Monday, September 10, 2012

VAST- Autism Core 1 (Spanish) Review - SpeakInMotion

We are very pleased to introduce Amy Taylor as our guest reviewer.  Amy is a SLPA from the US.

($7.99 at time of review for iPad/iPhone/iPod touch version)
FYI: According to the app description, this is completely in Spanish ONLY- The screen shots in the App Store confirm this. However, the version I have has a splash screen in English, and a User Guide and Information button in English as well. Only the app content itself is in Spanish.

VAST Autism 1 - Core (Spanish), by SpeakInMotion, is a speech and language therapy app with content in Spanish to teach functional vocabulary through video. It is one of a handful of speech and language therapy apps offered by SpeakInMotion. ( VAST Autism 1- Core,VAST Songs 1- IntroVASTtx - Key Words and VASTtx - Therapy Samples). VAST Autism 1 - Core (Spanish) was created with autistic users in mind, but I believe it is also useful for Spanish-speaking speech and language therapy students with a severe phonological disorder or apraxia. VAST Autism 1 - Core (Spanish) is set up in an identical format to VAST Autism 1 - Core, although the actual content differs. The splash screen displays the main choices to choose from in the middle of the screen and includes buttons for the following features: Full-Length VideosSeparated PlaylistsMirrorMore Tools, and User Guide (in the top upper right hand corner). If you click on the Information icon in the lower right corner, you can learn more about VAST as well.

Using VAST Autism 1 - Core (Spanish)

Full-Length Videos

Separated Playlists
The content of the playlists in this spanish version differ from the English version. For those familiar with the English version, there is no Multi-Syllabic Words list. Included Playlists are: Lista de Silabas, Lista de Sustantivos, Lista de Arti'culos, Lista de Verbos, Lista de Frases, Lista de Oraciones. A feature I appreciate is the included information for each playlist. If you tap on the information icon to the right of each playlist, there is a description of why the playlist was created (en español)- for example, the syllables list contains sounds that were selected based on developmental norms; the nouns list was created with the intention of building a functional vocabulary for the user, and so on. The syllables list is a favorite of mine : ma, me, mi, mo, mu, ba, be, bi, bo, bu, ta, te, ti, to, tu, la, le, li, lo, lu, ga, ge, gi, go, gu. If you have made any customized playlists, they will show up among these lists. I created a bilabials playlist containing words, phrases and sentences with m, p, and b sounds. Just like with VAST Autism Core 1 and VASTtx- Key Words, I love the inclusion of functional words, phrases and sentences, for example: mas jugo, el papa', no mama', tengo mucha hambre, quiero usar el ban~o, Papa' dame un beso.

I can easily add a playlist for each student that I work with as well, through the Customize Playlists option under More Tools. (See More Toolsfor more information.)

The mirror can be accessed through the main screen, but in both this Spanish version and the English version, the mirror is also accessible upon opening a playlist as well- an icon is displayed in the bottom left hand corner- tap on the icon to begin the mirror feature. The mirror feature of course excels on devices with cameras, although shades of black, grey, and white are used to mimic a mirror on an iPad 1 or an earlier version of iPod touch such as the 3g.) This feature is especially important, as some of my students seem to have no idea what their mouth is doing, where their tongue is placed etc. The mirror is effective in showing the child what she/he is doing to make specific sounds.

More Tools
Under the More Tools button is a Customize Playlists button and a Custom Recording Service button. The Customize Playlists button allows you to take elements from any playlist to create a new customized list of videos- you can even drag and drop the videos to put them in a specific order, or turn on the Random Order button for the opposite effect. The Custom Recording Service takes any words, sounds or phrases you want, and turns them into video segments for you to view in the app! (This button is entirely in English) The Custom Recording Service is fairly new and is currently offering promotional pricing. See here for more pricing details- hopefully the pricing won't stray drastically from what is posted now, as it is currently fairly affordable to send in your own words; standard pricing will be $4.99 for a base fee of the first 10 words, plus $1.99 for each additional 10 words.

Therapy Ideas for VAST Autism 1 Core (Spanish)
(It should be noted that with the VAST Autism 1 -Core app I made printouts for my children with coordinating images for the words, using familiar SymbolStix icons (in this case I made boards with an app called iCommunicate but certainly there are a variety of picture symbol programs you could use to create similar visual supports; I will at least be creating a similar visual for this set of words as well. Of course you could choose to use real pictures instead- it really depends on the user- for a student using a communication device with a particular symbol set, I would try to use what the child is comfortable with already.)

Using a picture symbol app as mentioned previously, create custom "Bingo" boards using each child's unique playlist, or print out a grid with coordinating words/ phrases in each box. I generally don't follow the typical Bingo rules. I would play a video from the child's playlist, ask the child to identify the matching icon/syllable sound or word(s) on his "Bingo" board, and then have him/her practice it before placing a token. You can choose three in a row, or blackout to "win", depending on the child's attention span.

Penny Toss
Again, create a word or icon board from a child's playlist, then have the child toss a penny into the square they want to practice. I just saw another great variation of this idea using a wind-up toy!

Home Practice
Send a word/picture board home for any of the above, as well as a set of flashcards for home practice, too.

Wish List

More words! I would especially love to see a separate playlist of multi-syllabic words. There are many multi-syllabic words that have come up in sessions with my students that could be included, such as mariposa, bicicleta, biblioteca, hamburgesa and so on, and I am disappointed my favorite feature in the English version is not included in the Spanish version. I realize my examples may not all be "functional" vocabulary, but perhaps a list of functional vocabulary that contains multi-syllabics could be put together. I know a customer can order them through the Custom Recording Service, but given that the Spanish version of Autism Core is priced higher than the English version, I would like to see this included, along with more explanations in Spanish or Spanish/English (instead of currently English only) for those who are not native speakers of English.

Price & Availability:
VAST- Autism Core 1 (Spanish) is available at the iTunes Store for iPhone , iPod Touch and iPad for $7.99


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