{App Review} Reading Train series of apps – great for early literacy and targeting core vocabulary for AAC

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Looking for high quality apps specifically designed for early readers? To go with classroom themes? Or to target core vocabulary for kids using AAC? Then check out the well designed series of apps by Libby Curran, an award winning teacher, at The Reading Train. Of course these apps will need to be on a separate device than the one being used for AAC.

Reading Train Full STEAM Ahead Books, Songs, Games by The Learning Station, LLC
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/reading-train-full-steam-ahead-books-songs-games/id962171685?mt=8, $19.99

• over 200 books organized into 10 categories (story park, colors, shapes, numbers, animals, animal groups, creature features (body parts), life science, physical science & earth and space). The inclusion of science STEAM topics in early readers will be particularly helpful for those of us looking for age respectful resources to use with older patients/students who are still at an early reader level.
• Levels A, B & C. It’s great to have these levels within early readers so you can start off very easy and work up in small steps.
• listen, read and record modes
• tap and hold to have a word highlighted and read to you
• built in picture word dictionary with over 450 words. This area can be sorted alphabetically or by categories/subcategories. I’ve used this dictionary area to help teach kids vocabulary and simple definitions.
• 20 songs
• set up unlimited number of users
• fun train game at the end of each book
• high quality voiceovers and music
• nice graphics and large font against a plain white background
• can easily toggle off the intro song on the home screen
• intuitive app interface
• secured parent/teacher area

Just a few examples of Core Vocabulary in these books:

* Here & come: Level A – Colors – The Gray Book, Blue Vehicle Book

* Is: Level A – Colors – The White Book, The Red Book

* See: Level A – Colors – The Green Book, The Yellow Book

* Look: Level A – Colors – The Black Book, The Orange Animal Book

* Like: Level A – Colors – The Pink Book, The Purple Book

* Am: Level A – Colors – The Brown Book

(Free lite version to try before you buy: Reading Train Starter Books, Songs & Quizzes by The Learning Station, LLC, https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/reading-train-starter-books-songs-quizzes/id702227884?mt=8)

They also offer an app specifically geared towards the earliest readers: Reading Train – My First Books, Songs & Games by The Learning Station, LLC, https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/reading-train-my-first-books-songs-games/id1201673979?mt=8, $19.99

It is similar to their first app but has over 140 books. Most are also found in the first app but there are 4 categories unique to this app: ABC, animal homes, story town & story land.

Their third app has 72 books with a sole focus on the alphabet themed books. Alphabet Park is the same as the ABC section in the Reading Train – My First Books app. But this app also offers level 2 (Alphabet Town) and level 3 (Alphabet Land) sections that are unique to this app. It also contains a picture word dictionary and the section of 20 songs. Reading Train: Alphabet Books, Songs & Games by The Learning Station, LLC, https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/reading-train-alphabet-books-songs-games/id903741015?mt=8, $3.99

(Free lite version to try before you buy: Reading Train Free Alphabet Books, Songs & Games by The Learning Station, LLC, https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/reading-train-free-alphabet-books-songs-games/id957316999?mt=8)

They also offer a Christmas themed app: Reading Train Christmas Books, Songs & Games by The Learning Station, LLC, https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/reading-train-christmas-books-songs-games/id1056021768?mt=8, $1.99

See the app developer’s website for more info about the apps and how to use them: http://www.readingtrain.org

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Wishes for future updates for all of the apps in this series:
• add the ability to adjust the length of time a user has to tap and hold to have a word highlighted and read aloud.
• add the option for auto page turning when a book is in “listen” mode

The FAQ section on their website indicates that they have plans for this. These features would make the app more special needs friendly.

It would also be nice to have a couple of songs added that would be more interesting to older users who are still functioning at an early reader level.
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Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/readingbuds
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Note: Prices are from the USA App Store at the time this review was posted. App prices can vary greatly over time. You can search for the pricing history on any app on the AppShopper website. Prices will vary outside of the USA based on the exchange rate. This post does not contain affiliate links and I do not get paid to post reviews about apps.
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Angela Moorad, MS, CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist
Founder of OMazing Kids, LLC – inclusive wellness & educational activities for kids of all abilities
Facebook Messaging for OMazing Kids: https://www.facebook.com/messages/174264525957894
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/OMazingKidsYoga
AppPeeps Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/OMazingKidsAppPeeps/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/amoorad
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/omazingkids
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/amoorad1
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/OMazingKids/
YappGuru: http://yappguru.com/user/omazing-kids/
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/110305433538768736741
Boardmaker Share: http://www.boardmakershare.com/Community/FriendsProfile/10916/Angela-Moorad
Blog: http://omazingkidsllc.com
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Angela Moorad is the founder of OMazing Kids, LLC and is an ASHA certified & licensed pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist and Kids Yoga Teacher with over 27 years experience working in a variety of settings (early intervention, schools, teletherapy & a nonprofit pediatric rehab hospital for children with developmental disabilities). She is an app beta tester for educational & therapeutic app developers and loves sharing info about great apps, products, books & toys to use with kids of all abilities.

