 2014

Review: iName It - Targets Word Recall of Household Items

Purpose of the app:  iName it was specifically designed by a speech language pathologist to target word retrieval skills of common names for household items. It targets word recall of functional vocabulary with five different evidence based cueing options. 

Strengths:  Supports three languages (English, Spanish and Portuguese). Features realistic pictures of everyday household items ideal for older students. Contains evidence-based cueing options and data collection features (compatible with The Therapy Report Center also by Smarty Ears). 

Weaknesses:  Not much to appeal to young children. Doesn't lend itself well to group therapy sessions and there aren't any customization features.

Suggested Audience:  Although this app was designed for use with adults, it could easily be used with children or adolescents with word finding difficulties or anyone who would benefit from visual, phonemic or sentence completion cues. 

Star Rating Breakdown

Meets Intended Goal
Worth the Price
Ease of Use
Educational Value
Level of Customization

If you would like to download iName it (iPad, $14.99), please support Smart Apps for Special Needs by using the link provided:

No ads or in-app purchases. External links to social media and other apps by Smarty Ears.

I love apps with great animation and funny sound effects for my very young caseload, but therapists working with older children are often looking for more age-appropriate apps. iName it is another solid offering from Smarty Ears. It focuses on common items found in the home environment and offers a step-by-step method to address and cue word retrieval skills. Fifty nouns are presented in groups of ten with five different scenes including: bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, garage and living room. It's nice to see an app that features realistic depictions of the targets in the setting in which they would be found.

Users have the option to select from three languages (English, Spanish and Portuguese) which is a great feature as many SLPs work with bilingual clients. Once a language is selected, you click "start practice." Adding users is simple, and players can also be imported from the Therapy Report Center. Unlike many other therapy apps, iName it is a single player app which makes it more difficult to use in a group therapy setting.
Select one of the five scenes and the room appears with a tray of ten target nouns at the bottom. A small tab at the top of the tray moves the tray out of view or brings it back up. Pushing the "eye" icon changes the background of the room to black and white leaving only the target items in color. Tapping any of the targets within the scene highlights that target only. It would be nice to be able to select a target from the tray as it was sometimes difficult to isolate some of the smaller items like the tube of toothpaste in the bathroom.

Once a target is highlighted, two buttons appear in the upper right-hand corner. The data collection system is simple: select the green check mark if the target is correctly labeled. If the student does not respond or is incorrect, tap the blue icon for five additional cues. I really like that these cues are evidence-based and gradually increase from a minimal cue to the max cue of actually saying and spelling the entire word on the screen.

The first cue is simply the first two letters on the screen with dashes to represent the remaining letters. Second is a description of the item presented verbally and in written form. Cue three is a sentence completion cue. A phonemic cue is presented as the fourth option and the fifth cue is actual target word. The "got it" check mark can be selected at any time, as soon as the item is correctly labeled, but all five cues must be used before selecting "missed it." I found it a little frustrating that you couldn't access the "missed it" button without presenting all five cue options.

The results section provides the date of practice, overall accuracy without cues, overall accuracy with cues and identifies which of the cues was most successful for that student. This is wonderful information to be shared with parents so they can learn to use the cues that work best for their child. Results can be printed, emailed or exported to the Therapy Report Center.

A support section gives more information about the app and the research behind it. It features a video tutorial that demonstrates the capabilities of the app by its creator. Contact support, other apps by the developer and links to social media can also be found in this section.   

I'll admit, this app doesn't have the fun bells and whistles that make other apps exciting, but it does accomplish its purpose in an organized and realistic manner, based on sound research. It will appeal to older students who may be embarrassed with more juvenile apps. The available content is good, but there are no customization features to add more pictures and you have to present all cueing options in order to collect data. Therapists working with an older population or with a mix of younger and older clients should consider adding this tool to their therapy repertoire.   

Sarah completely distracted every student on her caseload this week when she wore her glasses instead of her usual contact lenses to school. Smart Apps for Special Needs was given a free copy of this app. No other compensation was provided.

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