Total Talk by Panther Technology – Review & Giveaway



iPad Screenshot 5

What we love…

Intuitive, easy to navigate interface
Ease of editing and adding content
Tele-prompt: ability to provide suggestions remotely
Tele-text: ability to send messages to another device like texting
Variety of voices, rates, and pitch

What we’d love to see…

More persona icon options (to be available with new updates)
Expanded pre-programmed options in Quick Chat and EZ phrases
A guided tutorial to help familiarize users with location of key words could be helpful

Summary

. The app provides meaningful organization for different language levels as well as multiple communication approaches for increased efficiency across different speaking situations and settings. The format is user-friendly and intuitive and the content is extremely easy to edit and customize.

Our Rating

Total TalkTotal Talk is an excellent AAC app designed for easy and efficient communication by nonverbal users. The app was developed by Ellenson Integration Enterprises, Inc. A quick start guide makes it easy to begin using the app and the complete user manual provides a more thorough overview of the app.
The home page is organized with a message output area at the top, a dock or menu on the left side of the screen and the main grid with word buttons and folders (default is 6×6). The main grid gives access to several commonly used words (yes/no, I, you, want) and folders which are organized by category (i.e. people, verbs, activities, places, things, questions). Any words selected will appear in the message output box and can be verbalized by pressing on the box or the “speak” button in the dock.
The dock is accessible on the side of the screen. This menu has helpful buttons such as “home”, “speak”, “spell”, and “quick chat”. These features allow for more efficient communication and editing. For example, “quick chat” opens 14 commonly used phrases such as greetings, protesting, requesting, and commenting for fast selection. There are also “quick chat topics” which are organized into folders such as people, food, emotions, and questions.
One of the most unique features of the dock is the “magic” button. Selecting “magic” initially changes the menu to allow access to “settings”, “output”, “edit readout” and “quick chat topics”. The “magic” button also unleashes additional functionality to whatever button is pressed next. For example, pressing “magic” prior to a verb will offer a different grid with predicted phrases and conjugations of that verb. For “want”, the new grid options include pronoun buttons, “want”, “wants”, “wanted” and other conjugations such as present progressive, negatives, and past tense.
The “total talk” button allows access to the 10 different communication modes. These include EZ phrases, favorite lists, stories, jokes, and photos. EZ phrases include several folders with common categories or situations that many children encounter daily at school or home such as “homework”, “games” or “bedtime”. Under the “shopping” folder, there are several related phrases such as “I want to pick”, “How much?”, “I want everything!” and “No fair”. The app can be customized with personalized photos for sharing personal experiences. There is a nice step-by-step tutorial for adding photographs in the “make an album” folder.
I particularly like the “jokes” folder which allows the user to tell a pre-programmed joke. After choosing the joke set-up, the user can deliver the punchline complete with rim shot and laugh track. Once a new folder or screen is opened, there is the option to keep it open rather than closing automatically. By clicking on “stay open”, the current page will remain accessible thus eliminating the need to press several buttons to get back to the same screen. Therefore, a joke or story can be told without missing a beat.

iPad Screenshot 2
The “spell” button accesses the tablet’s keyboard so words can be typed out manually. Word prediction facilitates the typing process for increased efficiency of communication. This app truly grows with the user. When the user is ready, he can transition over to using the keyboard for output while still having access to the symbols.
As with most AAC apps, there are highly customizable settings for editing page lay-out, buttons, icons, and folders. The main page defaults to a 6×6 grid, but can be changed to a 9×7 or 5×4 grid depending on the user’s communication level or visual limitations. The icons are colorful drawings depicting the vocabulary concept on the button. The buttons are color coded by parts of speech (i.e. verbs are pink, nouns are yellow, etc).
As always, these folders and buttons can be easily edited according to the child’s needs and interests. Under settings, you can adjust the format of the screen (number of buttons per page from 20-63), size of text, color coding, and prediction settings.
Voices and persona icons can be edited. You can choose from male or female and then from child, teen or adult voices. In addition, pitch and rate of the voice can also be customized over 5 levels from very low and slow up to very high pitch and fast. There are currently only two persona icons offered: either a boy or girl in a wheelchair, but other options will be made available in future updates.

