Thursday, April 17, 2014

Speak For Yourself

  Speak For Yourself by Speak For Yourself, LLC ($199.99)

The iOS version has gone through several updates since its return- I am excited to report that you can now search for words like the Android version; there is a unique teaching feature that shows the user where the word is through audio and visual cues. You can also change the images for core words! As of Jan. 2014 there is a great new history feature too. 

ENTER WEEK #4 GIVEAWAY FOR SPEAK FOR YOURSELF; learn more about the story about SFY's development!: GIVEAWAY IS OVER

An update is planned with additional features!  For information on all the latest features, consult the most current description in iTunes. 

My own son uses Speak For Yourself.  He is verbal but has extreme anxiety at times, he uses SFY when he is unable to talk.    We also have fun using SFY's messaging capabilities with SFY loaded on Mom's work iPad and Grandpa's old iPad.  We have been able to see his humor come out through his use of SFY.  Speak For Yourself is fostering a lot of communication and brings a lot of joy to our household.

What is wonderful about SFY is that both verbal and nonverbal users are finding success in communication via this app- the way it is designed allows the individual to have access to a vast vocabulary - it is easy to hide for those overwhelmed by many buttons, but it is always available.  Users can explore the full vocabulary through the "babble" feature.  This app grows with the user!  The new search function makes this an excellent choice for schools too- everyone on the IEP team can become competent at modeling AAC use with this app- the search feature shows you exactly where each button is located.  This means more communication, quicker communication, less frustration.

There is a lite version available in the iTunes store now
(*the app description below is from the Speak for Yourself website*)

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Speak for Yourself AAC Language App was designed by two ASHA-certified speech-language pathologists (SLPs) with an extensive knowledge of AAC devices and implementation.
Vocabulary is based on research of the most commonly used words across age, languages, settings, and situations. Eighty percent of the words that we use to communicate are comprised of a core vocabulary of 300-500 words.  This means that approximately only twenty percent of a person’s vocabulary is “personalized.” One hundred and nineteen of these core words constitute the main screen of Speak for Yourself.  Each of these buttons links to additional related core vocabulary words and personalized, programmable vocabulary.

Features of Speak for Yourself:

Open and close feature allows users to begin with only one word and add to their vocabulary at their own pace.  The first word the user learns never changes position.  This means that the user will never have to learn how to say that first word again, even if their vocabulary grows to the more than 13,000 words that Speak for Yourself can hold!

The motor planning in this application remains consistent throughout the users’ lifetime, to increase automaticity, which in turn increases the individual’s rate of speech. This is consistent with the way language is developed.   When you learn the motor movements needed to verbally say the word “eat” as a one year old, those motor movements remain consistent throughout your lifetime and become automatic.  Your mouth still makes the same movements when you’re ninety to say the word “eat.”
Babble feature allows users to explore vocabulary by opening every word in the application by touching one button.  Just as a baby, practicing to speak, “babbles” by exploring his mouth’s motor movements and hearing the sounds produced, the user can explore the words available in Speak for Yourself with alternative motor movements (e.g. using his hand).  The user can be returned to their customized setting by touching the same button to turn “babble” off.

Lock edit Come on, we’ve all been there.  After meeting with the team, customizing the communication system, and finishing the programming to make everybody happy, the child gets into the settings and decides he’s going to do a little “editing” of his own.  This nightmare can be avoided by touching the “lock” button.  This feature disables the editing functions in the application.  To “unlock” the edit functions of the application, go to the iPad® settings and “enable programming.”

Flexible Settings and New Options.  Change Voice, Rate, Pitch!  Access phrase history to track language use and progress. A new "Hold that Thought" feature lets you store phrases for quick access later! You can also view SFY programming guide in case you are unsure of how to access an SFY feature.  

Edit and add words using an intuitive interface. When you want to add a new word, decide where you would like it to be, while looking at the screen, touch the edit button and the screen will turn gray.  You’ll be able to view the available buttons.  Touch the gray button where you would like to add your new word.  The edit popover will appear If you would like to use a photo, begin with “image options.”  You’ll be given a choice to “take photo” or “choose photo” from your iPad® 2 photo album.   If you would like to choose a symbol, touch “add image” and you will be directed to select a symbol. You can scroll alphabetically or touch the search window and a keyboard will pop up.  Type the word you would like to add or a symbol name that would represent that word.  When you’ve found the desired symbol, touch it, displaying it on your edit screen.  If the “word to speak” matches the word you wanted to add, touch “Done” on the edit pop over and “Done” in the top left corner to exit “Edit mode,” your new word is ready to use! If the “word to speak” is not exactly what you want it to say, touch the “word to speak” window, to change it.