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10 Autism Faves: nine toys & a “must have” book

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{10 Autism Faves} Here are ten items that have been consistent faves with my patients with Autism:

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Oh and of course you have to have bubbles! See this post for my favorite bubble wands & symbols for them: https://omazingkidsllc.com/2017/07/05/free-printable-free-printable-symbols-for-colored-bubble-wands-great-deal-on-bubble-wands-on-clearance-1-00-per-pack-of-6/

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Angela Moorad, MS, CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist
Founder of OMazing Kids, LLC – inclusive wellness & educational activities for kids of all abilities
Facebook Messaging for OMazing Kids: https://www.facebook.com/messages/174264525957894
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/OMazingKidsYoga
AppPeeps Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/OMazingKidsAppPeeps/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/amoorad
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/omazingkids
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/amoorad1
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/OMazingKids/
YappGuru: http://yappguru.com/user/omazing-kids/
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/110305433538768736741
Boardmaker Share: http://www.boardmakershare.com/Community/FriendsProfile/10916/Angela-Moorad
Blog: http://omazingkidsllc.com
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Angela Moorad is the founder of OMazing Kids, LLC and is an ASHA certified & licensed pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist and Kids Yoga Teacher with over 27 years experience working in a variety of settings (early intervention, schools, teletherapy & a nonprofit pediatric rehab hospital for children with developmental disabilities). She is an app beta tester for educational & therapeutic app developers and loves sharing info about great apps, products, books & toys to use with kids of all abilities.

 

{SLP Hack} Use spiral bands instead of book rings

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Looking for an easy and inexpensive way to assemble interactive books and other materials? I like to use spiral bands instead of book rings. They are flexible, easy to thread through and spring back into place (unlike metal spiral rings). Plus they don’t come unsnapped like book rings do. These also come in handy when needing to attach carrying straps to items. Here is what I recently ordered. They are 1″ in diameter. Several smaller sizes are available.

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Spiral Bands – size 16: https://www.strombergschickens.com/product/Spiral-Bands-Size-16/spiral-bands

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Angela Moorad, MS, CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist
Founder of OMazing Kids, LLC – inclusive wellness & educational activities for kids of all abilities
Facebook Messaging for OMazing Kids: https://www.facebook.com/messages/174264525957894
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/OMazingKidsYoga
AppPeeps Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/OMazingKidsAppPeeps/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/amoorad
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/omazingkids
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/amoorad1
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/OMazingKids/
YappGuru: http://yappguru.com/user/omazing-kids/
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/110305433538768736741
Boardmaker Share: http://www.boardmakershare.com/Community/FriendsProfile/10916/Angela-Moorad
Blog: http://omazingkidsllc.com
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Angela Moorad is the founder of OMazing Kids, LLC and is an ASHA certified & licensed pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist and Kids Yoga Teacher with over 27 years experience working in a variety of settings (early intervention, schools, teletherapy & a nonprofit pediatric rehab hospital for children with developmental disabilities). She is an app beta tester for educational & therapeutic app developers and loves sharing info about great apps, products, books & toys to use with kids of all abilities.

{App Review} Big Break: The Acting Game by Emote Play Apps Inc.

 

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{App Review} Big Break: The Acting Game by Emote Play Apps Inc.

This app is a fun twist on video modeling for learning and practicing expression of emotions. There are 14 movies to choose from. They are color coded into 4 levels (easy, medium, hard & hardest). The themes currently included are primarily geared towards older kids & teens (Broadway, Sci-Fi, Rock Opera, Comedy, Bollywood, Superhero, Fantasy-Comedy, 50’s Musical, Time Travel, Western Musical, Shakespeare, Fosse Musical, Punk Show & Circus). The app uses the iPad forward facing camera to show the user alongside the video model.

About the app: Big Break Bobby needs actors for his movie production studios. That’s where you come in. Act out lines along with game characters, guess emotions of the characters, and even see yourself in a movie. Earn points based on your acting and observation skills. This game provides a fun way for kids to practice their social communication skills through modules that require listening, watching, acting, and singing.

App video: 

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Wishes for a future app update:

* For the app to rotate when you flip the iPad. I always use my iPad in landscape orientation with the home button to the right. This app is currently upside down if I have my iPad in that orientation.

