Different Roads to Learning’s “What’s That Sound?” App is Now Available on Android!

We’re thrilled to announce that our very own app for auditory discrimination What’s That Sound? Learning to Listen and Identify Sounds is now available for Android devices*. Find it available now in the Google Play Store, on Amazon, and in the Barnes & Noble Nook Store.

Simple auditory processing skills lay the foundation for learning how to read, speak, and spell. What’s That Sound? is an interactive game that helps develop auditory discrimination and processing skills in young learners. In this game, players will improve their skills by matching objects and their associated sounds.

Reinforcement with balloons shown above.

Screenshots captured from a 7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tablet.

In What’s That Sound?, images are prompted with a spoken question “What makes this sound?” and then a sound. Students then tap the image of the person, object, or animal correctly associated with the prompted noise. Correct responses receive visual and auditory reinforcement (see screenshot of balloons above), while incorrect answers are corrected by a visual prompt of the correct answer flashing. After all targets have been seen once, they are reintroduced in a new, randomized order. The app takes data for the percentage answered correctly across rounds as well as sessions in which the app is in use.

*What’s That Sound? runs an Android 2.2 platforms and up. This app is also available in the Apple iTunes Store.

Different Roads to Learning’s “Clean Up: Category Sorting” App is now available on Android!

Clean Up Cateogory Sorting AppWe’re extremely excited to announce that our very own sorting skills app Clean Up: Category Sorting is now available for Android devices*. Find it available now the Google Play Store, on Amazon, and in the Barnes & Noble Nook Store.

Clean Up: Category Sorting is an interactive game that develops language, reasoning, and sorting and classifying skills in young learners. Players of the game must “clean up” by putting 75 photographic images of toys, food, and clothing away in the correct shopping cart, refrigerator, or toy box. Each target is introduced by its label (“Where does the Apple go?”) in each round, where players see 15 unique images.

Screenshots captured from a 7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tablet.

Correct responses receive visual and auditory reinforcement while incorrect answers are corrected by a visual prompt of the correct answer flashing. After all targets have been seen once, they are reintroduced in a new, randomized order. The app takes data for the percentage answered correctly across rounds as well as sessions in which the app is in use. Clean Up: Category Sorting will help build foundational sorting skills for students just developing their sorting and classifying skills.

*Clean Up: Category Sorting runs an Android 2.2 platforms and up. This app is also available on the Apple iTunes Store

Just Added! Tiggly Counts – Learn math with fun, interactive apps

Tiggly Counts Feature

A playful world of math learning awaits in the all-new Tiggly Counts! From the award-winning makers of Tiggly Shapes, Tiggly Counts is a set of 5 counting toys that interact with 3 free iPad apps to connect children to a playful world of math learning. The apps and manipulatives work in tandem to develop a child’s number sense, counting skills, understanding of math operations, and more. The 3 free apps include Tiggly Chef, Tiggly Cardtoons, and Tiggly Addventure, and introduce children to a wonderful world of lovable characters that surprise and delight, as they learn essential early math abilities. Designed for children ages 3 and up.

Tip of the Week: Use Technology to Promote Social Interactions Between You and Your Child

Last month I had the privilege to speak in New Jersey at the 2014 Statewide Conference for Fathers of Children with Special Needs. I love the opportunity to speak with parents, and this conference allowed for lots of small group discussion that centered on the individual needs of each of the families represented there.

My focus was on utilizing technology, and one of the fathers said, “You know, I see what you’re saying about how I can use the iPad to increase social interaction, but my son won’t do that with me. When I try to work with him on the iPad, he just wants to go to Temple Run. He won’t play with it the same way he does with his teachers.” This question highlights the differences between the home environment and other environments. This is a common problem that parents face, not because they’re doing anything wrong, but because they have a different relationship with the child than the teachers do.

