Introducing Smart Kidz Club!

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Different Roads is proud to introduce you to Smart Kidz Club, a digital library of educational resources for young readers, available on web & mobile devices. Smart Kidz Club’s collection of more than 450 eBooks, interactive resources, play activities, and comprehension quizzes can be accessed safely off-line on mobile devices for anytime, anywhere learning. There’s even a special category dedicated to teaching children with ASD!

You can access a no-risk, two week free trial here!

 

Pick Of The Week: Introducing our brand new Play Idea Cards app!

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Our new app is a complete play skills curriculum. As guided by evidence-based intervention principles, the curriculum strengthens students’ pretend and innovative play skills, all for just $9.99!

 

Evidence-Based Intervention
We give you a step-by-step guide on how to develop your child’s play. Practical and easy to follow, it’s also based on years of research that breaks learning pretend play into 14 levels. Find out what level your child is currently on, and what to do next. Clear instruction and easy, executable ideas help your child play with toys at home.

Easy To Follow Play Idea Cards
Our flash cards are easy to use while you (parents, therapists, & teachers) play with your child. Use our suggested play activities, or create your own based upon the ideas from the cards. Most of our ideas come from toys you already have in your home, so start today!

Key Features

  • A clear instruction guide developed by experts in the field of ASD
  • 14 step developmental play scale that works for any child with any language capability
  • Simple play ideas using toys you already have at home!
  • 100+ ideas for how to play with your child
  • An outdoor option for every level so you can take your play outside!

Guide your young learner down the path of purposeful play! 

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

What Goes Together?Our very own app for matching and sorting What Goes Together? is now available for Android devices*. Find it available now in the Google Play Store, on Amazon, and in the Barnes & Noble Nook Store.

This interactive game 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.

Screenshots captured from a 7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tablet.

In What Goes Together?, images are prompted with the question “What goes together?” Students then drag the prompted object to the correctly associated object among the 3 shown across the bottom of the screen. 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.

*What Goes Together? runs an Android 2.2 platforms and up. This app is also available in the Apple iTunes Store.

Tip of the Week: Easy Modification for Promoting Functional iPad Use

The iPad is a highly motivating item for many kids. But many parents and teachers find it frustrating to teach kids with autism to use the iPad functionally. Here are three tips that can help you promote functional use.

  1. Lock Rotation – Some learners with autism like to watch the screen rotate as they move the iPad. This prevents them from using the iPad to complete tasks, create visual or audio products, or play games. There is a small switch on the side of the iPad that is factory preset to mute the volume. You can change the function of this switch to lock rotation, preventing your learner from fixating on rotating the screen.LockRotation_Image
  2. Guided Access – When providing access to the iPad, it’s a good idea to give your learner options of particular apps to engage with instead of providing free access to everything available on the device. For example, during a teaching session, I might say, “When it’s time for a break, do you want to play Match or Simon?” When it’s time for the break, I open the app the learner chose, then activate Guided Access, which makes it impossible for the learner to switch to other apps.GuidedAccess_Image
  3. Timed Play – Sometimes I want to limit the amount of time a learner spends on the iPad. When I am providing a student a break during a teaching session, frequently I limit the time to 23 minutes. Parents may allow their child to play on the iPad for 30 minutes. You can set the iPad to immediately shut off at the specified time. I like to use this function because it prevents the end of an preferred activity from being associated with me.TimedPlay_Image

**Unfortunately, the iPad is the only tablet with which I am familiar. If you use another tablet and have tips such as those above, please share them with us!


WRITTEN BY SAM BLANCO, MSED, BCBA

Sam is an ABA provider for students ages 3-12 in NYC. Working in education for ten years with students with Autism Spectrum Disorders and other developmental delays, Sam has developed strategies for achieving a multitude of academic, behavior, and social goals. Sam is currently pursuing her PhD in Applied Behavior Analysis at Endicott College.

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

New Yorkers: Are you available for an app-testing play date with Tiggly this Wednesday?

The folks at Tiggly are hosting an app-testing playdate for New York families with children aged 3 to 6 years from 10:00am–12:00pm this Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014. The play date will allow families to check out the new learning games and toys in development by Tiggly. In return, families will receive goodie bags and a chance to enroll in their Playdate Loyalty Program.

Space is limited, so please RSVP to attend the Playdate this Wednesday. Send an email to kate@tiggly.com to register and get more information on location and directions.

Tiggly Shapes combines the essential educational benefits of physical play with the learning potential and fun of the iPad. This simple set of four geometric shapes interacts with three free apps to create an ideal learning environment for children. 

Tiggly Shapes melds the best of what the digital world has to offer with the developmental importance of manipulative play in toddlers and preschoolers. Seventy years of academic research has demonstrated that manipulating physical objects is essential to early childhood development. Tiggly enables parents to bring this critical component of early learning to the “digital sandbox” today’s kids inhabit. The product consists of a simple triangle, circle, square, and star that become interactive when used with Tiggly Apps to create a robust learning experience.

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 http://www.apple.com/retail/soho/

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.