April 2nd, 2014, is World Autism Awareness Day, and the whole month of April is dedicated to raising Autism Awareness and Acceptance. As UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says in his Message for World Autism Awareness Day 2014 “World Autism Awareness Day is about more than generating understanding; it is a call to action. I urge all concerned to take part in fostering progress by supporting education programmes, employment opportunities and other measures that help realize our shared vision of a more inclusive world.” My hope for this month is that people can come together, whatever their differences, and work towards better understanding of children and adults with Autism and towards that vision of a more inclusive world. In this spirit I hope this month that we can move on from Autism awareness to acceptance, understanding, inclusion and helping families affected by ASD to find the help and support they need, so that our children with Autism can go on to realize their full potential.
People all over the world will be putting Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) under the spotlight this month and here at The iMums we will be highlighting apps that are helpful for children on the Autism Spectrum and running a series of articles written by mums of children, or young adults, with ASD giving their unique perspectives. It is important to realize that “if you have met one person with Autism, you’ve met one person with Autism”, although people with ASD face many common challenges, they are all unique individuals and deserve to be treated as such. The CDC just released a new report on the prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in children aged 8 in the USA. The figure in this report is approximately 1 in 68 children, compared to 1 in 88 reported in 2012, 1 in 110 reported in 2006 and 1 in 150 reported in 2000 and 2002. Obviously it is a concern that the reported rate keeps increasing, and it is important for more studies to be done to find out why this is happening – is it due to more accurate diagnosis, a true increase in prevalence or both? However, it is also important to realize it is a limited study- it only included 8 year-old children in 11 communities across the USA, and the reported rate in each of these communities varied widely, so it may not be a true reflection of the true national prevalence. One thing that I did find encouraging in the report was that 46% of the children identified with ASD had average or above average intellectual ability (IQ < 85), this is higher than in past reports. More severely impacted children are easier to diagnose, so this increase suggests that children who might have been missed in the past are now being diagnosed, which means they and their families are more likely to get the help they need.
Early Intervention is very important so please visit the CDC’s Learn the Signs. Act Early website for developmental milestones checklists and talk to your doctor if you have any concerns.
As well as focusing on helping children with ASD I think it is also important to celebrate the positive, and this month Geek club Books, Mighty League Moms and The Autism Society of America are launching a campaign called “Autimism” (rhymes with optimism) . This encourages us to focus on the positive and be optimistic about the power and potential of those with Autism. Autimism aims to CHANGE from can’t to CAN , from awareness to ACCEPTANCE and ignoring to INCLUDING. We are proud to support this campaign and have contributed a roundup of our favorite Apps for Autism.
Many App Developers will be celebrating Autism Awareness Day and Autism Awareness Month by putting their apps on sale or even free – we will keep an up-to-date list of all the sales as we hear of them. Many deals will only last one day so make sure you check back frequently.
We will be publishing a series of guest articles this month from Mums of children or young adults with ASD, and I will add links here as the posts are published. Our first new article will be from Jodi Murphy of Geek Club Books. If you are reading this and would like to add your voice and tell your story please contact us at info(at)theimums.com. We will also be publishing an updated list of our favorite Apps For Autism and it contains links to our full reviews of many of these apps.
On a personal note I am also the mother of a child with ASD, so this month is close to my own heart. He was diagnosed less than 2 years ago, so this only our 2nd Autism Awareness Day where we have officially been a family affected by ASD. I will be taking time to celebrate my own son’s uniqueness, and his achievements, as he and I navigate this journey together.
Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).
engaging, bright colorful animations that help children practice their ABC’s in a fun and interactive way
What we’d love to see…
Tracking in the parent dashboard for areas of improvement
Top notch ABC app that also teaches spelling and phonics in a fun and engaging way
Avokiddo ABC Ride by Avokiddo is a universal app for iOS designed to help your children learn their ABC’s in a fun and interactive way with Beck and Bo. This app allows your children to ride a bike along a path and for each letter there is a “stop” where they learn and practice a specific letter while having trying out each letter in a way that helps them remember. The app not only practices letters, it also includes spelling practice, a game along with each letter along with interactions which help children remember each letter and familiarize them with a specific word to remember it. This app practices expressive and receptive language, spelling, fine motor skills including dragging, gripping and pinching.
My son loved the magnet and spelling out the various words in the app – I liked that he could put the letters on in whatever way he wanted to as long as they were correct, however, it would be nice to see a setting that requires the letters to be put on in sequential order. The app allows for exploration and pairing of words that begin with the appropriate letter, through a game like setting that encourages children to play while learning which is an outstanding way to engage and teach. I also liked that the app taught phonetic sounds as well as the ability to sound words out – this encourages early literacy and pre-reading skills among the youngest children and encourages them to pair sounds with specific letters.
In terms of enhancements, I would like to see the ability to “turn off” the additional apps button in the parent dashboard. Even though it is child locked, my son asked why we couldn’t get the other apps. I would also like to see a percentage correct when the spelling activity is done as well as some basic reporting available in the parent area as well.
This is one of our favorite ABC apps today and provides great educational content and activities for children that engage and teach at the same time.
Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. They have a variety of devices including an iPad, iPhone, and an iPod and is often found with a device! My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.
A variety of language concepts with different difficulty levels and the large number of questions.
What we’d love to see…
Ability to customize each user’s preferences in the settings.
An app with a large question bank for learning basic and advanced language concepts and improving language comprehension skills.
Language skill builder is an straightforward app that helps users develop language skills through short quizes covering a variety of language concepts. It is easy to use and you can create multiple user profiles, each with detailed data collection and reports.
