Conversation TherAppy by Tactus Therapy Solutions- Review + Giveaway




iPhone Screenshot 4

What we love…

Depth and quality of content. Extremely customizable.

What we’d love to see…

Parental gating and a couple more customization options

Summary

A must-buy app for speech therapists but also for parents and others working with older children on building expressive language, higher order reasoning and life skills.

Our Rating

Conversation TherAppy

I love this app! There’s one feature that prevented me from giving it a 5 star rating – more on that later – but this is, in essence, a 5 star app. With Conversation TherAppy, Tactus Therapy Solutions has continued to do what it does best – develop high quality, easy to use, customizable apps that can be used with individuals across age groups. This app is perfect for adults and teens and is great for older children too – the developer recommends those aged 9 and up and I’d agree with that recommendation.

What Conversation TherAppy puts at your fingertips is a huge range of pictures and suggested questions that will allow you to work one-on-one or in groups, on eliciting expressive language, building and practicing conversation skills and also reasoning skills like inferences. All speech therapists could find uses for this app but it would also be a great addition to the toolkit of special needs teachers, all middle school and high school teachers, youth workers, caregivers of elderly people as well as parents of older children and teens.

You’ll note that, even though this app has lots of uses in a therapeutic context it’s possible uses extend far beyond therapy. Anyone who could use support in discussing topics that are often difficult to broach could utilize this app as a starting point. Topics as broad as aging, sexual health and identity, police brutality, drug use, car seats and online shopping are all touched on, but don’t be alarmed, the topics are fully customizable by age range.

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The home screen is where your customization and user experience begins. A brief tutorial takes you through the major features of the app but detailed help is always accessible via the info button on the top left of the screen. Connect allows you to visit Tactus Therapy Solutions on Facebook and Twitter, sign up for their email newsletter and review Conversation TherAppy on the App Store. You can also tap on Other Apps to browse the developer’s other offerings on the App Store. Therapists will want to set up their clients in the User Hub, and Settings is where you customize the app to suit each user’s individual needs.

There are currently four language options with more to come – English (North American), French, Portuguese and Zulu. You can select the number of trials, scoring sounds and toggle links on and off. For me the most important setting options are: the ability to input email addresses so that results are automatically shared with others, Content filtering where you can choose if you want topics to appear that are appropriate for children, teens or adults and then the Customization Database.

This database lets you go to town with respect to customization. You can turn topics off or on so, for example, maybe you don’t want to discuss couponing with your child or, perhaps you want to add the topic of divorce into a child’s database because it’s something they’re experiencing right now. Even better, you can edit the text of the questions themselves which is a fantastic feature.

Once you’ve set everything up and you start the app, the client or group is shown a picture. Tactus always uses incredibly high quality, clear, pictures in their apps and this one is no exception. There are ten different buttons either side of the picture which represent different conversational prompts: Describe, Define, Remember, Decide, Feel, Infer, Predict, Narrate, Evaluate and Brainstorm. Score client’s responses and check on their progress via the User Hub.

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There is so much to like about this app:

  • Not sure if it’s the right fit for you? No problem, just download the free Lite version and give it a try.
  • The pictures are not only crisp and clear but well chosen – each one I looked at prompted an emotional reaction in me – they are designed to really engage folks in conversation.
  • The depth and breadth of the topics and the artfully written conversational prompts.
  • Perfect for adults and teens but great for older children as well.
  • Data tracking, reporting (in graph form even!) and results sharing
  • More customization options than you can shake a stick at.