iPad Screenshot 1
One of aspects of verbal communication that is often lost when using a speech generating device is prosody or the intonation of speech. This app compensates for this by offering options to change the output such as “whisper”, “excited”, “bored”, or “weird”. So now the user can actually use a bored voice when asking “Are we done yet?” In addition, there is the option to stop the message output by gently hitting the device with an open palm or fist. This gives the user the ability to silence the device if the wrong message was selected in error.
Another unique feature is the ability to have two conversations at once. With the “side talk on”, the user can toggle back and forth between a conversation and a written report they may be working on. This flexibility will allow opportunities for the user to ask questions about an assignment while they are simultaneously working on it. It also lets them converse with two communication partners at once which is more like real life.
Another unique feature is the ability to minimize the grid to allow for writing notes, emails, or longer school papers or reports. These written compositions can then be saved to a button in order to print off later. This component would be a wonderful resource when completing homework or writing reports.
One of the most challenging obstacles of introducing a new AAC device to a child is becoming oriented with the location of all the buttons and teaching them how to use the device to communicate effectively. The innovative Tele-prompt feature makes this task a little less daunting. By downloading the free Orbit app, the teacher or parent can remotely access the user’s screen from their own iPhone or tablet. The teacher can offer suggestions in real-time by drawing on their device which is paired with the student’s. The prompts magically appear on the user’s screen much in the same way a coach would highlight plays for his team. This allows for unobtrusive hands-free prompting by allowing highlighting of buttons to make suggestions for word choice selection. What a great way to promote independence.
The Tele-text is another resourceful feature which allows messages to be sent directly to another phone or device. This is helpful when the environment is too noisy to hear the verbal output or to allow for more privacy for personal messages. Now communication can still occur without the background noise interfering.
The features of this app are very well thought out. The app provides meaningful organization for different language levels as well as multiple communication approaches for increased efficiency across different speaking situations and settings. The format is user-friendly and intuitive and the content is extremely easy to edit and customize. Combined with several unique and groundbreaking features, this AAC app is truly a remarkable way to give a voice to non-verbal users. I would highly recommend it particularly for use in a school setting.


Total Talk - AAC
Total Talk - AAC
by Panther Technology

Category: Education, Lifestyle
Requirements: Compatible with iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74
Size: 1474.28 MB

$119.99USD

Screenshots for iPad
(Click to enlarge)

NOTE: A fee was received to expedite this review to the top of our waiting list but this payment has not influenced the objectivity of the review and all opinions have been offered honestly.

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Giveaway

If you would like to win a promo code for this app, please enter via the widget below. This giveaway is open to everyone, worldwide, and an iTunes account is required to claim the prize. Please ensure you have read and understand our Terms & Conditions. Good luck!
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Shari is a married mother of four from Illinois. She works as a speech pathologist in a rehab setting and loves to use apps in therapy. She is a self-proclaimed "Appaholic"- always on the look out for great apps!


VowelViz Pro by SmartPalate International -Review




iPhone Screenshot 2

What we love…

Visual feedback is an extremely helpful tool to shape vowels and vocalic /r/. Excellent potential for use with students with hearing impairments, apraxia, or for accent reduction.

What we’d love to see…

The ability to record speech attempts auditorily to provide auditory feedback on playback in addition to the visual feedback.
The ability for the SLP or parents to judge productions as right, wrong, or approximate as well as data tracking for individual students. Less inconsistency in the vowel mapping.

Summary

This app would be very beneficial to use in speech therapy with students with apraxia or hearing impairments. With a bit more fine tuning, this will be a truly wonderful app. The potential application for use in speech therapy is considerable and may be worth the investment especially if you have some tricky /r/ sounds to remediate.