Go back to when you were in middle school. Imagine that you’re at home with your parents, you’re in your room engaged in one of your favorite activities, and your mother comes in and says, “Let’s watch a movie about how the solar system was created.” It is highly unlikely that you are going to leap at that opportunity. At home, you like to have your own space and free time, you have lots of choices for what you can do, and there are options that are more motivating than watching that movie.

Now think of the exact same situation, except you’re in your middle school science classroom and the teacher says, “Let’s watch a movie about how the solar system was created.” You never get to watch movies in that science class, you usually have to take notes and worry about when the teacher might call on you to answer a difficult question. It is much more likely that you are going to want to watch a movie in this scenario. Compared to the options you usually have during science class, watching this movie is highly motivating.

The same thing happens at home when you try to introduce an educational or challenging activity, and for learners with special needs, an activity we think of as fun may in fact be highly challenging. It’s important to acknowledge that parents are working with the child in a different environment so that we can create strategies that are feasible for creating success in the home. There are some things you can do to make it a bit easier on yourself when introducing iPad or tablet activities.

My biggest tip is to offer choices. For example, instead of saying “Let’s play on the iPad,” say, “Do you want to play Animal Race on the iPad or go outside and jump on the trampoline together?” This way, you’re labeling a specific app instead of providing free access and you’re creating an opportunity for interaction no matter what the child chooses.

My second tip is to utilize built-in accessibility tools. Use Guided Access to lock the app. This way, the choice really is to just play that app or select the other option presented. If the child selects the other option, that’s fine! You can let them know when they have free time on the iPad and when they only have the option of playing with a particular app. You can also limit the amount of time they play quite easily by going to your “Clock” app on the iPad or iPhone. Look at the menu of ringtones, scroll down to the bottom and select “Stop Playing.” Set the time, and when time is up, whatever app your child is playing with will automatically close. If you have a passcode set for your phone, then the passcode has to be typed in before access to the app is available again.

Some learners also respond very well to visual cues to signal when they have free time on the iPad versus structured time. This can be accomplished by changing the color of the iPad cover (my students know that the “orange iPad” is for structured time) or by placing a reusable sticker on the edge of the screen.

My final tip is to consider motivation. There are apps out there that I think are great, but I have to start with what my particular learner will be interested in and build from there. Find apps that have a characteristic that should appeal to your learner, such as specific cartoon characters, animals, or music.

Using these simple tips can provide some success in using technology to promote social interaction between you and your child, or between your child and his/her siblings and peers. If you’ve used other strategies successfully, please share them with us on Facebook.

Different Roads iOS Apps Now Feature Family Sharing

Apple has recently introduced a new Family Sharing feature, which allows up to 6 family members to browse and access each other’s iTunes, iBooks, and App Store purchases, as well as share photos, calendars, and locations with each other. We’re excited to announce that all of our Different Roads apps in the iTunes App Store have also begun to support this feature. Family Sharing also includes parental controls, enabling parents to approve purchases and downloads initiated by children first.

Different Roads to Learning Apps

Clean Up Cateogory Sorting AppClean-Up: Category Sorting  This highly-rated interactive program develops language, reasoning, and sorting and classifying skills in young learners. Players must “clean up” by putting 75 photographic images of toys, food, and clothing away in the correct shopping cart, refrigerator, or toy box. Each target is introduced by its label (“Where does the Apple go?”) in each round where players see 15 unique images. Correct responses receive visual and auditory reinforcement while incorrect answers are corrected by a visual prompt of the correct answer flashing. This app builds foundational sorting skills for students just developing their sorting and classifying skills. Available on iPhone and iPad.

Whats that Sound App

What’s that Sound? Learning to Listen and Identify Sounds  This interactive and easy-to-grasp game develops auditory discrimination and processing skills in young learners. Players will improve their skills by matching objects and their associated sounds. Simple auditory processing skills lay the foundation for learning how to read, speak and spell.
Available on iPhone and iPad.

