ChatAble App Review

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Personally, I feel like AAC is often underutilized in our field. Oftentimes, this can be due to lack of access to the appropriate technology, cost limitations, or time limitations. We learned in grad school that AAC is appropriate for anybody who cannot meet 100% of their communication needs in a day. I love many things about ChatAble including its $159.99 price tag.

According to the Apple Store, you can, “Create and use symbol based grids…or use photos to make visual scene displays. Or, take both and create a hybrid page. The possibilities are endless with ChatAble. ChatAble is an easy to use communication aid app for people with communication difficulties who benefit from symbol and photo support. Parents, teachers and therapists can create page sets in minutes with an intuitive set up. The customisation options are extensive to enable people with a range of physical, cognitive and language abilities the opportunity to use the app to communicate at home, school or with their family and friends…. After entering your message you can also share it using email, twitter or facebook. As pages can be backed up and saved, you can share them with other students or friends too!”

For the past 2 weeks, I’ve been customizing and using ChatAble with a wide variety of clients. I made pages for myself to play around, and made pages that I use every day at work. I will admit, that like any AAC system, it takes quite a bit of time to get started. I wasn’t super impressed with the pages that come on ChatAble, but they do represent a wide variety of the features of ChatAble which I appreciated. I learned a lot about the amazing things this app is capable of by playing around with the boards that come on it!

Without more boring rambling, here are some amazing things about ChatAble:

 You can easily make picture scene displays. Check out the one that would allow me to share information about my dogs below:

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First, I chose this folder so I can share about my dogs in my about me folder. In ChatAble, you have the option of adding a grid, a picture scene display, or a hybrid of both. I chose Scene so then I can take a picture using the camera or use my photo gallery. Then, I can add hotspots that speak when touched. I can also schedule start times for when they should speak as well!

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Check out the finished page below. You can see the hot spots (that I customized the color of). When touched, they introduce my dogs (e.g., This is my dog Harper).

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Below is the board I’ve used most often since getting ChatAble:

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You can see I’ve put a message in the message window. Once great feature about ChatAble is that you can export these messages into iMessage, emails, Twitter, or even Facebook. Pretty cool, and so functional.

Below is currently how I have my homepage organized. Again, I’ve only had the app a few weeks so I know this will probably change daily for the next month or so, but it gives you a good feel for the app:

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Below is my Arts & Crafts folder, which is growing every day. When you click on colors, the second picture opens. You can easily go back using the back arrow in the bottom left corner.

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One thing that is totally necessary in an AAC app and ChatAble does well is customization options. You can make the grids a variety of sizes:

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You can use pictures or symbols. Here is an example of some of the symbol choices for “play”:

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You can make everything from simple, small grids to a hybrid picture scene display with icon choices:

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Two examples are below. The one on the left is a hybrid and the one on the right is a very simple grid (2×2).

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 You can change almost everything. The text size, font, border color, background color, etc… I love the features and options!

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Overall, I felt like everything was easy to learn and intuitive, all while maintaining many options without feeling cluttered.

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You can edit pages by using the menu in the bottom right as shown above. Below are two pictures of the MANY options available to you in the settings:

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PROS:
-Customization options
-Usability
-Picture scene display/hybrid option

CONS:
-Less symbol choices than I would like
-Voice output isn’t great
-Twice I’ve had small changes not save

OVERALL:
This app is a fantastic AAC app that has become a must have for me. I love the customization options and the overall ease of use. I haven’t even used half of the options available (e.g., using an icon to open a webpage, adding musicThe picture scene display option is amazing and so useful. I can see taking pictures of my game closet and putting hot spots on each game for beginner communicators to make choices. The ideas are endless. I would absolutely recommend this app for AAC users, parents, and SLPs.

Check out ChatAble in the App Store here!

{thanks for reading!}

Let’s Use Language App Review

In case you hadn’t noticed, I’ve been extremely MIA lately! In the past month, I’ve graduated, started a new job, got ANOTHER puppy, bought a house, went on a vacation to the Dominican Republic, and was in a wedding. I’m.exhausted. So please excuse the lack of posts and new, fun materials! I promise they are coming!