Our Rating

Vowel Viz ProVowelViz Pro is a unique speech app that provides visual feedback to help shape vowel sounds. The app was created by SmartPalate International, LLC.
The targeting of vowel sounds can be a difficult endeavor as there really is no precise way to instruct a student in tongue placement or shape of the vocal tract for correct production. The production of vowels and vocalic /r/ has always been heavily dependent on the self-awareness of auditory feedback, until now. This innovative app provides the visual feedback that can facilitate the production of these sounds through real-time response.

iPhone Screenshot 4Using the device’s microphone, it maps out the user’s vowel production onto a grid called the vowel quadrilateral. The vowel quadrilateral is a visual representation of the position of the tongue during the production of vowels. The grid is designed to show the tongue’s height (high or low) in relation to its position from front to back of the mouth. For example, the top left quadrant contains the high front vowels /i:/ and /I/, while the bottom right includes the low back vowel /a:/.

The main screen allows you to select either vowels or vocalic /r/ to practice. There is also the option to “get training” where you can enter your email to receive tips and tutorial videos. I highly recommend watching these videos to ensure success when utilizing this app.

After a target vowel is selected, an auditory model of the sound can be played by touching the speaker in the top left of the screen. A flashcard with a word containing the target vowel can also be shown at the bottom. The student attempts to match the target sound by getting the orange tracking ball to land within the highlighted oval area on the grid. The mapping of the vowel is done in real-time allowing for immediate feedback and reinforcement of tongue position.

VowelViz Pro also provides vocalic /r/ targets. Anyone who has ever tried to get a child to produce /r/ with the correct tongue placement and tension knows what a challenge it can be. The use of visual feedback to help shape the sound is invaluable. In this module, the target is an oval shape containing the “R”. The trick is to get the orange ball to fall in the oval which would indicate the correct retroflex position. Tongue prompts such as “pull tongue back”, “raise tongue”, or “curl tongue” can be shown on the screen for additional prompting.

At the top right of the screen, you can find more information about the app. There is a pull down menu with basic instructions and troubleshooting help, an explanation of the vowel quadrilateral and vowel formants, a chart of the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) and links to the developer’s website for support.

The settings tab allows you to adjust the following:

  • Live Vowel Tail Length and Input Sensitivity can be adjusted with a slider bar.
  • Show tongue prompts: on/off
  • Show flash cards: on/off
  • Themes: Default – Planets – Flowers – Spelling – Colors – Sports

The applications of this tool are numerous. This app would be very beneficial to use in speech therapy with students with apraxia or hearing impairments. It would also be effective for accent reduction in helping to fine tune their productions of vowels. Any child struggling to produce vocalic /r/ would likely benefit from the visual feedback provided.

I personally used this app to successfully elicit a vocalic /r/ from a student previously not stimulable for the sound. The visual feedback gave the student a target she could shoot for that auditory feedback alone couldn’t provide. She was able to make the necessary adjustments to hit the target on her own with very little prompting from me. The look of pride on her face when she saw that she had hit the target was priceless.

However, this app is not without its flaws. On attempts to produce the /i:/ sound, my voice was consistently mapped in the upper right quadrant rather than the upper left. I was only able to hit the target on this sound, by dropping the pitch of my voice significantly. But for the most part, I was able to land within the target oval on other sounds.

With a bit more fine tuning, this will be a truly wonderful app. The potential application for use in speech therapy is considerable and may be worth the investment especially if you have some tricky /r/ sounds to remediate.

iTunes Link Vowel Viz Pro

Vowel Viz Pro Vowel Viz Pro by SmartPalate International, LLC

Price: $49.99 USD

VowelViz Pro takes the innovative speech mapping app, VowelViz, and makes it even more FUN! VowelViz Pro implements fun, new themes, flash cards, and Vocalic R View to help further engage students in.

Shari is a married mother of four from Illinois. She works as a speech pathologist in a rehab setting and loves to use apps in therapy. She is a self-proclaimed "Appaholic"- always on the look out for great apps!


