Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Starting Point Apps in Language Therapy

I downloaded nine sing-a-long apps because I liked their graphics and cheerful animation. I thought that they might have a use for therapy so I hung onto them.  I went back to look at them again for this post and saw that each has a different theme. It occurred to me that each app offers a starting point for us to use in therapy targeting grammatical structures. Also, each is rich in vocabulary. These fun apps are called Kids Jukebox. Below, I review each app and how I would use it in therapy.
Ages: 2-5
Ratings: +++
Developer: Kidskids
Cost: Free for two songs in each app; $3.99 for each apps complete set of songs and a game

Kids Jukebox-Dream: The two free songs are Can You Sing and When I Grow Up. I would use the Can You Sing song as a starting point for targeting "can" questions and the response to a "can" question. When I Grow Up can be used when the grammatical target is "when." The full set includes the following additional songs: Fairy Tale, Have You Ever Seen a Dragon, Magic Show, Welcome to My Bedroom, Bad Dreams and A Dance Festival.

Kids Jukebox-Art: Listen to Me Play and I Play the Piano are the two free songs in this app. I would use them to target the simple I+verb+object structure. The child can select an instrument to make-believe play and then state the I play _________ sentence. One can expand to other items the child plays or plays with. The complete set includes the following songs: What Do You Want to Be?, I Want to Be an Artist, What Do You Need?, Draw a Picture, Hurry Up! and Make a Card.

Kids Jukebox-Daily Life: Yummy Yum Yum and Mealtimes are offered free of charge. Like the Art app, above, I would use them to target the simple I+verb+object structure.The child can talk about what food he/she likes and then expand to other things the child likes. Mealtimes can be used when targeting the time of specific events. Concepts targeted in the app are morning, noon, between meals, and evening. These time concepts can be expanded to include other activities the child does at those times of the day. The complete set includes: Have a Bath, In the Bathroom, When I Have a Cold, That's Too Bad, For You and for Me and Let's Make a Swing

Kids Jukebox-Sports: Look at Me, Follow Me and Warm Up are free. They can be a starting point for experiencing verbs such as follow, bend, stretch, raise, relax, sweat, and touch. Other apps in the series are: Let's Go Out and Play, Oh, What Fun!, That Sounds Greats! Let's Play Together!, What Are You Playing With and At the Beach.

Kids Jukebox-Picnic: Look at the Flower and Where Is the Spider are free. I would use these apps primarily to elicit language. The complete set includes Do You Like Sandwiches?, Let's Set the Table!, We Like to Sing, There Is a Monkey, Water, Please and My Yummy Sandwich.

Kids Jukebox-My Town: Welcome to My Town and I Am Going to the Supermarket are free. Their focus is on places such as bank, hospital, bakery, bookstore, dress shop, beauty salon, supermarket and park. One can use this app as a starting point for talking about what one associates with those locations. The other apps in this series are In Your Bag, Point to the Desk, Let's Go by Bike, Traffic Lights, How Much Is This Skirt? and How Do I Look?

Kids Jukebox-Weather: It's Warm and How's the Weather focus on seasons and the weather one associates with those seasons. The other apps in this series are Go Outside, Sunny Day Play, How Do I Look, You Look Good!, Put On, Take Off, and Gout, Go In.

Kids Jukebox-Favorite Things: The app consists of the free songs What Color Is It? and What Is Your Favorite Number? The targets are what the names state. Other apps in the series are I Like Apples, It's Fun!, What's Red and Blue?, I Like to Draw, Cucumbers Are Good for Me and How Much Is That?

Kids Jukebox-Me, Myself: Where Is Mommy can be used to target the concept "where." The second free song, My Face, focuses on parts of the face. The rest of the series consists of What Is This?, Where Are You?, What Am I Doing, I Am Happy, I Love My Dog and Jump, Jump! Say Hello.

Friday, March 9, 2012

App Development Update

I met with the management team last week. I called the meeting because I was becoming increasingly frustrated with the pace of the project. To me, this project seemed to be moving at a snail's pace. In the past five months, the project had advanced to the drawing of only four characters and the team was now working on the backgrounds. Was I correct about the pace of the project? Yes and no.

Based on the information I had, I was correct. However, at the meeting I learned that these characters had actually moved along in the process towards animation. So the project was not stuck as it had seemed.

The result of the meeting was that the project manager would keep me better informed. She promised to  send me a flowchart of the process. Every couple of weeks the project manager will send me an email indicating where on the flowchart the project is at that time.

For me, this experience highlights the importance of communication between the consumer and the expert. The app development team knows where they are in the process, how far they have come, and what is up head in the short term. I only know what I am told. This sparsity of knowledge and information led me to incorrect conclusions.

This not-quite-so-meeting-of-the-minds got me to thinking about our profession and how well we convey the process of therapy to parents (and children who are old enough to understand) and if we do our part in keeping our clients informed. Have my clients made assumptions on therapy based on what I do not tell them? Have I taken it for granted that my expertise and time-lines are known to the layperson? These are some questions I'll keep in mind in my client-professional relationship.