Pragmatics Apps

Elementary


Click an app title for more information and to learn how I use it in speech and language therapy with my students.
Scroll down for more age groups.

Between the Lines Level 1 HD


by Hamaguchi Apps

Between the Lines Level 2 HD


by Hamaguchi Apps

Between the Lines Advanced HD


by Hamaguchi Apps

How I use these apps in speech therapy:

Between the Lines Levels 1 & 2

I’ll be the first to admit that working on pragmatics in therapy is, at times, a challenge. How do we, as therapists, teach the skills of social interaction in a way that students can independently apply it to real life? How do we move toward that often elusive carryover stage? Hamaguchi Apps has developed a series of apps to help make that transition a little easier. Between the Lines 2 is an inspirational app that is a favorite of my middle school students with autism. They also offer a Level 1 for younger students and an Advanced, pre-adult version. After introducing and teaching the skill of “Tuning into others” via Flummox and Friends (reviewed on this page, above, and mock social situations, I then turned to Between the Lines 2 to expand and practice. With Between the Lines my students have been able to practice tuning into others’ facial expressions to derive meaning, listening to others’ verbal communication while watching non-verbal cues to determine emotional states and determining the meaning of figurative language or “Old people sayings” as my teenage nephew puts it. Most inspiring is my students’ level of attention while we work within this app. They are literally glued to the short video clips, listen attentively (even telling other students in the group or outside of my office to quiet down so they can hear) to the emotional statements of unseen characters for both emotional state and figurative language. During one session with three students I can work on multiple goals: expressive language, tuning into others, and figurative language.

Once again, Patti Hamaguchi has developed an app that is customizable to student needs. For example, within the settings, speech language pathologists and parents can choose from three activities, all of which are the most crucial to social competence. Between the Lines 1 and 2 include the following pragmatic situations: Who is talking? (Listening and facial expressions), What is he/she thinking (body language & perspective taking) and What does it mean (expressions, idioms and slang). You have the option of choosing to target 1 out of the three for the session, rotate all three so there is on task for each activity or random presentation. I choose the rotating option so that each student gets practice with their personal IEP goals and objectives. Additionally you can customize the number of answer choices to increase or decrease the level of difficulty. I started my students with 2 choices and they have now graduated to selecting an answer from a field of 3. I see that as progress!! You can choose to automatically show answer choices, or manually show answer choices. By selecting “manually show choices” you, as the therapist, control the pace of the session. While I’m on the topic of “therapist in control” I would like to ask, actually beg, Hamaguchi Apps to consider adding a pause button between scenarios so that we can have meaningful discussions about the social interactions they have just watched. Getting back to, settings, you can choose praise phrases after 1,3,5 or 10 correct answers, random or none. I have selected none, since my students are in middle school, but I can see where this would be valuable in lower elementary school grades.

When I asked my students what they liked best about the app, they unanimously shouted, “the dunking game”. There are three reward games to choose from: Dunking game, bulls eye and knock em down. I’m sure the app includes a sophisticated algorithm for randomness within these games, but my students are convinced that they have control over whether or not the guy gets dunked. They work together, as I facilitate appropriate social communication reminding them to tune in, to develop strategies for dunking. I never miss a therapeutic opportunity. Amazingly, I am also able to use the games (especially the dunk game) as a pragmatic teachable moment. In the game, if you miss the target and the guy remains on his seat he spouts off rude comments like, “That was lame!, tough luck, and sorry pal”. One of my students was insulted by his comments and got visibly upset. I think his comment was, “He shouldn't talk like that, that’s mean”. I however, was completely excited with the character’s rudeness because out of this experience we were able to have a discussion about what exactly upset him. A dream come true, I was then able to expand their social emotional vocabularies and keep their interest. Our discussion centered on digging deeper as to why my student felt upset (he felt stupid-his words). Instead of just stopping with “feeling stupid” we talked about new words to describe feelings such as insulted, belittled, humiliated, demeaned, embarrassed and ashamed. Now we talk about these new words every session and they have actual internal feelings to go with the words. The most amazing part of the session, which almost brought me to tears, was when the student who felt insulted by the game opened up to another student about how he makes him feel in the classroom ( I guess they have been swapping insults). He used the word embarrassed without prompting! With a list of emotional words we will now be able to have additional meaningful discussions about character feelings and classroom/school interactions. Yay!!