Listening Power K-3 by Hamaguchi Apps- Review



iPad Screenshot 1

Summary

Overall, this is a very high-quality app for targeting auditory comprehension skills of elementary school children ages 5-10 years. It is obvious that much consideration was placed on the customization of difficulty levels and the selection of the targets themselves. The colorful illustrations and animations are engaging and motivating. The variety of targets and ability to customize this app to meet the needs of many different skill levels allows this app to grow with your child.

Our Rating

Listening Power Grades K-3 HDListening Power K-3 by Hamaguchi Apps is a wonderful app for developing auditory comprehension of vocabulary and concepts in elementary school-aged children. The developer is a licensed speech-language pathologist and has several other apps which target verbal expression, following directions, and pragmatic skills. We have also reviewed Listening Power Preschool and Listening Power 4-8+

 

There are five different activities in Listening Power K-3: descriptions (adjectives i.e. shortest, cold, green), meaning (vocabulary concepts), grammar (pronouns, verb tenses, negation), word memory, and stories (with comprehension questions).  The app provides 150 listening opportunities for each activity (50 at each difficulty level) so your child will be presented with a wide variety of stimuli (over 1000).

 

In the Listening for Descriptions activity, children need to identify the picture showing the correct characteristics. On the easy level, there are 2 descriptors to listen for (“Show me the green truck with white tires.”) The intermediate level has 3-4 descriptive concepts to distinguish between (“Where is the man with a moustache holding a red guitar?”) The advanced level has up to five critical elements (i.e. Find the girl with long black hair who is wearing a red shirt with long sleeves.)

 

The Listening for Meaning activity involves identifying the correct picture or definition for a vocabulary word (i.e. Easy level presents pictures: luggage, duckling, triangle; Intermediate: disappointed, perform, container; Advanced: envious, wealthy, patient). The intermediate and advanced settings only present information auditorily although text can be shown if necessary.

iPad Screenshot 2

 

In the Listening for Grammar activity, children must identify the sentence that contains a mistake (i.e. Easy: “He put on hims shoes.” Intermediate: “Her cat finded a mouse.” Advanced: “The women is having a meeting.”)

 

Listening for Word Memory requires recall of a certain number of words in the correct order from a field of 9 (Easy: 2-3 words; Intermediate: 4-5 words; Advanced: 6 words). There are unlimited combinations for this activity.

 

In the Listening for Stories activity, children are presented stories of increasing length and complexity and then asked comprehension questions about what they heard. The easy level has fictional stories with questions about who, what, and where. In the more difficult levels, non-fiction stories are included and the content and questions become increasingly more challenging. There is the option of turning on background noise to increase the auditory demand of the task. There are 25 stories for each level with 5 questions per story for a total of 375 unique listening tasks.

iPad Screenshot 4

The app is easy to navigate and has highly-customizable settings. The ease-of-use is enhanced by a wonderful demo video highlighting the settings and features of the app. Each activity has individual settings for difficulty (easy, intermediate, and advanced) as well as the ability to select number of choices (2, 3, or 4). This ability to customize settings allows for the accommodation of a wide range of skill levels.

Another nice feature is that the choices are not made visible until the entire question has been presented auditorily. This helps the child focus on the verbal instructions and eliminates impulsive selections. You also have the option to make the text visible or only provide the auditory directions.

Additionally, only correct choices are reinforced. If a child selects the wrong picture, nothing happens although the data tracking will indicate a wrong choice. After the correct choice is selected, the target concept is restated which also helps to solidify learning.

Individual users can be tracked and in the full version you can even add members to a group while still keeping individualized settings and data tracking for each child. Data for each of the five different activities is also tracked separately to give an individualized overview of the child’s progress in each area. These are excellent features for speech therapy sessions.

 

Finally, there are two options for reward games. In the Door Game, kids need to open doors to find where the character is hiding. For Shoot the Basket, kids randomly make a basket when they press a button to shoot a basketball. These reinforcement activities can be set to occur at different intervals or turned off altogether.