There are however a couple of suggestions I’d like Tactus to consider for future updates:

  • Tactus makes it crystal clear on their website that this app isn’t designed to be used by children unsupervised. Fair enough, but in the real world that’s not always possible. My kids like to play with my iPad simply because it’s mine and I can’t supervise them every single second. One of the strengths of this app is that there is hard-hitting content but a lot of that content is something I don’t want my 7 year-olds stumbling across. The only solution for me right now is to delete the app from my iPad when they want to use it. I’d so appreciate it if they considered a simple form of gating that the Information, Connect, Other Apps and Settings options would be behind. This would also have the benefit of cleaning up the Home screen and make it less busy.
  • I would love if there was the option to add your own picture and questions or at least a way to submit requests for additions to the developer. It may be that I simply couldn’t find it but I searched in vain for a picture covering the topic of death. I think this would be an invaluable addition, not just for discussion with children if a friend, relative or beloved pet dies or is dying, but for adults also – do they want a living will in place, what are their wishes with respect to resuscitation in the event of a medical crisis, etc.
  • People often learn more from watching than reading so a how-to use video in the Info section would be a welcome addition.

In summary, this is a wonderful app with a huge amount of quality content and so many possible uses. It’s well worth the current price of $24.99. Highly recommended!
If you would like to buy this app please use this link:
Conversation TherAppy – Tactus Therapy Solutions Ltd.

Conversation Therapy
Conversation Therapy
by Tactus Therapy Solutions Ltd.

Category: Education, Medical
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone4-iPhone4, iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPhone4S-iPhone4S, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPhone5-iPhone5, iPodTouchFifthGen-iPodTouchFifthGen, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPhone5c-iPhone5c, iPhone5s-iPhone5s, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPhone6-iPhone6, iPhone6Plus-iPhone6Plus, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPodTouchSixthGen-iPodTouchSixthGen, iPhone6s-iPhone6s, iPhone6sPlus-iPhone6sPlus, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPhoneSE-iPhoneSE, iPhone7-iPhone7, iPhone7Plus-iPhone7Plus, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74, iPhone8-iPhone8, iPhone8Plus-iPhone8Plus, iPhoneX-iPhoneX
Size: 97.59 MB

$24.99USD

Screenshots
(Click to enlarge)
Screenshots for iPad
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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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Deanne fundraised to acquire iPads for her autistic sons, twins currently aged 7, after hearing how beneficial the new technology was proving to be for individuals on the spectrum. She’s been addicted to iOS ever since and has now been reviewing apps for kids for two years. Deanne is a freelance writer and you can find her blog at smallbutkindamighty.com

The iMums Favorite Protective Cases for the iPad and iPad mini

The iMums are proud to showcase some of our favorite case reviews that we have done.  Many of these are “durable” cases for your iPad to help keep it child-safe and protected despite any unexpected drops, finger print smudges or other things that your child might do to your iPad.

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Survivor from Griffin Technology

Are you looking for a child friendly case for your iPad 2 or iPad 3 which meets or exceeds US Department of Defense Standards? Griffin’s Survivor does all that and more. The Survivor features a poly carbonate frame with shock absorbing silicone and a built- in screen protector to ensure your screen doesn’t get scratched, covered with fingerprints or worst case cracked in a fall. There are hinged plugs which seal the dock connector, camera lens, headphone port, volume controls and also a bonus stand for ease of viewing your iPad on a flat surface. Available from Griffin Technology, Amazon.com,  and other retailers. RRP: US$199.99. Read our full review here

apl2-imin1-t8-1Otterbox Defender for iPad Mini from Otterbox

The Otterbox Defender cases are tough protective cases built to withstand drops, bumps and shocks. This is a very well-made case and has 3 layers: an inner hard plastic shell which includes a built-in screen protector, an outer silicone layer and a removable shield/ stand. The multiple layers of the case do a great job of protecting the mini.  It feels rugged enough to protect against bumps and falls and I feel comfortable with my children using the mini in this case. It is not waterproof, there are cutouts over speakers. headphone jacks etc, but otherwise feels like it can take pretty much whatever else your child is likely to throw at it. The outer layer has a slight texture to it that makes it feel nice and “grippy” in your hands, and unlike cases with a smoother cover it doesn’t feel likely to slip out of your hands. Highly recommended when using the iPad Mini with children or in any situation where you want a tough protective case that also looks good and has the added benefits of a built-in stand and screen protector.

Available from Mobile FunAmazon and many other retailers RRP $69.99. Read our full review here

krackenKracken A.M. S. iPad Case by Trident

The Trident Kraken A.M.S. series is Trident’s most protective line of cases.The case comes in 3 pieces and is very easy to assemble.