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Today, I’m excited to share an app review of Let’s Use Language. It’s an app very similar to another one I’ve reviewed in the past, Let’s Be Social. I enjoyed that app (and use it often) so I knew right away I’d like this app as well.

This app targets: vocabulary, sequencing, categories, and opposites. You can also make your own books to target anything you’d like!

Vocabulary:

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 Below is an example story from the app. You can scroll down slightly but this is about the length of most! I really like how they are short and to the point.

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Below are some example question from the vocabulary section:

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Sequencing:

Below is a question in the sequencing section from the same story:

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Categories:

Below are some example questions from the categories section:

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I was slightly confused about this section. Overall, I wish there were more typical category type questions. Another book asked questions such as, “Do penguins fly?” Instead, I wish they had questions like, “A penguin is an animal. Name three other animals.”

Opposites:

Below is an example of  an opposite question:

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Each time the app provides you with instant feedback:

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And then after each “module” or book, your students can see how many they got correct:

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Pros:
-Good length of stories
-The stories are relatable and easy to understand
-I love how the app is set up. Easy to use and not too many graphics/extra things.
-Targets topics I need more materials for!
-So far, the app seems to be getting great reviews from SLPs!

Cons:
-Some of the questions are directly related to the section they are in. BUT they are all useful.
-Many of the questions asked are not directly answered in the reading passages.
-No data tracking, only the report at the end (if that matters to you).

At the time of this review (01/16/14) the app was $14.99 in the App Store! Definitely worth it! Check it out here.

Disclaimer: This app was given to me in exchange for my review. No other compensation was provided. The opinions expressed are mine.

App Review: Minimal Pairs Academy

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If you read my app reviews, you will know that Smarty Ears is one of my all time favorite app makers. I love all of their apps, and love that many are based on evidence-based practice which is so important!

This app is called Minimal Pairs Academy and is based on the cycles approach for phonology!

When you open the app, you are greeted with the picture above. I like that is bright and colorful, but not super overwhelming. From here, you can start the app or view previous reports.

To start, you can choose up to four students to play at once.

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You can also double tap the pictures of the students to edit their goals. Check out all of the options for targets below:

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This doesn’t even show all of the options (you can scroll to see more) so the variety of targets is fantastic. If you look on the bottom of the first picture above, you can see that you can target auditory bombardment, auditory discrimination, production, and phrase completion.

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Auditory bombardment is shown above. On this level, the app says a word and your student finds the corresponding picture until they are all gone.

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This is an example of the phrase completion level. As you can see, there is a phrase on the top and two minimal pair options below.

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The production level is the classic minimal pairs activity. The flipped over card is a minimal pair of the image shown.

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Last is auditory discrimination. Two images are shown with a word and your student must find the corresponding image!

One thing that you might have noticed throughout is that this app takes great data! You can either take it yourself (see the green, yellow, and red circles at the bottom of some screens) or the app takes it itself like in the auditory discrimination page. I love this feature. Check out some of the data it takes below:

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One great thing about most Smarty Ears apps is the ability to customize. In the settings, you can adjust word lists and more!

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Overall:

I love this app, and that it does most of the work for you. It does take a bit of time to get all of the students in the system and their goals set, but once you do it’s smooth sailing after that! This app truly does it all. I trust Smarty Ears apps to have minimal crashing and issues AND to be based off current research, which is very important to me. The voice in the app is surprisingly clear, as are the pictures used.

As I hope you can tell from this review, I’d definitely recommend this fantastic app for your phonology kiddos! It’s available in the iTunes store for $19.99 here.

Enter the giveaway below to win a copy for yourself:

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App Review: Preposition Remix

We’re continuing with the theme of the week: apps! I have another FANTASTIC one to share with you! It’s definitely the most used app on my iPad from the past couple weeks, and I use my iPad a lot!

It’s Preposition Remix from Smarty Ears!

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This is an extremely simple (and effective and amazing) app so it won’t take long to describe, but don’t let the short description fool you. My students love it, and so do I!

One thing I love (and think it necessary) is that you can customize which prepositions to target.

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Then you start! Some scene examples are shown below:

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When your student touches the correct object, a ‘Well Done’ image pops up and a new scene comes up.