- Amanda Backof, M.S. CCC-SLP (1/1/13)


Conversation Builder for iPad


Mobile Education
Pre-K through Middle
How I use this app in speech therapy:
I use this app quite a bit, and my students (both autism spectrum and language learning impaired) love it. It begins with “How would you start this conversation” and then gives students three alternatives. If the student chooses the correct conversation starter they can record their voice starting the conversation. After the student records his/her voice, they hear a response from the child in the picture. You can choose the level of turn taking based on student need (1-4 exchanges or 1-8 exchanges). After all of the recordings, the student can listen to the entire conversation. You then have the option to go to the next conversation, save it or play it again. This a great app for developing the rules of conversation such as initiating conversation with a socially appropriate starter, maintaining the conversation by listening to the conversational partner’s response and then responding appropriately and ending the conversation in a socially acceptable way. The student can start the conversation by choosing the “Conversation Initiator-Student” button. To make the conversation a little easier, you can select, “Conversation Initiator-peer” or to alternate choose “Conversation Initiator-alternate”. There are 4 different levels of play. The first two allow the student to initiate and maintain a conversation with sentence prompts (choose 1 on 1 with 4 conversational turns or 1 on 1 with 8 conversational turns). The student is shown a picture and is given three sentences to choose from. After choosing the correct sentence, they record their voice in the conversation. The other two options allow for independent development of conversational starters without sentence choices. Students record their responses and then they pass the iPad to a peer to continue the conversation.

You can buy additional modules and conversations through an in app purchase. Conversations can be saved in the archive.
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The Flummox and Friends video 'is designed to support elementary school children who experience social and emotional struggles. They may be already receiving support—inclusion, speech therapy, social skills groups—or simply fit the category of “smart but quirky” without an official diagnosis.'

Watch the video here.

Background information/press release.
Imagine working in a middle school classroom for students with autism and instead of hearing dialog from Pokeman, Incredible hulk, BeyBlades or other current cartoons, you hear quotes from Flummox and Friends!!! That’s one of the reasons I’m so excited to share Flummox and Friends with my students. Let’s get students talking about social situations!! There are so many reasons to tune into Flummox and Friends that I can’t even mention them all, so you just have to trust me. It is awe inspiring!

I’ve been very excited about the release of the video since first hearing about it from Jordan Sadler, SLP, on a Facebook group posting. Based on the Tune in, Connect, Have fun! Curriculum, Flummox and Friends helps students navigate the world of social interactions by providing real world examples of social missteps, and of characters working through the process of increasing self-awareness (with a little help from peers and song) and then modifying their own behavior. This is not simply a “This is how you should behave because you are different” video…it’s a “Hey we’re just like you, our gifts are awesome, and we’ve learned how to modify our own behavior and so can you” kind of video.

I watched the pilot episode, “The Party”, and was completely blown away by the video quality (comparable to PBS or Disney) and the way in which the social lesson was taught. In this first episode, students are introduced to the main characters: Professor Flummox, Milo, Wanda, Dex Brickerson and Suzie Swizzler (the teacher figure) who all exhibit unique characteristics and personalities. The characters' subtle behaviors and dialog are expertly written and brilliantly acted, making it all the more relatable. Without giving too much of the pilot episode away (since I’m assuming you will be watching it as soon as possible) the scientists find themselves not tuning into others and unintentionally hurting a friend’s feelings. By the end of the video, students will have a deep understanding of what it means to tune in to others and the consequences of not doing so. I plan on showing this episode over and over to my students, perhaps even acting out the scenes with props (since my students have such amazing memories for dialog) and performing our own version of Flummox and Friends. Be sure to also check out the clinical guide (written by two SLPs) and parent guide in PDF form available on the website. The guides include an episode summary, character quotes, helpful hints, therapy and therapy extension ideas as well as sample goals that can be addressed via the episode. After you watch the video, fill out the survey on their website to show your support to ensure they are able to produce more episodes.

Thank you so much to all those involved in making this wonderful TV show!! I know SLPs and parents are going to be cheering and begging for more episodes (not to mention t-shirts!!).

My DPS


by The Language Express, Inc.