Inner silicone layer: this just slips on and includes plugs over the mute button, charging and headphone ports. Back cover: this is a hard polycarbonate shell that covers the back of the iPad, it clips on over the silicone layer giving extra strength and protection. it has cut-outs over the various ports and also allows the silicone to be exposed in certain areas so that the case is more “grippy”. Screen cover : the screen cover is attached to a hard plastic rim that covers the front edges of the iPad. This is slightly overlapped by the back cover around the edges of the iPad and the 2 parts of the hard plastic cover clip firmly together.  The rear cutout is where the A.M.S. accessories attach, there is an iPad stand (sold separately) which can attach here and more accessories are planned.

This is great everyday case for use with kids.  Available from Trident, Amazon and many other retailers.  RRP: $35 – 70. Read our full review here

Lifedge iPad case by Lifedge

Lifedge-iPad-2-Case-Pink-Strap-300x248Are you looking for an iPad case that takes whatever life (or your child) throws at it? Then you should check out the Lifedge iPad case. Lifedge’s parent company is Scan Strut a British company that has been designing products for marine electronics for over 25 years, so they have plenty of experience in protecting delicate electronics from the environment. This case was originally designed for use on boats so has a number of features that make it useful in that environment, but also make it great for use with kids. It is totally waterproof, dustproof and it floats. As a parent, drop protection is really important to me, and it performs well there too. The company has tested it by dropping it from 1 meter onto concrete, dropping on all its edges, and both the case and the iPad were unharmed.. Available from: LifeEdge. RRP $ £99 / $155 Read our full review here

GripCase and GripBase by Gripcase USA

gripcase-insideLooking for a lightweight case for your iPad that provides protection, portability, handles and is made of non-toxic materials safe for children?  Meet Gripcase and GripBase  by Gripcase USA this is a protective, lightweight case for your iPad or iPad Mini.

This case allows you to securely click in your iPad using the snug edges to hold it in while providing full access to your ports and allowing you to hold the iPad either via the handles or place it in a secure stand.  The case is made with Eva Foam and is one of the most lightweight and durable cases that I have tested on my iPad.

Speck iGuy Case & Stand

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iGuy is a freestanding case for your iPad 2/3/4 which brings a whole new level of personality to your device.  I loved that you could stand him on the coffee table with your iPad and watch a video, hold him on your lap to play with an app and even have the tactile touches of the case.  The case also worked well for Skype with family as he would stand on the table during the call instead of you having to hold the iPad steady for the camera.

The case is sturdy and easy to balance on your lap while using the iPad.  My son enjoyed carrying around the case using the arms of iGuy – something that made me a little bit nervous but the iPad seemed well protected.

Gumdrop Drop Tech Series by Gumdrop

gumdropGumDrop Drop Tech Series How do you trust your three year old with your iPad? For us, the solution was a Gumdrop  DropTech Series case. This case consists of a screen protector, clamshell plastic case covered by a rubberized “gasket” which goes around the back of the iPad.  The case also has covers over the headphone jack, power button, sound buttons as well as covering the port where you plug in your iPad into the cord for recharging.  The covers allow for easy use, but protect the actual iPad as well.

This case was the one that has the plastic hardshell on the back and an integrated screen protector. Available from Gumdrop and Amazon RRP £45, ships worldwideRead our full review here

Seidio Active iPad Case with Multi Purpose Cover For iPad 2 and 3

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Seidio Active iPad Case with Multi-Purpose Cover For iPad 2 and 3 is Seidio’s most protective iPad case. It is a 2-layer case with a matching “mounting cover” which can be used to cover the screen when not in use, or used as a stand. The main case comes in 2 parts and is very easy to assemble. First you slip on a black rubber polymer skin, making sure to line up the cutouts with the right places on the iPad. Next you clip on the hard polycarbonate “skeleton”. This cover most of the back of the iPad with fingers going up and covering all 4 corners and the mid-points of the two long sides. It includes a clear window over the Apple logo.  The case is very easy to put on and take off. It’s dual layers feel like it would protect the case pretty well in a fall, and I like that the corners are well protected.  Read our full review.  Available from Amazon for US $30.