Overall:

Even my students that really struggle with prepositions experienced success with this app. I’ve began using it as a warm-up before more difficult preposition activities (e.g. barrier games) to get my students feeling ready and confident. In my experience, the pictures were always clear, non-distracting, and relevant. I would absolutely recommend this app to ANY SLP!! It’s available in the iTunes store here for $9.99 and it’s absolutely worth that!

Enter the giveaway below to win a copy for yourself:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

App Review: iPractice Verbs

Smarty Ears consistently makes some of my favorite speech & language iPad apps! So excited to share THREE with you this week (with givewaways) so stay tuned!!

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Today, iPractice Verbs is up! As always, click on any pictures throughout the review to check out more about the app in the App Store!

When you open the app, you have the choice of either doing Flashcards or Find It. I’ll discuss both below:

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 For both, you can customize the word lists used. I love this feature!

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Flashcards is exactly what it sounds like! The page that comes up will look like the image below:

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As you can see, you can chance the test (present, present progressive, past) and the utterance length (word, phrase, sentence). You can also see whose turn it is on the right side! Data can be taken quickly in the bottom right corner as well.

Check out some of the images below to see what changes as I play around with the features a bit.

First, I change the verb to past tense.

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Then, I changed the length from word to phrase.

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Here is another flashcard. You can see my stars building on the top. Your student gets a star up there for each correct response!

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After you collect 10 stars, your student will earn a card which gets kept on their sticker page!

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After you’re finished and exit out, you will see three options:

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You can view the sticker page (see the image above). You can also see progress cards (see image below).

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Last, you can make certificates for your students that are customizable!

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As I mentioned wayyyy back at the beginning of this review, you can also utilize a “Find It” option instead of Flashcards. This option is customizable:

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When the activity begins, it will look something like this:

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When you find the correct answer, it becomes larger:

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If you press an incorrect answer, it goes away and an empty white box is shown instead:

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And here is an example of a sentence cue instead of a single word:

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Great right?

OVERALL:

This app is a good one for practicing and using verbs of varying tense! I like that it has both an expressive and receptive component. Smarty Ears apps are some of my favorites, and I appreciate that they can upload data to the free Therapy Report Center. The pictures in this app were clear and everything is very intuitive! I like the simple use of graphics because sometimes I think apps overdo it in the graphics department :) The app is available for $9.99 in the App Store and I think it is definitely worth that price! An easy and effective way to target verbs!

Enter the giveaway below to win a copy:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Real Vocabulary Pro App Review

Lately, I feel like my motto has been, “When life gets crazy,  use apps!” Things have been insane around here lately and having go-to apps to use has been amazing. That’s why I’ve dedicated this week to app reviews! Come back each day this week for another app review to help you finish the school year strong!! Some might even have some giveaways ;)

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Up today is… Real Vocabulary Pro by Virtual Speech Center Inc. Click on any of the pictures throughout this review to check out more about this app, or click here!

When you open the app, you are able to customize what your students see. You can choose a grade level and activity: synonyms, antonyms, idioms, definitions, or multiple meaning words. Just check what you want (you can choose multiple things to target at the same time) and go!

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Then, you can customize whether you want the app to target expressive or receptive language.

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As you can see from the screenshots above, the app allows you to take data as well! The fork shows you how many trials you have done.

Check out some of the images below to see the some of the various types of questions/levels included in this app:

Antonym (What is the opposite of ________?)

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Definition (What is _______?)

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Multiple Meaning Words (What else can _________ mean?)

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Idioms (What did he/she/they mean?)

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Like I said earlier, the app also takes data!! Check out some examples of what it can do below:

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Another thing to note is that the app also includes mini games you can play (chef/restaurant themed) which is great when you need a quick, related reinforcer! They are quick and easy to learn!

Overall:

Vocabulary is SO important and I target it often. I love having an app to pull up quickly. The graphics are cute I like the fact there are reinforcer activities built in for kiddos who need it! Virtual Speech Center is great and I appreciate having the vocabulary words broken up by grade level for easy differentiation. Additionally, you can customize words lists as well. One thing I wish I could add is that the app gave you a way to teach the vocabulary. I consider this app more of a progress monitoring tool because it is set up like a test. It doesn’t necessarily teach the vocabulary words or give your student an opportunity to interact with the words.