How I use this app in speech therapy:

A fun “Digital Problem Solver” helps students verbalize their feelings and implement a coping strategy if things do not go their way. My students love the follow the leader activities. Through beautifully animated short social situations and “Teaching Tips” for SLPs and parents, concepts that were once difficult to teach are now easy. After working on a concept, my students and I then practice learned skills in real social situations with peers and adults. Amazingly, my students remember the language from the app and use the language (hidden social key, digital problem solver, etc) to talk about their interactions with others (“Your body should face him”, “look at my face”, “what is she looking at?”).


- Amanda Backof, M.S. CCC-SLP (1/1/13)

You're the Story Teller: The Surprise


by Hamaguchi Apps



How I use this app in speech therapy:

You're the Story Teller: The Surprise by Hamaguchi Apps has allowed me to teach verbal comprehension, narration, sentence grammar and pragmatics, all within the context of one expertly developed and extremely humorous app! The app, on the market since May 2012, continues to surprise me in its versatility and ability to keep student interest across multiple sessions and months. What’s brilliant about this simple app/story is that it is wordless. Students narrate their own version of the story by recording their own voices via “Narrator’s tools” and/or type the story in the writing area. My students have enjoyed doing both.Younger students love to record their voices telling the story and older students enjoy typing. For my young students I have developed sentence starters using Symbolstix pictures (similar to Picture the Sentence app which they are used to using), providing a visual aid to support detailed grammatically correct sentences (worksheet below, left). Without the model, sentence length was reduced and grammar was horrible (don’t want to practice that!!). As they became accustomed to the story I was able to reduce visual supports.

My students love The Surprise and beg for the story to continue. I’m hoping Part 2 is in the works. The characters are adorable and likable, not “creepy with big eyes” as my niece would say. The story follows the arc of a narrative and has an unexpected resolution. To extend beyond the story, I have had students predict what will happen next and continue the story in their own words. The app allows for discussions about character motivations, decision making, non verbal language, cause and effect and being honest. I have not come across a single IEP goal that could not be worked on using this app. It’s even possible to work on articulation and fluency! (Just be sure to record the words in the writing are before the session.)

Since the story is wordless, I often develop my own narrative to work on verbal comprehension along with comprehension questions. You can add questions to the writing area and/or have your older students make up their own questions, “for the little kids you will work with later in the day”. (LOL, they are unknowingly working on questioning skills too). In addition to developing my own narrative I have created “who” question cards to extend the app with my young students who are struggling to answer basic questions (see worksheet, below left).

Patti Hamaguchi, a Speech Language Pathologist and creator of the app, has provided wonderful tips for clinicians for working on articulation, language, grammar/syntax and pragmatics, in the “info” section of the app. This is a great resource!


Tapikeo HD


by Jean-Eudes Lepelletier


Tapikeo for iPhone


by Jean-Eudes Lepelletier
Tapikeo
How I use this app in speech therapy:


I had no idea this app existed until the developer contacted me and asked if I wanted a code to try it. Never one to pass up a free app, I said of course! To be honest, I wasn’t sure how I was going to use it, but was immediately surprised and delighted when I realized how functional it can be in a therapy setting for students with Autism. Wow! I can now create app books using real pictures. Here’s an example: we use the TEACCH model in Baltimore City Schools, and each student follows an individualized schedule. Before the TEACCH model, we relied heavily on giving directions verbally to students in the classroom, now we rely on visual supports. Imagine my surprise when I realized I can now show directions via interactive “books” and use pictures of our classroom & students to explain the daily routines. We have several independent workstations where students are required to complete tasks in a left to right, top to bottom order (this sequence will prepare our students for the workplace). So, I took a sequential series of photographs of one of our students completing activities independently, uploaded them to the iPad and used Tapikeo to develop a book of what to do at the independent station (i.e., look at the color chart schedule, match the color circle to the color container, open the container, complete everything inside, close the lid, put the finished container on the finished shelf, then move onto other tasks. After completing all tasks, students check their schedules to see what comes next).

I am really looking forward to sharing this sequence book with our students who are struggling to work independently. I know having a visual reference will help them tremendously. This app is fully customizable. You can add picture sequences as I have to sequence events or develop a book. You can add photos of anything and then add sounds to the photos.