Overall Impressions:

Overall, this is a very high-quality app for targeting auditory comprehension skills of elementary school children ages 5-10 years. It is obvious that much consideration was placed on the customization of difficulty levels and the selection of the targets themselves. The colorful illustrations and animations are engaging and motivating. The variety of targets and ability to customize this app to meet the needs of many different skill levels allows this app to grow with your child.

In terms of improvements: it may be beneficial to have wrong choices disappear as they are selected to help narrow down the choices. There were some wording errors i.e. mention of a “tire swing” when a regular swing was pictured; use of the description “red dress” when the picture showed a red shirt instead. These are simple fixes that can be implemented in future updates.

This app would be particularly useful for speech pathologists who work with elementary students in groups; but I would also recommend this app for any K-3rd child needing to work on attention and listening skills.

 

iTunes Link: Listening Power Grades K-3 HD – Hamaguchi Apps for Speech, Language & Auditory Development

Listening Power Grades K-3 HD Listening Power Grades K-3 HD by Hamaguchi Apps for Speech, Language & Auditory Development

Price: $19.99 USD

This app is the proud winner of the Academics' Choice Award for Smart Media! http://www.academicschoice.com/apps/listening-power-k-3.php

This is the app you’ve been waiting for! Listening Power.

Giveaway

If you would like to win a promo code for this app, please enter via the widget below. Winners will be emailed and must redeem their code within 48 hours to claim their prize. This giveaway is open to everyone, worldwide, and an iTunes account is required to claim the prize. Please ensure you have read and understand our Terms & Conditions. Good luck!
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Shari is a married mother of four from Illinois. She works as a speech pathologist in a rehab setting and loves to use apps in therapy. She is a self-proclaimed "Appaholic"- always on the look out for great apps!


Word Vault Pro by Home Speech Home- Review + Giveaway



iPad Screenshot 1

What we love…

Well organized, easy to navigate; wonderful resource of speech and language targets; beautiful colored photographs depicting words and concepts

What we’d love to see…

Visual support added to more modules, addition of reward activity.

Summary

The wealth of content found in this app is unmatched making it an invaluable tool for any speech pathologist or teacher to have handy for generating examples of language concepts or word lists for articulation targets.

Our Rating

Word Vault ProWord Vault Pro is a wonderful collection of speech and language targets developed by a married pair of  Speech-Language Pathologists from Home-Speech-Home.com.  Their website has a wealth of information regarding speech and language development and disorders.

In simplest terms, Word Vault Pro is an organized assortment of word lists and language stimuli for use primarily in speech therapy.  It was designed to provide easy access to speech and language targets for a variety of needs.   It could be thought of as a one-stop shop with extensive content covering a wide range of speech, language, and pragmatic skills.

The interface is intuitive and easy to navigate and the design is clean and sophisticated.  You can create profiles for each user and can keep track of data for up to 10 users at a time. You also have the ability to create groups of users which would be helpful for use in therapy sessions.  It provides the flexibility to track data and audio recordings for each individual user across all 4 of the modules.  It also has the ability to send data via email in order to share progress with parents.

Another wonderful feature is the ability to add, delete or edit content with ease making this app truly versatile and limitless in potential targets.  Not only can you add words and pictures, but audio recordings as well.

iPad Screenshot 2

The 4 modules are as follows: Articulation, Language, Phonology, and Social. The Articulation and Phonology modules provide lists of words to target in speech therapy.

In the Articulation Module, there are 87 word lists organized by sounds, syllable, and position (initial, medial, final, & blends) along with more than 8100 phrases/sentences and 115 stories for targeted articulation practice.  The complexity can be set from single or multi-syllable targets to phrases, sentences and reading passages.  Flexibility of targets is so useful when helping a child move from simple to more complex targets and contexts.  In the articulation module of the Pro version, beautiful colored photographs are available for each word by swiping down on the word card.  These pictures wonderfully convey the meaning of each concept.

