Kid-Eze Therapy Services

TECHNOLOGY UPDATE

11 September 2012 by Christine Siddle - 531 comments

SPECTRONICS TECHNOLOGY CONFERENCE
Christine Siddle attended this 3 day conference on the Gold Coast earlier this year in order to keep abreast of the ever changing technologies. This is just a little of what she learnt:

iPad: We use this innovative tool to help improve organisational skills, reading, maths, spelling and writing skills (to name a few). There are so many apps out there and we are constantly updating our knowledge about the appropriate apps that can be used with our clients to help complement our therapy approaches.

Word Prediction Software Programs: Christine attended a number of ‘hands on’ labs and lectures to gain a better understanding about the various word prediction software programs that are available. As a result, we have purchased WordQ. This is a simple but brilliant writing solution that improves with you, regardless of your age or writing ability. It makes smart word suggestions with every letter you type, and you can also use different vocabularies to match varying student’s needs. You can see and hear examples for similar sounding words or select from words with the same meaning. A high quality voice speaks everything you type so you can hear any spelling or grammar issues that you may not see, and listen to proofread your work. As well as predicting words, it also reads the information to you. In addition, wherever you can highlight text, WordQ will read it back to you. It’s also very simple to use, and you can add words to the prediction vocabulary as well. This program is ideally suited for students in primary and secondary school, and we would be more than happy to trial it with your student to assess suitability. Just ask us!

Digital Talking Books: There are a number of apps on the Apple store that enables students to create digital talking books on the iPad. You can then send them to iBooks, send them to your friends, or submit them to the iBookstore. Book Creator App is ideal for children’s picture books, photo books, art books, cook books, social stories, and the list goes on. Creative Book Builder enables everyone to create, edit and publish ebooks in a few minutes on the go as well. All published ebooks can be read by any ePub reader including iBooks. This is more ideal for textbooks or for large volume writing where you can create an unlimited number of chapters. Christine also gained a better understanding of the features of iBooks to assist struggling readers.

Proloquo2Go Version 2.0! Our therapists currently use this communication app for many different students, in various ways. But we love the updated version, because it introduces two new, research-based vocabularies: Basic Communication and Core Words. According to the designers, an analysis of commonly used sentences has shown that the Core Words vocabulary reduces the number of steps to build a sentence by more than 30%, when compared to previous versions of Proloquo2Go. It also offers lots of other new features including the ability to change the appearance of individual page or button; you can hide and dim buttons that you aren’t currently using; you can create different pages with different grids; you can add paging buttons for those who cannot swipe; and it also offers multiuser support, making it significantly easier for therapists and teachers to support multiple users on the one device. There are also new voices that can be downloaded, including an Australian male voice. We have been using this with many of our clients with great success!

Digital Pens: The Livescribe Pulse Digital Smartpen records your notes in two ways: it creates digital copies of everything you write by hand while recording audio at the same time. It also goes one step further and links the two together, so you can quickly access audio by tapping parts of your notes. All of this is uploaded to your computer where the Livescribe software archives and makes your notes fully searchable. In addition, it offers features like a calculator, translator, and a paper piano that plays a mini piano you draw on paper. We have purchased one of these for our clinic and will be looking at innovative ways to incorporate into our therapy sessions.

Wii Games: Although not mentioned at the technology conference, we have begun using this to help improve student’s gross motor skills in a novel and exciting way.  Learning while having fun is an integral approach of our therapy sessions.


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