Since I own the original iPad, I had to upload my photos through iTunes and the program shut down on me once while I was working. I contacted the developer and apparently it’s an iPad 1 problem. He has had no complaints from you iPad 2 or 3 users. Guess that’s my excuse for upgrading. Woo- Hoo! (Here are the instructions for the original iPad photo transfer.
http://www.ehow.com/how_7716747_transfer-photos-ipad.html)

Every teacher and speech pathologist should own a copy of this app! I can think of a thousand ways to use it, and I'm sure you will think of more.

Model Me Going Places


Model Me Kids, LLC

How I use this app in speech therapy:


Model Me Going Places is an app based on a series of DVDs “Model Me Kids: Videos for Modeling Social Skills” developed by specialists in the fields of Applied Behavior Analysis, Speech Language Pathology and Psychology. The app presents mock situations that students with autism spectrum disorders may encounter in their daily lives. As you progress through each of the 6 situations (hairdresser, playground, mall, grocery store, doctor, and restaurant) calming music plays while the child in the still frame narrates expected behaviors. For example, the beginning of the playground scene the child narrator first explains all of the fun activities at the playground (I run, I play with friends, I swing, etc) and then progresses to the expected behaviors (I keep my hands to myself, I wait my turn) with corresponding pictures to illustrate the expected behavior. My students really enjoyed watching the story unfold. After listening to the child narrator 2 times, we turn off the volume (I really wish this was included as a feature) and narrate ourselves. It’s amazing how easily my students remember the narration. Young minds!!

In addition to teaching social etiquette I also use this wonderfully simplistic app to work on sequencing, using correct pronouns and overall expressive language. My students have practiced repeating the narration and developing their own stories using past tense verb forms. Here’s an example: I have a student who continues to have difficulty using the pronoun “he”. We watched the restaurant sequence several times and then used picture symbol prompts (for visual support) to retell the events of the story. We practiced, “He went to a restaurant, he waited for his table with his family, he sat down at the table, he looked at the menu, the waitress took his order, he ordered chicken nuggets, he waited for his food, he sat calmly (we acted out calm waiting and “loud silly waiting”), he ate his food, he said this is good, and he left the restaurant with his family”. At the end of the session we predicted where he would go next. She absolutely loved this app.

I hope Model Me Kids decides to make more of their apps into DVDs. The would be a wonderful addition to any SLPs’ iPad, especially if they are working with students with autism. If you would like to check out the DVD series, it is is available for purchase on their website www.modelmekids.com and includes DVDs about conversation cues, friendship, organization, faces and emotions and many more.


DialSafe Pro


little bit studio
How I use this app in speech therapy:
…coming soon!
How I use this app in speech therapy:
Super Duper is creating electronic versions of the card decks we have all carried around for years. While not interactive, they are definitely easier on the back!

(also available for Android)


Practicing Pragmatics Fun Deck


Super Duper
Grades preK and up


What Would You Do at School If…. Fun Deck


Super Duper
Grades K through 3


What Would You Do at Home If…. Fun Deck


Super Duper
Grades K through 3

Middle & High School




Conversation Builder for iPad


Mobile Education
Pre-K through Middle
How I use this app in speech therapy:
I use this app quite a bit, and my students (both autism spectrum and language learning impaired) love it. It begins with “How would you start this conversation” and then gives students three alternatives. If the student chooses the correct conversation starter they can record their voice starting the conversation. After the student records his/her voice, they hear a response from the child in the picture. You can choose the level of turn taking based on student need (1-4 exchanges or 1-8 exchanges). After all of the recordings, the student can listen to the entire conversation. You then have the option to go to the next conversation, save it or play it again. This a great app for developing the rules of conversation such as initiating conversation with a socially appropriate starter, maintaining the conversation by listening to the conversational partner’s response and then responding appropriately and ending the conversation in a socially acceptable way. The student can start the conversation by choosing the “Conversation Initiator-Student” button. To make the conversation a little easier, you can select, “Conversation Initiator-peer” or to alternate choose “Conversation Initiator-alternate”. There are 4 different levels of play. The first two allow the student to initiate and maintain a conversation with sentence prompts (choose 1 on 1 with 4 conversational turns or 1 on 1 with 8 conversational turns). The student is shown a picture and is given three sentences to choose from. After choosing the correct sentence, they record their voice in the conversation. The other two options allow for independent development of conversational starters without sentence choices. Students record their responses and then they pass the iPad to a peer to continue the conversation.