 

What Goes Together App

What Goes Together?  This interactive program develops language, discrimination, and reasoning skills in young learners. Clear, colorful images of everyday objects promote an understanding of functions and the relationships between items that children encounter on a daily basis. With built-in reinforcement and error correction, this game provides a solid foundation in building critical expressive and receptive language skills. Available on iPhone and iPad.

Tell Me About It App

Tell Me About It!  Featured as Editor’s Choice on Best Apps for Kids, this universal app is specifically designed for children with autism and other speech and language delays. Based on the Applied Behavioral Analysis approach, this program mimics an actual one-on-one instructional session with a therapist. The app provides 15 categories of language targets, such as body parts, household items, clothing and food, and six levels of difficulty, which progressively become more difficult, from labelling to shared feature, function, and category. This app also features an easy-to-read report card, which provides tracking data for each child and an option to e-mail the report card results. Available on iPhone and iPad.

To discover all of our current apps and what Family Sharing can do for your family, visit our iTunes App Store page.

Using iPad to Learn and Communicate Workshop at NY Apple Store

Use of the iPad with students with autism is so prevalent, we thought those of you in New York City might want to know about this upcoming workshop at the Soho Apple Store on Using the iPad to Learn and Communicate on February 27, 2014. It’s for the early birds out there from 6:30 a.m. – 8:00 a.m.

Part discussion and part demonstration, this event will show you tools and software to enhance the communication experience. The panel includes Steve Blaustein, PhD and CCC-SLP of Proloquo2go; Jonathan Izak, founder of AutisMate; Kim Mack Rosenberg, president of NAA NY; and Ken Siri, author and board member of NAA NY. Moderated by Dara Berger, filmmaker and board member of NAA NY.

You can reserve a place at this free workshop by visiting https://www.apple.com/retail/soho/

Product Demo: Tiggly Shapes

We thought you might like to see a product demo of the Tiggly Shapes & Apps by BCBA Sam Blanco. She’s been happily using the Tiggly Shapes and Apps with her students and we thought you might be interested in some of the uses specifically for learners with autism. Check out our brief demos to get a closer look at Tiggly. And read Sam’s Review on the product here.



Product Review: Tiggly Shapes

First, let me go ahead and admit that I’ve played with Tiggly Shapes even when none of my students were around. This simple set of four geometric shapes that interacts with three free apps is one of my favorite additions to play time.

So many of my students are highly motivated by iPads, but I find them hard to integrate into lessons because it’s easy for the learner to avoid social interaction while the iPad is out. Tiggly Shapes provides opportunities for interaction with both peers and adults because it adds a physical component to the activity.

I tried this app out with two learners with autism, one five-year-old boy and one nine-year-old boy. For the five-year-old, Tiggly Shapes was a useful tool for practicing shape recognition (one of his current IEP goals), then receiving unique and powerful reinforcement when he touched that shape to the screen. Though he doesn’t have strong fine motor skills, the shapes are designed in such a way that he was easily able to grasp them. He especially loved to see the animals appear in the Tiggly Safari app.

The nine-year-old loves to draw on paper and on the iPad, so Tiggly Draw was an automatic hit for him. The shapes allowed me to participate in the drawing with him in a different way that encouraged more social interaction while still being highly reinforcing for him.

Although the Tiggly Shapes were initially designed for toddlers and preschoolers, the Tiggly Draw app can definitely be used for a variety of learners of all ages (and also happens to be the app I was playing with on my own.) It is the only app for this product that is easy to modify to meet your learner’s specific needs.

If you’re a teacher working with young learners or a parent looking for unique and interactive ways to use the iPad, I wouldn’t hesitate to snap up Tiggly Shapes. And I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we’ll see more apps to go along with this fantastic new product!

New Low Price on Our Language App: Tell Me About It!

tell me about it iconAutism Awareness Month excitement continues…We’re thrilled to announce that for the rest of April, you can purchase our App Tell Me About It! Learning Language by Receptive Function, Feature & Category for the low price of $2.99!