 If you’re curious, this app is $29.99 and available in the App Store here!

Take the TpT Plunge!

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I LOVE TpT and I hope many of you do too! Felice over at The Dabbling Speechie had an amazing idea to share two resources we use all the time, and one that we made that we think others would love! So many people I know rely on Teachers Pay Teachers for the free products. Being a graduate student, I totally get that. To be honest, I search for free items before looking through paid ones when I need something. But VERY often, I end up purchasing products for several reasons:

1) They are super comprehensive. Oftentimes, when I buy a whole packet, it gives me ideas I would never have thought to search for! I love this, and I really think it makes me a better SLP.

2) It saves you time! For example, purchasing a phonology packet for multiple processes saves you time from finding a free material for each process.

3) Your things match. Let’s be real… most of us are Type A and enjoy things that match and go together. I sure do!

So check out my faves and then head on over to The Dabbling Speechie here to read everybody else’s post!

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(1) Alphabet File Folder Songs for Basic Language by Super Power Speech

I’ve been absolutely loving these file folder songs lately! I haven’t even made them all, but I probably use at least one a day!

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(2) Articulation Placemats: Homework Sheets and Drill Activities by Figuratively Speeching SLP

Again, I use these almost every day! They were definitely worth the cost. I actually use them in the speech room (instead of as homework) but my students are about 100x more motivated when they get to use a spinner. I bought cheap snap on ones on Amazon that work great and make drill much more fun!

One newer item I’d definitely recommend from my store is my WH Questions Interactive Book.

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I put the entire thing in a binder and use it several times a day. My kiddos have really responded well to this book, and have began answering WH questions much more accurately! I’m on a kick lately making interactive products so check out my store here for more!

And make sure to head back to The Dabbling Speechie here to read others’ recommendations!

Let’s Be Social! App Review

If you’re anything like me, you’re always looking for quality apps for social skills! They can be TOUGH to find!

Enter in the fabulous “Let’s Be Social” app. According to the app, it models and teaches solving problems, forming friendships, recognizing emotions, and predicting outcomes. Everything in the app was created by SLPs which is fantastic! Additionally, the app makes it super easy to create your own custom content to fit the needs of any pragmatic kiddo on your caseload!

The app is organized incredibly well for how much material it contains. It has the following categories:

Personal Interactions
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Navigating the Community
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School Behavior
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Handling Change
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Social Relationships
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In each “story” shown above, there is a short story and then an interactive quiz/lesson afterwards:

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As stated above, you can also create your own categories and your own stories (either in your category or one of theirs). Check out how easy it to to do below:

Add a book, including a short description/story, a title, and a cover picture.
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Then, create questions for your story! The app makes it incredibly easy & intuitive, and even provides easy tutorials (shown below):
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And just like magic, your book shows up! You can add to current categories or make your own!
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Pros:
-Very kid friendly language
-Good selection of stories
-Very easy to customize (can even use your own pictures!)
-Covers material I didn’t have an iPad app for prior
-Good use of graphics (not too much, not too little)
-Intuitive, easy to use layout

Cons:
-The stories themselves might be a little long/hard to remember for some kids. (see the example above to see typical length)
-Currently no data tracking if that matters to you!
-No visuals for the answer choices

At the time of this review (01/16/14) the app was $14.99 in the App Store! Definitely worth it! Check it out here.

Disclaimer: This app was given to me in exchange for my review. No other compensation was provided. The opinions expressed are mine.

Language Trainer App Review

As you may know from my prior app reviews, I love Smarty Ears apps – every single one of them! So when offered the opportunity to review their newest app, I was thrilled!

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Language Trainer looks very different than other Smarty Ears apps that I have. It is very simple, with little to no distractions/extra graphics. Because of this, it could easily be used with ANY age group, from pre-k to adult.

 As with all Smarty Ears apps (at least all that I own), you can upload student profiles from their free app, Therapy Report Center. Makes keeping track of student data across multiple apps/days/goals SO easy!

