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My PlayHome App for Speech Therapy Review

13 Nov

My PlayHome is a fun iPad app that is essentially an interactive dollhouse. It is $3.99 for the full version and there is also a Lite version that is free so you can try it out to see some of the capabilities.

The app has several different screens that depict various rooms in a house including a backyard. In each room, there are dozens of objects that can be manipulated and used in different ways. There are also a variety of family members that can be added to scenes. There are family members of various ethnicity which is a nice feature. Below is a screenshot of the kitchen scene.

my playhome screenshot

You can move the people around in the room and have them interact with objects in the room. Many of the objects have simple animations when you touch them or put them in the correct spot on a person (i.e. putting an apple in front of a person’s mouth causes bites to be taken from the apple, tap the faucet to turn it on and water comes out, put a person on a swing and make them swing). The animations are really great for capturing kid’s attention and keeping them interested in the app.

Most of my preschoolers have been able to figure out most of the simple animations but have needed help to figure out some of the more advanced ones (i.e. putting the boy on the trampoline and making him jump). It also takes some work to get my preschoolers to slow down and get the most language input and expression because they just want to quickly get everything moving and touch everything.

Once you get the child to slow down there are lots of language goals that you can work on with this app! I have worked on pronouns, verbs, and “wh” questions just to name a few. There is also a lot of great, relevant vocabulary in the app. I usually do not use it as a primary activity in my speech therapy sessions, but more as a reinforcer that is still contains lots of opportunities to practice language skills. One negative would be that kids do seem to get bored of it after playing it 2-3 times so I don’t pull it out too often.

Overall, I have found that My PlayHome is a worthwhile app to own for speech therapy for preschoolers and lower elementary students.  I am able to work on several language goals in a fun way with my preschoolers using the app.

PROS

  • Lots of fun, engaging animations
  • Ability to work on many language goals – pronouns, verbs, “wh” questions
  • Age appropriate for preschool through early elementary
  • Low cost

CONS

  • Some animations are hard for kids to figure out
  • Occasional bugs in animations
  • Would be difficult for kids with fine motor difficulties
  • Kids get bored after playing with it a few times

See Touch Learn Pro – iPad App Review

23 Sep

I have been using the See. Touch. Learn. Pro App from Brain Parade quite a bit over the last year, so it’s definitely time I reviewed it. Last year, when I only had preschoolers on my caseload this is the app that I used by far the most. There is a free version which is great if you just want to get an idea of how the app works. I bought the pro version ($39.99) because it comes with over 4,000 images and allows you to use your own images to make activities. Another great perk of the pro version is access to the “community” which is a section you can go to download activities and picture libraries that other user have created and uploaded.

The app is organized into “Lessons”, “Libraries”, “Community”, and “Settings” sections. The “Settings” screen lets you control several aspects of the lessons like whether you want to show text prompts, automatically advance to the next exercise after a correct choice, or wiggle an incorrect card (I have this one set to “off” because my kids loved making the card wiggle and kept touching the incorrect cards and laughing their heads off!).

The “Libraries” section shown below, shows you all the picture libraries that are available to download organized into sections. In this section you can also make your own libraries if you have the Pro version by downloading pictures from the internet or adding them from your Camera Roll. The ability to add your own pictures is so cool because you can make activities completely customized to your students.

See Touch Learn Libraries

The “Lessons” section shown below, comes with a ton of pre-made activities. They are organized into categories like “Objects”, “People”, and “Other”. As you make your own activities you chose a category to place the activity in. I wish there was flexibility here to create your own categories because I end up adding a lot of the activities I have made into the “Other” category. The pre-made activities offer a great way to get started right away using the app and cover lots of academic and language concepts. You can also edit the pre-made activities by making a duplicate of the activity and then editing it to your liking. The thing I like least about the pre-made activities is the digitized voice that says the prompts. My kids found it hard to understand so I ended up editing any activity I wanted to use frequently by adding my own voice as the prompt. It’s great that you can record your own voice for the prompts, it just takes a bit of time.

See Touch Learn ActivitiesOn the Lessons screen you can create folders to organize your activities a little more. You can see that I have created a “Preschool” folder. I put the pre-made activities I liked for my preschoolers as well as the activities I made in that folder. I plan on making an “Elementary” folder as soon as I get some more time to start making some activities for my elementary kids.

When you select an activity, a screen comes up showing all the parts of the activity. From this screen, you can choose to play the activity or edit it. There is also a setting now in the Lessons screen that allows you to choose “Play Mode” so if a child is using the App they will only be able to play activities not edit them.

See Touch Learn ActivityOnce you select “Play Lesson”, the activity opens and the prompt is read. When the child selects the correct picture(s), a reinforcement sound is played (you can change this in the Settings screen). I wish there was an option in the Settings screen for randomly playing a reinforcement sound because it gets a little repetitive hearing the same reinforcement sound over and over again through an activity.

See Touch Learn Category ActivityThis photo shows a categories activity I made for my preschoolers. The activities focus mostly on receptive academic and language skills although you can make any of the activities expressive as well by requiring your child to give you an expressive response before moving on. The best part of the app is the wide variety of language goals you can target with it. I have made activities for all types of “WH” questions, vocabulary, object functions, what goes together, pronouns, concepts, action words, categories, and negation! I think that is what makes this app worth the price.

I plan on making a lot of new activities with the app for my elementary students. It would be easy to make a quick comprehension test for any book you are reading, custom vocabulary cards, and really anything that you would do with flashcards normally. My kids are much more motivated to use the iPad than flashcards any day!

PROS

  • Huge picture library
  • Allows you to add your own pictures
  • Allows you to create and customize activities
  • Motivating for kids
  • Access to Community activities

CONS

  • Price
  • Digital voice difficult to understand
  • Reinforcement sounds get repetitive

Overall, I would absolutely recommend this app for speech pathologists, special educators, and teachers. If you enjoy making your own activities and customizing, I think you will particularly love this app. If you just want to use the app as is, you may get a little frustrated. It is worth it to take the time to make some awesome, custom activities!

If you have any questions about what the app can do or be used for, please post them in the comments below.