Tell Me About It! teaches the label, category, function, and features of more than 235 language targets over 6 levels of incremental difficulty, with over 1000 unique testable attributes. The presentation of each language target conforms to an Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) discrete trial program, with reinforcement provided by a token economy system. Tell Me About It! provides a self-contained discrete trial program that error corrects and provides direct and immediate reinforcement while collecting and synthesizing data for up to 10 students. There is a Student Report Card that displays data for each student, with an option to email the results.

For students with speech and language delays or for those with Autism Spectrum Disorder, learning to simply label an image doesn’t necessarily translate into comprehensive understanding of that word. By breaking down each language target by its category, the function that it serves and its salient features, we offer students the opportunity to fully comprehend and then engage in language.

Level 1 

Categories

The App covers 15 categories of language targets that include: Animals, Body Parts, Clothing, Food, Household Items, Dishes, Utensils, Tools, Toys, School Supplies, Sports, Vehicles, Accessories, Furniture, and Musical Instruments.

 

 

 


Levels

The App advances from the basic building blocks of language – simple labeling – all the way through shared features across categories. The Levels presented in incremental difficulty are:

Level 1: Labels
                Level 2: Categories
                Level 3: Function
                Level 4: Feature
                Level 5: Randomized Feature, Function, Category
               Level 6: Shared Featured, Function, Category

Teacher Console

 

Teacher’s Console            

Teachers and parents can delve into the Teacher’s Console to control the settings for each student by turning the written labels for each language target ON/OFF, selecting a specific token character, selecting the default Level, and choosing a Reinforcement Schedule.

There is even a motion that administrators can use while a game is in progress to access the Teacher’s Menu to adjust the settings or view reports. To access the Teacher’s Bar, simply swipe 2 fingers in an upward motion from the bottom of the screen up:

 TeacherGesture

Reinforcement Schedule

The Reinforcement Schedule determines how many targets the studentmust answer correctly in order to complete a trial session and obtain a 5-10 second animation reward.  There is an option for 3, 5, or 10 tokens and you can even select the character you want or keep the default setting of Random.

 End of Game

Reporting & Data

Tell Me About It! tracks each student’s progress and provides a Report after every trial as well as a comprehensive Report Card accessible in the teacher’s console. You’ll see a + for every correct response and a – for incorrect ones. If a student hasn’t yet mastered a target, you’ll see the number of presentations in parentheses after the score.

Report Card

Determining Mastery of Targets

This App strives to mimic an actual one-on-one instructional session with a therapist as much as is possible in an application. For this App, we determine which targets will be defined as mastered by the program in a variety of ways depending on how many times it has been presented.  When answered correctly on the very first presentation, the student receives both a token and verbal praise and that target is considered “known” or mastered and not presented again on that level.  If the answer is not correct on that first presentation, the target will be reintroduced in subsequent trials and must then be answered correctly on two different, consecutive presentations to be considered mastered. When an incorrect response is given, error correction is provided by having the correct image flash while verbal correction is also provided. The App then shuffles the placement of the images, and re-presents the same question. If the student answers correctly on this second attempt, they receive verbal praise only (no token) and then move to another question.  Note that your Data sheets will display, in parentheses, how many times each target has been presented so that you are always aware of your student’s progression and where there might be deficits.

 

Reach for the APPS aims to get iPads for students with autism into schools

A new non-profit organization called Reach for the APPS launched recently. Their aim is to partner with individuals and corporations to increase access to iPads in schools across the country for use with students on the autism spectrum. The organization was founded by the family of a child with autism whose language and communicative skills have improved from using the iPad.

Both schools and parents can fill out a grant request form on their site requesting iPads for their children and students to use. Individuals and corporations can contribute with either a cash donation or by sending in an old iPad. This sounds like an interesting idea! Let us know if you’ve participated and how the experience was.