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After choosing the user/student, you proceed to the following page where you can choose what part of the app you want to use:

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As you can see, there are 4 sections: picture identification, picture naming, divergent naming, and sentence completion. I’ll provide an example of each section below:

PICTURE IDENTIFICATION
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In this section, the iPad tells the student which picture to touch. For example, “cherry”. In the settings, you can change the items shown on screen, ranging from 2, as shown, up to five. You can also set the iPad to automatically increase the difficulty level if the student is successful.

PICTURE NAMING
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This section is pretty straight forwards. A picture is shown and the student is asked to name it. You can mark the response as correct, incorrect or cued. You can also record the student’s response.

DIVERGENT NAMING
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This section asks the student to name things in categories, for example, “Name two languages”. Like the Picture Identification section, you can increase the number of desired responses up to five. You can see in the picture above that I marked the first answer as correct by the green box. I like this setting because it provides instant visual feedback to our students about correct or incorrect answers! It’s easier to see how they are doing in this format vs. a sound or a percentage (this app also uses both of those).

SENTENCE COMPLETION
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Last, we have sentence completion. Again, you can mark answers as correct, incorrect, or cued. You can record answers. While some, like the one shown above, have fairly limited answers, some were more open ended such as, “Joe packed his ________” or “Victor listened to the __________”.

When you’re all done, you can see the data from each section of the app in the data section as shown below:

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Overall, I think this app is fantastic! I sooo wish I would have had it back in September when I started my adult externship because then I could have used it with both adults and children. I really think it’s appropriate for both, which is rare! I like it’s simplistic layout and it’s obvious lack of graphics/distractions.

A couple weeks ago, somebody asked me on my Facebook page if I knew of an app that could be used for assessing a child’s vocabulary. I threw this one out there even though I hadn’t really checked it out, and now I think it would really be perfect for that!

If you’re interested in buying this app (you should be), check it out in the iTunes store here! And make sure to “like” Smarty Ears on Facebook. They post interesting things and often haves sales on their apps!

That’s all for now! I’ll keep you posted as I use it and how my students enjoy it! Back to snuggle with this cutie…. :)

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Disclaimer: This app was given to me in exchange for my review. No other compensation was provided. The opinions expressed are mine.

Speechy Musings Blogiversary: Gripcase iPad Case Review

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Welcome to day 8 of this exciting blogiversary celebration! Speechy Musings has been around for a whole year! If you want to see the lineup of giveaways for the blogiversary, check out the post here! Today is the last giveaway of the bunch but I’ve had so much fun!! Thanks to you all for participating!

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So this case is AWESOME. I even took off my “adult” case and took my iPad to Mexico in this case!! Check it out:

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I love, love, love the handles on this case! I didn’t realize how much of a difference simple handles would make, but it’s so much easier to stare endlessly at my iPad now ;) Below are some pictures of front and back of the case:

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Additionally, you can purchase a stand (needs to be purchased separately, not included in the giveaway) for the case! Again, LOVE this stand. Check it out below:

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I like that it can hold the iPad in multiple positions. I didn’t get a good picture of this, but there is also a nice slit in the bottom of the stand, which is genius for charging your iPad when it’s in the case!!  The area in the back would be nice for storing a stylus!

I should mention that I had this case on while I was taking pictures for another review and I just straight up dropped my iPad (first time ever!!!) and it landed screen down… nothing happened!! It didn’t even sound like a hard landing. The handles are raised a bit from the screen so I think they take a lot of the pressure on a fall like that.

One critique (and I think it’s mostly how I put the case on) is that my iPad screen protector was kind of pulled up after I kept the case on for a few weeks. I wasn’t happy about this because I had an expensive screen protector, but it wasn’t bad. I took the case off to shake the sand out (true story) and when I put the case back on I was careful to make sure the case didn’t tug funny on the screen protector. I took it off a week later and the problem seemed to go away, so I think you just need to put it on carefully!

Overall, this is my favorite iPad case, and I sadly have four. It definitely makes the iPad bulky, if you’re not into that, but I feel like it provides the iPad with security and it’s so easy to hold!! Even the patients I work with at the nursing home have no trouble holding it, and they felt uncomfortable holding the iPad before that! Success!

Gripcase is a wonderful company and has offered to give one Speechy Musings reader a Gripcase of their own! Note: This giveaway is for the case only, not the stand! Enter the giveaway below:

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