You can buy additional modules and conversations through an in app purchase. Conversations can be saved in the archive.


Tapikeo HD


by Jean-Eudes Lepelletier


Tapikeo for iPhone


by Jean-Eudes Lepelletier
Tapikeo
How I use this app in speech therapy:


I had no idea this app existed until the developer contacted me and asked if I wanted a code to try it. Never one to pass up a free app, I said of course! To be honest, I wasn’t sure how I was going to use it, but was immediately surprised and delighted when I realized how functional it can be in a therapy setting for students with Autism. Wow! I can now create app books using real pictures. Here’s an example: we use the TEACCH model in Baltimore City Schools, and each student follows an individualized schedule. Before the TEACCH model, we relied heavily on giving directions verbally to students in the classroom, now we rely on visual supports. Imagine my surprise when I realized I can now show directions via interactive “books” and use pictures of our classroom & students to explain the daily routines. We have several independent workstations where students are required to complete tasks in a left to right, top to bottom order (this sequence will prepare our students for the workplace). So, I took a sequential series of photographs of one of our students completing activities independently, uploaded them to the iPad and used Tapikeo to develop a book of what to do at the independent station (i.e., look at the color chart schedule, match the color circle to the color container, open the container, complete everything inside, close the lid, put the finished container on the finished shelf, then move onto other tasks. After completing all tasks, students check their schedules to see what comes next).

I am really looking forward to sharing this sequence book with our students who are struggling to work independently. I know having a visual reference will help them tremendously. This app is fully customizable. You can add picture sequences as I have to sequence events or develop a book. You can add photos of anything and then add sounds to the photos.

Since I own the original iPad, I had to upload my photos through iTunes and the program shut down on me once while I was working. I contacted the developer and apparently it’s an iPad 1 problem. He has had no complaints from you iPad 2 or 3 users. Guess that’s my excuse for upgrading. Woo- Hoo! (Here are the instructions for the original iPad photo transfer.
http://www.ehow.com/how_7716747_transfer-photos-ipad.html)

Every teacher and speech pathologist should own a copy of this app! I can think of a thousand ways to use it, and I'm sure you will think of more.

Model Me Going Places 2 for iPad


Model Me Kids, LLC

How I use this app in speech therapy:


Model Me Going Places is an app based on a series of DVDs “Model Me Kids: Videos for Modeling Social Skills” developed by specialists in the fields of Applied Behavior Analysis, Speech Language Pathology and Psychology. The app presents mock situations that students with autism spectrum disorders may encounter in their daily lives. As you progress through each of the 6 situations (hairdresser, playground, mall, grocery store, doctor, and restaurant) calming music plays while the child in the still frame narrates expected behaviors. For example, the beginning of the playground scene the child narrator first explains all of the fun activities at the playground (I run, I play with friends, I swing, etc) and then progresses to the expected behaviors (I keep my hands to myself, I wait my turn) with corresponding pictures to illustrate the expected behavior. My students really enjoyed watching the story unfold. After listening to the child narrator 2 times, we turn off the volume (I really wish this was included as a feature) and narrate ourselves. It’s amazing how easily my students remember the narration. Young minds!!

In addition to teaching social etiquette I also use this wonderfully simplistic app to work on sequencing, using correct pronouns and overall expressive language. My students have practiced repeating the narration and developing their own stories using past tense verb forms. Here’s an example: I have a student who continues to have difficulty using the pronoun “he”. We watched the restaurant sequence several times and then used picture symbol prompts (for visual support) to retell the events of the story. We practiced, “He went to a restaurant, he waited for his table with his family, he sat down at the table, he looked at the menu, the waitress took his order, he ordered chicken nuggets, he waited for his food, he sat calmly (we acted out calm waiting and “loud silly waiting”), he ate his food, he said this is good, and he left the restaurant with his family”. At the end of the session we predicted where he would go next. She absolutely loved this app.

I hope Model Me Kids decides to make more of their apps into DVDs. The would be a wonderful addition to any SLPs’ iPad, especially if they are working with students with autism. If you would like to check out the DVD series, it is is available for purchase on their website www.modelmekids.com and includes DVDs about conversation cues, friendship, organization, faces and emotions and many more.