No duplication feature:  How many times have you looked at a child’s device and there are five different ways to say “bathroom?”  Their mom shows them one way to say it, their teacher uses the word “bathroom” in a different location, and their speech therapist uses the word “bathroom” in yet another location.  When one of the people in the child’s life forgets where the word “bathroom” is located, she adds it again.  The child is shown all of these different motor movements to say the same word.  Once a verbal child learns the motor movements to say a word, they never have to learn a “new way” to say that word.  A nonverbal child has that same ability with the no duplication feature.  If you are attempting to add a word that is already in the application, a window will pop up, alerting you that it is a “duplicate word.”  It will also tell you the home screen word you can touch to find it.
In addition, you can use this feature to find a word within the application.  Search for a word by touching edit and entering the word into the “word to speak” field of any empty cell.  The application will allow you to add it if it is not already programmed.  If it is already programmed in the app, it will tell you which home screen word you can touch to find it.

New! Search Function: Searching now is even easier- touch the magnifying glass symbol in the upper left corner of the screen and type in a word- SFY will show you exactly where the word is located by highlighting it for you!

We’ve added some features and made some changes to the Android version based on feedback we’ve received!  They include:
Word Finder has been added to the Android version of Speak for Yourself!  Touch the question mark in the upper left hand corner if you are looking for a word.  A purple box will appear and blink on the main screen word and then the secondary screen to show you how to say the word.  If you have vocabulary closed, don’t worry…the app will open the buttons you need to say the word!
You can change the symbols for the protected core vocabulary words.  The word and position remain consistent, but use the symbol that you think will benefit the person using the app!
The top right hand corner of the main screen buttons are “folded down” if that button links to a secondary screen.  This is based on feedback that users of the app want to be able to differentiate if the button will immediately speak or go to a secondary page.
Save vocabulary settings for multiple users!  You can add as many users as your tablet memory can hold.  If you’re trialing Speak for Yourself for several children on your caseload, you can switch between their customized settings and then save and transfer their setting when they get their own tablet. 
We’d love to hear from you if there is anything we can do or change to promote successful use of Speak for Yourself!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

App Review- SpeakColorsHD (RWH Technology)


SpeakColorsHD by RWH Technology (iPad, $3.99 at time of review)

SpeakColorsHD is an app that teaches colors through real picture use. It is also great for teaching adjective+ noun phrases yellow car, red cup, as well as simple sentences The flower is orange. The pen is black. A new update has introduced even more sentence frames! The premise is you tap a color from a row of colors at the top of the screen, and two pictures will be displayed- a color, and object matching that color. The pictures will speak when you tap them, and the child can scroll through the colors or objects by tapping them. You can use the default mode, with a pre-recorded voice, or set your own voice as the default. There is a phrase mode or sentence mode. The child can also use the record feature to record himself saying the phrase or sentence displayed on the screen.

I have tried SpeakColorsHD with my SEEC(Special Education Early Childhood) preschoolers at two different sites- these are 3-5 year olds working on color identification and/or using 2-4 word phrases/sentences. I had three concerns that I shared with the developer, and am happy to say one of those concerns is being addressed in a future update, and the other two are being considered. If this looks like something your child or student could benefit from, you may want to consider purchasing this before the price goes up (If it does at all- I am only speculating that it might given the added features.)

FYI:  SpeakColorsHD has been totally revamped! The latest update is terrific, and has definitely addressed these concerns! I use this app much more often.   I really love the new sentence structures added as well!
Autism Awareness/Acceptance Month 2014 -Code Drop
Please take a code!
Picture Advancing-
One of my students will hardly sit still, and he did tolerate several minutes of play and was imitating some words with prompting as well. Another preschooler was fascinated by the combination of the pictures and voicing of labels.

I love this feature and I have had success with reluctant students wanting to speak the words to hear their voices recorded- it is very motivating.  I would love to have a student go through the cards, recording his voice for each set. Then I would like him to be able to listen to his voice. I see you can do this in setup mode if I have him record as the default voice, but then that would only save one student's recordings and my sample recordings would be lost. I want something that could be accessed for each student through the play mode. The app also comes with prerecorded voices for each picture- you can choose from a male or female voice.