The Phonology Module includes multisyllabic and final cluster words and over 450 minimal contrast pairs (i.e. rake/wake) organized by sound substitutions which are helpful for developing auditory discrimination as well as phonological awareness skills.  Photographs are only available for multisyllabic words in this module.

The Language module contains the most variety with 30 different categories including: grammatical constructs such as adjectives, pronouns and verb tenses as well as more abstract language concepts such as similes/metaphors, sequencing, and analogies.  The question folder has several subcategories including all wh- questions, yes/no, true/false, and function of objects.  The nice thing about the language module is that it contains content appropriate for both children and adults as in the following directions and stories categories.  It even provides communicative temptations and common first words and signs for use with pre-verbal children.  Unfortunately, there are no visual supports for these two categories as of yet.

The Social module includes the following categories: conversation starters, emotions, idioms, inferencing, jokes, problem solving, and proverbs.  There are wonderful photographs depicting the emotions with 3-9 synonyms within each folder.  For the idioms and proverbs, explanations of the meanings are included which is a nice feature.  And what child doesn’t like learning a good joke? Jokes are also a great way to teach multiple meanings and play on words.

 

iPad Screenshot 4

Pros……

There are many features I love about this app: it is well organized & easy to navigate, a wonderful resource of speech and language targets and includes beautiful colored photographs depicting words and concepts.

Cons…..

The app itself does not need to be directly manipulated by the child.  It is meant to be more of an organized resource of word lists and examples utilized by a speech therapist or caregiver.  As such, it is often necessary to ask a question directly or provide a verbal model to the child.  This would especially be true for pre-readers.

While many of the articulation targets have accompanying audio and/or photos (Pro Version only), there are many modules which lack visual support.  This may not always be a necessary feature, but it is definitely needed for the common first words and first 100 signs sections.  It would be especially nice if the first signs list had videos of each of the presented signs.

Finally, it would be necessary to use this app in conjunction with another activity or game to keep the child’s interest as there are no rewards or motivational features within the app itself.

Summary

Overall, the wealth of content found in this app is unmatched.  While most apps focus on one specific content area (i.e. articulation, language), this app dares to provide targets across 4 distinct areas.  As such, this app would be an invaluable tool for any speech pathologist or teacher to have handy for generating examples of language concepts or word lists for articulation targets.  Parents looking to enhance their child’s speech and language skills would also find this app extremely helpful.  But don’t just stop at speech and language.  Because of the open-ended nature of the content, you can adapt the material to target an even wider variety of needs including fluency, voice, and literacy skills.  It is truly an ideal collection of stimuli to have at your disposal.

iTunes Link for full version:
Word Vault Pro – Home-Speech-Home.com

Word Vault Pro Word Vault Pro by HomeSpeechHome PLLC

Price: $49.99 USD

*** "This app is worth every single penny!" - SLP_Shannon
*** "I absolutely love this app." - Amy, SLP ***

The ultimate tool for SLPs, parents, teachers, and professionals to teach articulation.

iTunes Link for lite version:Word Vault Essential – Home-Speech-Home.com

Word Vault Essential Word Vault Essential by HomeSpeechHome PLLC

Price: $FREE

"I am getting 50-70% more trials in each session with each kiddo...!" - Erika, SLP
"I just downloaded this app and I am in love!!!" - Sarah A., SLP
Now get all Pro Features Free for 30 Days!
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Giveaway

If you would like to win a promo code for this app, please enter via the widget below. Winners will be emailed and must contact The iMums within 48 hours to claim their prize. This giveaway is open to everyone, worldwide, and an iTunes account is required to claim the prize. Please ensure you have read and understand our Terms & Conditions. Good luck!

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Shari is a married mother of four from Illinois. She works as a speech pathologist in a rehab setting and loves to use apps in therapy. She is a self-proclaimed "Appaholic"- always on the look out for great apps!

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