Between the Lines Level 1 HD


by Hamaguchi Apps

Between the Lines Level 2 HD


by Hamaguchi Apps

Between the Lines Advanced HD


by Hamaguchi Apps

How I use these apps in speech therapy:

Between the Lines Levels 1 & 2

I’ll be the first to admit that working on pragmatics in therapy is, at times, a challenge. How do we, as therapists, teach the skills of social interaction in a way that students can independently apply it to real life? How do we move toward that often elusive carryover stage? Hamaguchi Apps has developed a series of apps to help make that transition a little easier. Between the Lines 2 is an inspirational app that is a favorite of my middle school students with autism. They also offer a Level 1 for younger students and an Advanced, pre-adult version. After introducing and teaching the skill of “Tuning into others” via Flummox and Friends (reviewed on this page, above, and mock social situations, I then turned to Between the Lines 2 to expand and practice. With Between the Lines my students have been able to practice tuning into others’ facial expressions to derive meaning, listening to others’ verbal communication while watching non-verbal cues to determine emotional states and determining the meaning of figurative language or “Old people sayings” as my teenage nephew puts it. Most inspiring is my students’ level of attention while we work within this app. They are literally glued to the short video clips, listen attentively (even telling other students in the group or outside of my office to quiet down so they can hear) to the emotional statements of unseen characters for both emotional state and figurative language. During one session with three students I can work on multiple goals: expressive language, tuning into others, and figurative language.

Once again, Patti Hamaguchi has developed an app that is customizable to student needs. For example, within the settings, speech language pathologists and parents can choose from three activities, all of which are the most crucial to social competence. Between the Lines 1 and 2 include the following pragmatic situations: Who is talking? (Listening and facial expressions), What is he/she thinking (body language & perspective taking) and What does it mean (expressions, idioms and slang). You have the option of choosing to target 1 out of the three for the session, rotate all three so there is on task for each activity or random presentation. I choose the rotating option so that each student gets practice with their personal IEP goals and objectives. Additionally you can customize the number of answer choices to increase or decrease the level of difficulty. I started my students with 2 choices and they have now graduated to selecting an answer from a field of 3. I see that as progress!! You can choose to automatically show answer choices, or manually show answer choices. By selecting “manually show choices” you, as the therapist, control the pace of the session. While I’m on the topic of “therapist in control” I would like to ask, actually beg, Hamaguchi Apps to consider adding a pause button between scenarios so that we can have meaningful discussions about the social interactions they have just watched. Getting back to, settings, you can choose praise phrases after 1,3,5 or 10 correct answers, random or none. I have selected none, since my students are in middle school, but I can see where this would be valuable in lower elementary school grades.

When I asked my students what they liked best about the app, they unanimously shouted, “the dunking game”. There are three reward games to choose from: Dunking game, bulls eye and knock em down. I’m sure the app includes a sophisticated algorithm for randomness within these games, but my students are convinced that they have control over whether or not the guy gets dunked. They work together, as I facilitate appropriate social communication reminding them to tune in, to develop strategies for dunking. I never miss a therapeutic opportunity. Amazingly, I am also able to use the games (especially the dunk game) as a pragmatic teachable moment. In the game, if you miss the target and the guy remains on his seat he spouts off rude comments like, “That was lame!, tough luck, and sorry pal”. One of my students was insulted by his comments and got visibly upset. I think his comment was, “He shouldn't talk like that, that’s mean”. I however, was completely excited with the character’s rudeness because out of this experience we were able to have a discussion about what exactly upset him. A dream come true, I was then able to expand their social emotional vocabularies and keep their interest. Our discussion centered on digging deeper as to why my student felt upset (he felt stupid-his words). Instead of just stopping with “feeling stupid” we talked about new words to describe feelings such as insulted, belittled, humiliated, demeaned, embarrassed and ashamed. Now we talk about these new words every session and they have actual internal feelings to go with the words. The most amazing part of the session, which almost brought me to tears, was when the student who felt insulted by the game opened up to another student about how he makes him feel in the classroom (I guess they have been swapping insults). He used the word embarrassed without prompting! With a list of emotional words we will now be able to have additional meaningful discussions about character feelings and classroom/school interactions. Yay!!

- Amanda Backof, M.S. CCC-SLP (1/1/13)