What struck me when I looked at the language concepts targeted in this app is the inclusion of advanced and abstract concepts that are typically not available in apps. The app comes with 11 modules:-
* Receptive Language modules – Shapes (Find the octagon), Colors (Find green), Animals (Find the leopard), Animals by Class (Find an animal), Food (Find the Carrot), Food by Class (Find a Food)
* Yes or No questions (Is this the mirror?)
* Big or Little (Find Big)
* Fact or Opinion (Is this a fact or an opinion? The sun is yellow.)
* Facts Finding (Find a fact. Dogs are better than cats. Football is a sport.)
* Abstract Language: Proverbs
5 more modules – Advanced Facts Finding, Advanced Fact or Opinion, Same or Different, Receptive Numbers and Letters are available as in-app purchases.
What I like about this app is that the number of questions, modules and graphics continue to grow over time, many of these come free with each new update. I understand that there are 2 free modules (receptive toys and receptive toys by class) waiting to be added. 2 more text-based question modules focusing on identifying other people’s emotions, feelings and intentions are also in the pipeline.
Besides the large question bank (600+), the quizzes can also be customized to meet the users’ needs. You can set the number of questions in each round of quiz to 5, 10 or 15, and questions can be presented verbally, in written form or both together. You can also increase the difficulty level by increasing the number of response options (from 2 to 4 or 6) for each quiz question (in non text-based question modules). The questions presented in each quiz round is random and the answer options for each questions are randomised too. With these variables, the combinations available in this app is almost unlimited.
The graphic images used are clear and the screen is not cluttered visually. The learner experience is enhanced with error free learning as well as auditory and visual (star) reinforcements for correct answers. For the adults, data collection and analysis reports help to track the learners’ progress and identify problem areas. These statistics can be viewed in the app or e-mailed.
On the whole, Language Skill Builder is a great app for teaching basic language skills with an expanding question bank to meet your child/student’s growing needs.
Grace was working in the fields of early childhood education and staff training before quitting to attend to her 4 children full time. She and her family live in Singapore, which is well known for her highly competitive education system.
The customization capabilities, the ability to make own summary and recommendations in report, ability to score phonological processes and transcribe speech sample later
What we’d love to see…
Ability to turn stimulus word for easier scoring, IPA or other vowel marks for speech transcription, print directly from the app, standardization
Excellent app that will be a go to app for articulation and phonology assessments. If it had the above additions it would include all areas necessary to make a determination of eligibility for services!
Articulation Test Center is a non standardized articulation and phonology assessment. Combined with a standardized assessment the SLP will have enough information to make an accurate profile of the child’s speech skills. The SLP will be able to determine eligibility for services as well as quickly write IEP goals.
This app has two tests: the quick test and the full test.
The Quick Test is designed to use as a quick reference of whether a chid’s pronunciation is delayed or age appropriate. Select the age of the child being tested and with a tap mark sounds as correct, incorrect or approximate. At the completion of the test you can view a full report including sounds said in error and recommendations for practice.
The Full Test has more testing options for giving the ability to customize the test to meet the needs of the student being assessed. In the full test option you can choose full test or a combination of the following: initial sounds, medial sounds, final sounds, initial blends, vowels, r sounds, and speech sample. With the Full Test you can mark sounds said in error, substitutions made and phonological processes present. The option of recording a speech sample is also available with three pictures to choose from. during the sample kids can touch pictures which will soon in on the object and provide questions to help stimulate speech. There is even a place to transcribe the speech sample while listening to it later!
When all the testing cards have been scored and you have reached the “Success!” card tap the “Done” button. If you tap “Done” before you have gone through all the cards in the test, the test will be considered incomplete. You may quit without saving or pause and save the test to complete at a later time.
The settings options are as follows: Turning off the “voice prompt” will eliminate the voice recording that describes the card when the card is tapped. Turning off the “stimulus word” will remove the written word from the bottom of the testing card. Turning off the “stimulus image” will remove the picture from the testing card and replace it with large written text. Turning off the “record button” will remove the record button from the screen. Turning off the “sound effects” will eliminate sound effects associated with the buttons.
For those new to, or slow at marking the phonological processes, you can mark the words for articulation and then go back later to edit the assessment and add in the phonological processes! Also this assessment allows for the most phonological processes:backing, fronting, stopping, gliding, deaffrication, affrication, labialization, vowelization, alveolarization, depalatalization, assimilation, denasalization, coalescence, voicing, devouring, reduplication, initial consonant deletion, final consonant deletion, weak syllable deletion, cluster reduction and épée thesis. I’ve seen in an assessment. and don’t be worried if you don’t know what they all mean because when you touch it in the app you are given a description and examples! The results can be emailed to yourself and/or the parent. The report is thorough and is customizable. It reports the child’s name, the date, score and child’s age. The report shows the % of sounds tested said correctly, speech intelligibility rating (as marked by SLP), sound errors considered delayed based on age and the position of word for each sound, a chart with the word showing the word with green for correct sounds, red for incorrect and yellow for approximate production the processes marked and notes, another chart that shows: age sounds should be mastered in position of word, a substitutions chart, phonological processes chart, the speech sample transcription and intelligibility rating and the SLP’s summary and recommendations. this is very thorough and well laid out.
The app also offers video tutorials which I highly recommend watching so that you can use the app to the fullest extent.
Overall this is a great app and the students love that it is on the iPad! this is an excellent app that will be a go to app for articulation and phonology assessments. If it had the above additions it would include all areas necessary to make a determination of eligibility for services!
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Suzanne is married with one fantastic 12 year old daughter. Suzanne is a school speech language pathologist in the public schools and enjoys her job tremendously. She and her family have recently moved from North Dakota to Texas and are enjoying the wonderful climate change this move has provided. Suzanne has always been the power user of new electronics in her schools and loves to teach others what she has learned. She shares her knowledge of appropriate apps with coworkers and families.
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