Product pricing was correct at the time of publishing this article but is subject to change so check before purchasing. Please check the suppliers website to see if these products are available to your country.

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her two sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. 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.



Language Empires by Smarty Ears- Review



Review by Mary Mahon and Suzanne Berhow, SLP
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What we love…

8 different goals, some with more than one level. Bright, vibrant graphics, rewards that keep students interested and wanting to play. Data collection, up to 5 students per session, unlimited student data tracking

What we’d love to see…

Option to see a report only on goals worked on in the session, or putting all data from one day in one report. Narration of the possible answers.

Summary

Overall, this is a great app with a lot of versatility. We love that each student can work on their own goals, there are different levels of difficulty and that you can selectively target auditory or written comprehension.

Our Rating

Language EmpiresLanguage Empires  was developed by SLPs Barbara Ferandes and Rosie Simms of Smarty Ears. It was developed for elementary school children age  children and has an ancient civilizations theme.  It works on 8 goals: answering how, why, and which questions; inferencing, vocabulary; predicting; figurative language and sequencing. Each student can work on their own individual goals and some goals have 2-3 levels so each student can work at their own level as well! Up to 5 students can play at the same time, each working on  their own unique goals, but the app will track data for an unlimited number of students. Data from the app can also be reviewed on the Smarty Ears Therapy Report Center app.

To play each student is placed on an Empire – each Empire targets different goals, and students can visit more than one Empire in a game, and more than one student an Empire at the same time. Each Empire has 50 questions and there are a total of 400 questions in the app.

iPad Screenshot 2

The Empires:

Sequencing has three levels- sort 3, 4, or 5 items and two types of tasks. Some items sort sequences in an activity. Some sequences sort items by attributes such as hottest to coldest.

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Predicting has three levels- 2,3 or 4 choices.

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Why questions has three levels 2,3, or 4 answer choices.

Which has two levels – 2 or 3 choices.

Inferencing has two levels 2 or 3 choices.

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Figurative language and How only have one level with three choices.

Vocabulary has two levels, both with four choices.

Although it is working on different goals and has a different theme, the app layout is very similar to Syntax City, which we have previously reviewed. For each question a photograph and accompanying short paragraph sets the scene, then the student has to answer a related question by picking from several possible answers. In the default setting the paragraph is both seen and heard, the answer options are only displayed in written form, not narrated; I would like the possible answers to also be narrated. If the student is working on auditory comprehension there is an option to hide the paragraph so they only hear it, not see it. If they are working on written comprehension you can switch off the narration. If a student gives an incorrect answer you can choose for them to hear a buzzer, or for the wrong answer to just silently disappear.

When students get an answer correct on the first attempt they earn a gold coin, once they have earned enough gold coins to master a given category they earn rewards in the shape of treasures from the ancient civilizations, these can be accessed in the student’s profile. The app also offers built-in homework sheets  for each target.

As with all Smarty Ears apps, Language Empire offers detailed data collection. A set of graphs provides immediate visual feedback (colored bars to help students see how well they are doing- green is passed, yellow is developing, red needs work). The data can be emailed, printed, or shared to other compatible applications such as iBooks or Pages.

We would like to see the data for every session in one day put into one report so that you can track all of the different goals in one report for each day while targeting one goal and then going back to target another goal. Not all students are ready to jump from one item to another and back to the first goal in one session. If that is not possible I’d like to see only the goals worked on in each session.

Overall, this is a great app with a lot of versatility. We love that each student can work on their own goals and that there are different levels of difficulty.  The app can also be used to selectively target auditory or written comprehension. Data collection is also a must for the busy SLP, and with Smarty Ears Therapy Report Center App data from all their apps can be collected in one report.