Add Your Own Images-
SpeakColorsHD uses real pictures, which I love. I feel real pictures are grasped more easily by my students, and am happy to see them as the central feature of SpeakColorsHD. I am happy to report you can also now add your own pictures;  you can check out Speech Cards Professional if you want tracking features for multiple students! I love this as we can use familiar objects of my students'- their favorite colors of M&Ms, their own lunchboxes, the shirt they are wearing that day etc.

SpeakColorsHD is a good app for use with language delayed children.  Due to its customization features, it is easy to use with a variety of students. Kudos to the developer for being open to changes- the app has evolved and is a favorite for my "speech therapy app tool box."

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Giveaways & Free/Sale Lists : Autism Awareness Month

Awareness... leads to Acceptance!

Daily FREE/Sale List for Autism Awareness Month maintained here: (If prices in iTunes do not match listing , account for Australian/ North American Time Difference- we North Americans are a day behind- you can take a peek at specials for the next day!)

Be sure to check out our Facebook page for last minute app shares- there are MANY AAC and Special Needs apps on sale listed there for April 2, Autism Awareness Day, some sales may still be going on:

Current Autism Awareness Month Giveaways:

WOO-HOO! An iPad Mini?! Two iPad Minis? SASK & TAL have teamed up for these iPad mini giveaways running all month in APRIL:

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Count to 100! (ENDED- DID YOU WIN? )

Speak For Yourself (WEEK #3- ENTER NOW)  ( WEEK#2- Did you Win?)


All4mychild  (rotating app giveaways from all4mychild throughout APRIL)


Therapy Box- Win a suite of their apps, including their latest AAC app, ChatAble;(RUNS ENTIRE MONTH OF APRIL) There are rotating individual App giveaways too!

KidBox iPad Mini case from KaysCase (RUNS ENTIRE MONTH OF APRIL)

Giveaways coming up @SASK & TAL

Stay Tuned:

State Bingo and Road Trip US
Musical Paint
Fun with Verbs & Sentences
Between the Lines 1 HD
Between the Lines 2 HD

Giveaways on other Sites:

Alexicom Elements (via AppyMall) ENDED

Join Technology in Education for over $2000 in Giveaways for #AppsforAutism Event at AppyMall, including a chance to win an iPad Mini, courtesy of our wonderful sponsors, as well as many app codes and gift cards! Don't miss this event, and invite your friends! -

iPad mini from The iMums and Bamba Craft!

More places to check for FREE/SALE apps during Autism Awareness Month:  (SORTED BY FUNCTION!)

Posts on Special Needs Apps & Products:
AAC Apps:

Top 10 Special Needs Developers:

Handy iPad/ mini cases post:

Android Apps List:

Posts on Special Needs Topics:

Autism Awareness Month Giveaways- All4mychild Apps

  In honor of Autism Awareness Month All4mychild has four groups of codes to share with us.   All4mychild has also developed Fun Timer (99 cents).

Talking Train
A clever tool for language therapy, Talking Train is a simple but open ended app that allows you to draw, type, or add pictures to train cars. You can "build" sentences, or sequences of events, use it as a quick visual schedule, draw math problems, whatever direction you would like to take it.  Because each train car is separate but part of the "whole" train, I find it great for teaching concepts such as sentence structure, language expansion, story retell etc. When your "train" is complete, have your child press the button to send it away from the station with fun chugging, whistling sound effects for your train enthusiasts!

Social Adventures 
From iTunes: The Social Adventures App provides clinicians, teachers and parents with a treasure trove of activity descriptions for teaching social skills and friendship. Children ages 3-13 with social needs such as those associated with Autism Spectrum Disorders, ADHD, NLD, Sensory Processing Disorders and social anxiety will gain confidence and success in navigating the rough waters of relationships. 
Social Adventures includes a variety of activity ideas to teach skills in the seven areas of social cognition evaluated in the IMAGINE Checklist app, so it is a good complement to it. This app also includes Bag Game, a fun guessing game that can be used to foster social and language skills. (See app description for Bag Game below)
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Bag Game
The Bag Game app is a 20 questions spin-off using one of 100 common items. You can even use your own photos.  One person "hides" an item in the bag and have students take turns guessing what it is.   This game can be used to work on turn taking, collaborating with peers, language goals such as categorization and description skills etc.  This app is also included as part of the Social Adventures app, a complete curriculum program for social skills.
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From iTunes: The IMAGINE Checklist App is an informal assessment of more than 60 specific social cognition skills following our IMAGINE framework of social development.
A new favorite from all4mychild, IMAGINE Checklist helps organize all the points you would like to consider when evaluating a child for social abilities. The app looks at 7 key areas of  functioning, to make up the acronym IMAGINE: Initiating Interactions, Maintaining Interactions, Advocating & Compromising, Getting Regulated, Interpreting Nonverbals, Negotiating Space, Experiencing Humor.  IMAGINE Checklist allows data storage for multiple students; each questionnaire item has an area for notes as well. I feel this will serve children on both ends of the spectrum well, and is an especially handy tool for uncovering hidden social deficits.  While it is meant to give you a snapshot of a child's functioning so you can pinpoint problem areas and address them, in my opinion this is a valuable as an informal screening tool.  I am confident if my son had been screened with this checklist, it would have led to his eventual autism spectrum disorder diagnosis much sooner
Link to all giveaways, free and pricedrop apps for Autism Awareness Month here:

Therapy Box Suite of Apps Giveaway: Autism Awareness Month

Therapy Box Suite


Developer: Therapy Box

At Therapy Box we provide solutions in speech and communication powered by cutting edge technology. We design award winning apps for AAC. Therapy Box launched in 2010 and have quickly become the go-to development house for the speech and language therapy industry. With a slew of awards for their apps and services, Therapy Box keep their core goals in focus – creating cutting edge and affordable apps for people with disabilities. Headed by speech and language therapist/pathologist Rebecca Bright and tech industry professional Swapnil Gadgil, the young team is driven to assure their apps reach as many as possible. Predictable is currently available in 6 languages and in 2013 was awarded the grand prize at the Ericsson App Awards in Stockholm. 2013 also saw co-founder Rebecca Bright take home the prestigious NatWest everywoman Iris Award for tech entrepreneurs.

One person will win a Suite of Therapy-Box Apps


Review of ChatAble ($79.99) (currently 50% off to celebrate Autism Awareness Month [Usually $159.99]

(by Amy Taylor of Special Apps, Special Kids) ChatAble offers a fully functional AAC component with Facebook integration and handwriting recognition as an input method (Chatable's sister app, Predictable, also has this function. ChatAble has a very easy to use visual scene feature with a really exceptional option- an alarm function! Choose an image from your camera roll, from one of the 12,000 widget symbols, or take a photo on the spot. Then program hot spots where you can embed your voice, a video or even a song from your iTunes, and to top it off program the visual scene to signal an alarm at a certain time of the day. Full Review of ChatAble here
Predictable ($159.99) - is an exciting text-to-speech application for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. Offering customisable AAC functions with the latest social media integration, Predictable sets a new benchmark. Using a word prediction engine and switch access, Predictable meets the needs of a wide range of people using AAC. A wide range of people are using Predictable, including those with MND / ALS, Cerebral Palsy and people with communication difficulties after a stroke or head injury.  
Odd One Out Pack ($29.99) - is designed to work on semantic reasoning skills. With 6 sets of cards per level and record keeping, therapists and teachers can track progress and adjust the difficulty of the activity. Using vibrant symbols and clear visual and auditory feedback, this app is great for carrying over therapy goals at home.     a Rafflecopter giveaway
Scene&Heard ($49.99) - is a Visual Scene Display augmentative communication aid on the iPad! Scene & Heard is an interactive context based communication aid and learning tool. Parents, teachers, therapists and helpers can import photos and allocate actions including audio messages, short videos, Widgit symbols and scene links to transition to a new scene. This makes the scene interactive!  
Sort This Out Pack ($13.99) - is a fun educational game designed to work on skills required for categorization. Have fun sorting items into 2 categories to load your train so it can leave the station. Using animation and fun sounds, this app is designed for pre-school and early primary school students to use it in the classroom and at home. With the ability to tailor the categories and items to suit your child, you can target relevant vocabulary or concepts in a fun and motivating app.
Minimal Pair Pack ($29.99) - Minimal Pair Pack is a fun application for working on speech sound discrimination and production. Designed for children with developmental communication difficulties and also adults with phonological difficulties. Easy to use flash card style tasks can be set up quickly by therapists or teachers for use with a range of clients including adults and adolescents with dysphasia, dyslexia or dysgraphia; teachers of adult literacy; therapists working with children who have language and literacy needs or those working with people for whom English is a second language. The program targets the following speech sounds in the initial position of words: p, b, m, n, t, d, k, g, f, v, s, z, dz (as in jam), j (as in yacht), w, r, l, th, sh, ch. 
PAST GIVEAWAY for Minimal Pair Pack

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You Tube:


Category: Communication Age: All

Social Media Links:

Website: Therapy Box Facebook Page: Therapy Box Twitter: @TherapyBox You Tube: TherapyBox

Store Links:


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