* Add some even easier movie options with themes suited for younger kids.

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App Store: https://appsto.re/us/cre26.i, iPad only, $5.99

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Website: http://bigbreakgame.com
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Angela Moorad, MS, CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist
Founder of OMazing Kids, LLC – inclusive wellness & educational activities for kids of all abilities
Facebook Messaging for OMazing Kids: https://www.facebook.com/messages/174264525957894
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/OMazingKidsYoga
AppPeeps Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/OMazingKidsAppPeeps/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/amoorad
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/omazingkids
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/amoorad1
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/OMazingKids/
YappGuru: http://yappguru.com/user/omazing-kids/
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/110305433538768736741
Boardmaker Share: http://www.boardmakershare.com/Community/FriendsProfile/10916/Angela-Moorad
Blog: http://omazingkidsllc.com
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Angela Moorad is the founder of OMazing Kids, LLC and is an ASHA certified & licensed pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist and Kids Yoga Teacher with over 27 years experience working in a variety of settings (early intervention, schools, teletherapy & a nonprofit pediatric rehab hospital for children with developmental disabilities). She is an app beta tester for educational & therapeutic app developers and loves sharing info about great apps, products, books & toys to use with kids of all abilities.

{Book Review} “The Day I Ran Away” by Holly Niner

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{Book Review} “The Day I Ran Away” by Holly Niner

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I love using great picture books in OMazing Kids speech therapy and kids yoga! Guess what this book is fun for both. I love the colorful illustrations, facial expressions of the characters, how the color of the text changes to help depict which character is talking, logical consequences for behaviors, offering options, the subtle use of kids yoga for calming and a happy ending.
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More about the book: While Dad tucks her in, a little girl named Grace calmly recounts her day—which was anything but calm. She had a tantrum (because of some injustices involving a purple shirt and breakfast cereal) and was banished to her bedroom before deciding to run away. Understanding that kids have ups and downs, Grace’s mom wisely gave her daughter the space and time she needed to reach her own decision to return home—to open arms. The Day I Ran Away amusingly captures Grace’s mutable moods and childlike logic. Warm, humorous digital paintings offer fun details to keep little listeners busy. Kids can compare the bedtime and daytime scenes and try to figure out how Grace got that purple paw-print on her cheek—and when it got washed away. They can mimic Grace’s facial expressions or copy her poses for some soothing bedtime yoga. And of course, they can create a safe place to run away to when the injustices of Pre-K existence become too much to bear. A pop-up tent in the yard and the haven beneath the dining room table are excellent run-away destinations, as long as you come home for dinner.
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Age Range: 5 – 7 years
Grade Level: Kindergarten – 2
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Flashlight Press (April 1, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1936261898
ISBN-13: 978-1936261895
Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 0.4 x 10.2 inches
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This publisher always has great printables to go with their books: http://flashlightpress.com/the-day-i-ran-away/ (tap on “Activity Guides”). I especially like “The Day I Ran Away Yoga” and “What Would You Pack?”


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Available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Day-I-Ran-Away/dp/1936261898

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The author reading the book:

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Angela Moorad, MS, CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist
Founder of OMazing Kids, LLC – inclusive wellness & educational activities for kids of all abilities
Facebook Messaging for OMazing Kids: https://www.facebook.com/messages/174264525957894
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/OMazingKidsYoga
AppPeeps Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/OMazingKidsAppPeeps/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/amoorad
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/omazingkids
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/amoorad1
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/OMazingKids/
YappGuru: http://yappguru.com/user/omazing-kids/
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/110305433538768736741
Boardmaker Share: http://www.boardmakershare.com/Community/FriendsProfile/10916/Angela-Moorad
Blog: http://omazingkidsllc.com
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Angela Moorad is the founder of OMazing Kids, LLC and is an ASHA certified & licensed pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist and Kids Yoga Teacher with over 27 years experience working in a variety of settings (early intervention, schools, teletherapy & a nonprofit pediatric rehab hospital for children with developmental disabilities). She is an app beta tester for educational & therapeutic app developers and loves sharing info about great apps, products, books & toys to use with kids of all abilities.