 

If you’d like to download Language Empires, ($24.99, iPad only ) please use this link so they’ll know who sent you:
Full version: Language Empires – Smarty Ears


Language Empires Language Empires by Smarty Ears

Price: $24.99 USD

**Chosen top pick app for educators by Fun Educational Apps**
Greetings from Language Empires! Although we are divided into many kingdoms we are united in helping all learners of language. Each empire.

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!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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).

Guest Post: Are Video Games Good for Children with ADHD? It’s Not a Simple Question

Are Video Games Good for Children with ADHD?

It’s Not a Simple Question

 

Child psychologists and pediatricians are often asked by parents if video games are good for children with ADHD. Some evidence suggests that excessive gaming can increase inattention, and parents often observe behavioral problems when children with ADHD are told to stop game play. While these concerns are quite legitimate, they do not suggest that parents should restrict their children with ADHD from video games and other digital media.

The reality of living in a digital world is that the opportunity to engage with screen-based technologies such as video games, television, the Internet, and cell phones will be necessary for children’s participation in their social, educational, and future vocational worlds. Educators refer to the need for “digital literacy,” which includes the capacity to understand digital information; the ability to access information effectively, evaluating, analyzing and using media; and the skill to apply technology as a core 21st century skill that students will need for college and the jobs of the future. So restricting children with ADHD from age-appropriate technologies is probably not a great idea.

From a social standpoint, it is probably helpful for children  with ADHD to have some awareness of popular television shows such as SpongeBob or to know about the latest and most popular video games that kids their age play (or should be allowed to play). The social components of video games, cell phones, and the Internet are a powerful, two-edged sword. Restricting children from age-appropriate technologies may isolate them from communicating in today’s world. However for children with ADHD who may have limited coping skills, such access opens a Pandora’s box to negativity, cyber-bullying, and emotional distress online.

Educationally, video and computer games can be extremely useful tools for learning academic skills such as math and science. On an informal basis, curious kids (and those with ADHD) can learn an incredible amount by going online and pursuing an interest, but can just as easily get distracted, become engaged with inappropriate material, or simply waste their time.

While the question of whether video games are good for children with ADHD is quite complex, there are a few simple guidelines to follow:

1. Set meaningful limits on the amount of time your kids are involved with digital technologies. A rule of thumb for children with ADHD is:

 

Preschoolers – limited and supervised time only

Elementary school students – one to one and a half hours a day, including television time

Middle school students – one and a half to two hours a day, including television and cell-phone time

High school students – two to two and a half hours a day, with negotiation based upon the use of technology for academic needs

 

2. Find out why your child with ADHD loves digital media. Talk to him about what he is doing with technology and how it might help him.

3. Model appropriate technology use so that your child with ADHD observes you having a balance of physical, social, educational, and family activities in your life.

4. Always engage in many other types of family activities that do not involve technology such as exercise, hobbies, playing board games, and being outdoors.

5. Set the expectation that technologies be used in a social fashion, rather than in a solitary manner, so that the majority of your child’s gaming is with other children.

6. Educate yourself about how to choose and use popular technologies at websites such as http://learningworksforkids.com/, which can help you identify the best games and apps to improve executive functions for your child with ADHD.

 

This post was authored by Randy Kulman, Ph.D. who is the President, LearningWorks for Kids.  This post was published in honor of ADHD awareness month.

Founder and President: Dr. Randy Kulman, Ph.D

Dr. Kulman is the founder and president of Learningworks for Kids. He coordinates our team of psychologists, educators, and digital designers in our quest to make video games good for kids. As a licensed clinical child psychologist, Dr. Kulman has been working directly with kids and families for the past 30 years, and has become a leading expert on the use of digital technologies for improving thinking skills in children.

One of Dr. Kulman’s most important roles is to lead our team of psychologists and educators in our ongoing research into game-based learning, the use of digital technologies in helping children with attentional and learning problems, and using videogames for teaching problem solving skills in schools.

Dr. Kulman became interested in the use of videogames for teaching thinking skills through his clinical work with children and families. After listening to hundreds of children and parents reporting how engaged kids were in their video game experiences, he began researching methods by which videogames could be helpful to children, and from there developed the framework for Learningworks for Kids.

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