It’s the last day of Aphasia Awareness Month! It’s been a very fun month of giveaways, aphasia-related reviews, and comments from lovely readers sharing their opinions and uses of apps. Thanks for everyone who helped increase aphasia awareness this month. 🙂 I’m going to wrap it up by sharing my thoughts on an app that addresses spelling.
What It Is: A spelling test app by Funflip Studios.
Price: $.99 (There is also a free version that has most of the same functionality if you want to trial it before purchasing.)
How It Works: To make a new test the user chooses a title and enters the target words along with an audio recording. (E.g. when I typed in the word cereal I then recorded myself saying “cereal.”) The therapist could do this or could assist the client in doing it. During the test, the pre-recorded words are read and the user types in the spelling. Once the test is completed, the results are listed and include the overall score with a list of how each word was spelled next to their correct spelling.
Therapy Applications: The app is actually useable by (nearly) all ages. It could be used for early literacy skills (think: having the recordings be of certain sounds like the /b/ sound and asking the preschoolers to type in the corresponding letter). It could easily be used for any school-aged child (think: putting in their classroom spelling/vocabulary tests for some good curriculum-based therapy). And, as is the focus of this review, it could be used for adults with language difficulties (think: helping them learn functional spelling skills that have been individualized to cater to their everyday needs). This is a great app for using during therapy or for having the clients use for at-home practice.
Pros: 1. Price.
2. Settings options are particularly useful for how to organize the test (random, order entered, or alphabetically).
3. Unlimited number of words in each test and unlimited number of total tests.
4. There is immediate reinforcement of correct/incorrect answers. Immediately after entering a correct answer, the app has an encouraging statement in green. If the answer is misspelled, the app has “Oops! The correct spelling is [insert word].” in red. This is useful for any age group, but perhaps particularly so for adults who have comorbid cognitive difficulties.
5. Data is saved across sessions and previous responses can be seen in the “Past Test Scores” section. This includes what the words were and how they were spelled by the test-taker.
6. Because the therapist or client or family member is entering the words, it is totally individualized and thus more functional.
7. Ease of use. It has a simple layout that won’t confuse clients or family members (or therapists!) new to the technology.
8. Because you are typing and recording each of the words, there is no reliance on a pre-set dictionary or voice. This means that it can be used flawlessly across languages, cultures, and dialects.
9. It’s age-appropriate for almost any age.
Cons: 1. While the data is saved across sessions, there isn’t an option to input multiple users. This could be a problem if you’re using this app in groups. However, if you’re using it on an individual basis (even with different individuals), it’s fairly easy to get around. Simply entitle each list with the initials of the individual (e.g. “Grocery List–AK”) and then it will be easy to look at that individual’s progress across time.
2. This app may not offer enough support for some clients; it’s very simplistic. There are other apps out there like Writing TherAppy, which provides fill-in-the-blank, copy, spell-what-you-see, and spell-what-you-hear options with various levels of difficulty and way more settings options. This may be more effective for individuals who need more structure. (*Update: I mistakenly wrote that Writing TherAppy does not provide a way to do customized words lists. It does!)
The Take-Away: This app is the best customizable spelling test app I have found. It has some great features and allows the therapist/client to choose individually relevant words. It does not provide the prompts or structure of other apps that are specifically developed for SLPs; however, it is a cheaper option. In short, know what kind of support your clients need and use this information to decide if they would benefit from a basic app like this or if they require more.
My Questions for You: Do you target spelling in therapy? What age group would you use this app with? What are some pros/cons of using this app instead of an app developed specifically for SLPs?
Looking for expert reviews of this app? Check it out on YappGuru.com!