Friday, November 2, 2012

REVIEW / GIVEAWAY: Talk About It Objects Pro HD by Hamaguchi Apps

Talk About It: Objects Pro HD by Hamaguchi Apps for Speech, Language and Auditory Development ($9.99 at time of review; Home version also available- $5.99 )

After a while on the app scene, you begin to recognize apps by the developer name.  Having used many Hamaguchi apps and knowing their quality, I knew Talk About It: Objects Pro HD would be a good addition to my app arsenal. Many of the Hamaguchi apps work on more basic language skills like combining words into phrases, or following basic directions. This app, however is more geared toward students who have already mastered basic communication skills, but have difficulty with tasks such as describing, categorizing, and recognizing the most important/most specific details of an object.  Students work on receptive, expressive or both receptive/expressive tasks. I am glad to have a Hamaguchi app that meets the needs of these students. 

There are several things I value about this app. For starters, it is developed by a speech and language pathologist.   It allows data tracking to easily keep track of students' progress, it has the "fun" factor with a spinner feature during describing practice, and a built in game/reward system. In addition there is a recording feature which has been very useful for students to refer back to their speech productions.  Another feature I love is the customization- I can go in to the settings and choose exactly which objects I want to cover from the list, or make it randomized.  There are 50 objects spread across the following categories: Animals, Clothing and Accessories, Foods, Household Items, Jewelry, Musical Instruments, Places, Vehicles, and Miscellaneous.  I can set how many facts per object I would like the student to work on, (three, five or seven statements) and whether or not there will be feedback given for incorrect selections (I personally have kept this to off).  I can also remove the recording feature and/or clues from the game screen, and choose whether the reward game is played after every object, after three objects, after five objects, or none.  I can even shut off progress and scores if they are a distraction to the students.

While I am reviewing the Pro edition, there is also a Home edition of this app available, if you do not need to track multiple students. The Pro edition tracks up to 30 students; the Home edition is for a single child.

To play, select the students from the students you have entered under the Users tab, and highlight them in red to include them in play.  The name of the player whose turn it is will display in the top right hand corner.  To play, the student presses the play button under the picture square on the left hand side to activate the spinner.  The spinner will land on an object to describe- possible guesses/information for that object is displayed in a "Guess Box" to the right.  The game show feel continues with a special "Talk About It" curtain below the picture window and guess box-

During game play the student is required to look for the best descriptive sentence for an object.  The choices include a mix of statements, from unlikely, to true but vague or irrelevant etc., and to most specific.  For example there is a picture of a doll and the user is asked "Which sentence below tells us the most specific and important information about a doll?

1. A doll looks like an animal or a unicorn
2. A doll is something that you look at on your shelf.
3. A doll is something that you sleep with.
4. A doll is something to play with and looks like a person.

If needed, there are audio buttons next to each sentence so the child can hear each detail read aloud before making a choice.  If an incorrect choice is made, a red x will show in the box next to it.  More than one correct answer can sometimes be chosen.  For each correct answer a chime will sound and the child's score will increase in the upper left hand corner if it was not preceded by an incorrect choice. When a correct choice is made, a green check mark will also be placed next to the sentence, and the sentence will "magically" be sent behind the curtains for storage.   The student can view these stored sentences by pressing the Show button below the curtain to reveal them.  Then the play will continue with more choices for the same object, along with the same request to find the most specific and important information:

1. It has a head, body, arms and legs.
2. My sister has a doll named Cathy that is really cute.
3. I saw a doll.
4. It has different parts.

After all the important details have been gathered, the curtain opens to reveal all the details, with bubbles to check off for each detail, and a recording feature displayed below.  If you want the child to recall the features without written support, there is a hide button. Press the start button to have the student list the details he/she remembers (The curtain will automatically close when the start button is pressed and open after the stop button is pressed)  If the student needs cues, touch the magnifying glasses along the bottom to hear different hints voiced such as "Tell me some important parts of it."  "Can you describe what it looks like?" "Think about what you would do with it." "What category is it?"  The details the student remembered can be ticked off on the list- a chime will sound and the correct responses will be scored when this is done. The student can also listen to his/her recording, pause it, or rewind it to the beginning. You can set a reward game to play after a certain number of objects are described.

 When the student is finished, choose a new student from the Player list, or end the session by pressing the red End Session button in the top right hand corner. If you choose to end the session, a pop up window will say "Save data and show session?  Here you can review data for each student, email, delete or print the data.  You can also create a PDF of the data.  You can also see data from previous sessions by returning to the main screen, selecting Users, then Previous Data.

Wish List:

There is not much to add, as Hamaguchi Apps has already thought of what we need most!  What I would love to see:  this is one I am always pining for in my speech and language apps- the ability to insert our own picture and details, of course!  I would also like to see the app automatically move from one player to another, instead of having to change it manually.  I would also like the reward game to be more interactive and perhaps timed- right now you can keep pressing Play again but sometimes a set time length is better, especially for some of my students who have a need to know what is coming next- these kiddos need a more defined time frame.

Learn More:

Developed by noted speech-language pathologist and author of Childhood Speech, Language & Listening Problems: What Every Parent Should Know, Patti Hamaguchi, M.A., CCC-SLP. To find out more about this app and our other upcoming projects, visit our website: or YouTube channel: HamaguchiApps


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