Social Story for Learning Appropriate Use of Video Games: Minecraft

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Over my 27+ career as a SLP I’ve worked with several kids & teens with Autism, ADHD and other special needs who became obsessed with a particular video game. The typical culprits are Pokemon, Mario, Angry Birds & Minecraft. When played in moderation video games can provide a stress relief outlet for kids with special needs. But for some kids it can become an obsession or even an addiction. When a kid or teen only wants to play, think about or talk about a particular game, then you know you have a problem. Well Minecraft Steve and his pals have attempted to take over another one of my patients. Minecraft has messed with the wrong speechie. This particular child and his family hold a very special place in my heart so I was determined to help.  Since this is a fairly common issue, I was shocked that I could not find any social stories online regarding appropriate use of video games. So I wrote one today using the Social Stories Creator for Educators app by Touch Autism. This particular child has an amazing knowledge of anatomy and chemistry well beyond what would be typically expected for his age so I used a few anatomy and brain chemistry terms to tie into that high interest area and help him see for himself why unlimited game play would not be a healthy choice for his brain. I even recorded voice overs for each page. I then sent it to myself in an e-mail both as a printable PDF and as a story that can be used within the app. Super excited that the voice overs were included when I imported the story onto my other iPad and that they could be edited on that second device (so anyone importing the story that I created will be able to edit the pictures, text and voice overs to fit that child’s unique needs).

Download the free printable 10-page PDF at: Social Story – Learning Appropriate Use of Video Games – Minecraft

Follow these steps to access the story and view it within the Social Story Creator app:

  1. If you don’t already have the full paid version of this app, then download the free version of the app on your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch: https://itunes.apple.com/app/id588180598
  2. While on that iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch, tap on this link: http://socialstorylibrary.touchautism.com/ldSMxeibzF1501014346344

To download this story you must have the Social Story Creator app installed and then you must click on the link from your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch.

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This social story app is very easy/intuitive to use and many of my patients are highly motivated by anything presented on the iPad (seriously I could show them the same story in printed format, read it to them and might not get much of a response but somehow recording my voice and presenting the same social story via the iPad got a very different response…. Shhhhh….. don’t tell the kids that it’s Mrs. Angela inside the iPad…. lol!).

See my full review for this fabulous social story making app at:  https://omazingkidsllc.com/2017/07/12/app-review-social-stories-creator-for-educators-by-touch-autism/

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Angela Moorad, MS, CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist
Founder of OMazing Kids, LLC – inclusive wellness & educational activities for kids of all abilities
Facebook Messaging for OMazing Kids: https://www.facebook.com/messages/174264525957894
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/OMazingKidsYoga
AppPeeps Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/OMazingKidsAppPeeps/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/amoorad
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/omazingkids
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/amoorad1
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/OMazingKids/
YappGuru: http://yappguru.com/user/omazing-kids/
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/110305433538768736741
Boardmaker Share: http://www.boardmakershare.com/Community/FriendsProfile/10916/Angela-Moorad
Blog: http://omazingkidsllc.com
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Angela Moorad is the founder of OMazing Kids, LLC and is an ASHA certified & licensed pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist and Kids Yoga Teacher with over 27 years experience working in a variety of settings (early intervention, schools, teletherapy & a nonprofit pediatric rehab hospital for children with developmental disabilities). She is an app beta tester for educational & therapeutic app developers and loves sharing info about great apps, products, books & toys to use with kids of all abilities.

{50+ Fun Food Apps} Expanding AAC opportunities with kids cooking & food themed apps

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{50+ Fun Food Apps} Expanding AAC opportunities with kids cooking & food themed apps

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One of the first motivators for many beginning AAC users is to request food. But then sometimes kids get stuck there. One way to move on is to tap into that high interest area by using food and cooking themed apps on a second iPad. Many of these apps are filled with opportunities to target verbs, adjectives, emotions and core vocabulary on their AAC device all centered around a food theme. I went through my app collection and compiled this list with a wide range of ages in mind:

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Angela Moorad, MS, CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist
Founder of OMazing Kids, LLC – inclusive wellness & educational activities for kids of all abilities
Facebook Messaging for OMazing Kids: https://www.facebook.com/messages/174264525957894
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/OMazingKidsYoga
AppPeeps Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/OMazingKidsAppPeeps/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/amoorad
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/omazingkids
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/amoorad1
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/OMazingKids/
YappGuru: http://yappguru.com/user/omazing-kids/
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/110305433538768736741
Boardmaker Share: http://www.boardmakershare.com/Community/FriendsProfile/10916/Angela-Moorad
Blog: http://omazingkidsllc.com
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Angela Moorad is the founder of OMazing Kids, LLC and is an ASHA certified & licensed pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist and Kids Yoga Teacher with over 27 years experience working in a variety of settings (early intervention, schools, teletherapy & a nonprofit pediatric rehab hospital for children with developmental disabilities). She is an app beta tester for educational & therapeutic app developers and loves sharing info about great apps, products, books & toys to use with kids of all abilities.