Update: Comprehension TherAppy Lite is included in Language TherAppy Lite, a free trial of four great apps from Tactus TherAppy!
Editor's Note: For the first time, we've had two different reviewers weigh in on one app. Deanne did a comprehensive overview first and then Heather presented her view as an SLP second.
Comprehension TherAppy was designed by a speech and language pathologist to help people dealing with aphasia and cognitive deficits that arose from strokes or other brain injuries. So why are we reviewing it on a site for kids educational apps? Well, Heather will add her SLP’s perspective, but as a parent I want to tell you how I see this app as being phenomenally useful across many different populations.
- Homeschoolers, especially those teaching French and Spanish
- Individuals who teach English as a Second Language (ESL)
- Parents of special needs children, especially kids who are non-verbal and/or have cognitive challenges
As you can see, the utility of this app is very broad and when you combine that with the excellence with which it has been put together it most definitely deserves a Top Pick rating. The app isn’t cheap (it’s $25) but given its quality, the amount of the content and the fact there are no in-app purchases, I believe it is good value at that price.
So, what does it do – in essence the app is very simple, it’s a tool for use in determining auditory and/or reading comprehension by requiring the child to listen to a word being spoken and then select the corresponding picture or written word. For purposes of this review, I’m assuming the app will be used with a child. The app has three modes:
- “Listen”: the child has to match a spoken word to a picture
- “Read”: the child has to match a written word to a picture. This would be great for assessing reading comprehension skills in deaf children for example.
- “Listen and read” – the child has to match a spoken word to the corresponding written word. Great for assessing reading skills in all children.
The parent, teacher or therapist can adjust the settings as follows:
- Choose one of four language modes: English (North America), English (UK), Spanish and French.
- There are three difficulty settings: Easy, Medium and Hard.
- Select 2, 3, 4 or 6 options for the child to choose from or, in Auto mode, the app will adjust the number of options presented based on how the child is performing.
- The number of questions in each test can be 10, 25, 50, 100 or infinity.
- If using the app with a child then Child-Friendly mode can be turned on which will eliminate pictures of adult-oriented items like alcoholic drinks.
- The app tracks data and a results summary can be emailed to enable you to easily, if you are a parent for example, share progress with a teacher or therapist.
- There are 500 nouns included in the app but you can deselect nouns by category if you want to focus on words in a specific area. The app also includes 100 verbs and 100 adjectives which you can select or deselect as appropriate.
Anything else you like about this app Deanne? Well yes, thank you for asking!
- It oozes quality. The voices used are slow and precise but still speak naturally. The 700 photographs used are crisp and unambiguous. The interface is clean and clear with no distractions.
- It’s user-friendly. All that’s required is for a picture (or word) to be tapped which makes it a great option for those with limited mobility. There’s a big, clear “repeat” button in the “Listen” and “Listen&Read” modes. Immediate feedback is provided regarding correct or incorrect selections and the score is tracked on-screen. Once the correct selection is made the transition to the next set is automatic and fast.
- Many parents, teachers and therapists have older children, teens and adults with special needs and are forced to use apps that are developed for preschoolers which therefore have lots of ‘kiddy’ features. You folks are going to LOVE this app!
- Accurate reporting of responses. One pet peeve of mine is when a child selects an incorrect response first followed by the correct response and the app only records the final correct answer. In this app the response is tracked as incorrect once a wrong selection is made.
A free trial would be nice, but the versatility, huge amount of content, fantastic execution and sheer quality of this app easily make it a Top Pick.
This review was written by Deanne Shoyer who has to think of tag lines that won’t bore Ron and also somehow tie into the app. Hopefully Ron comprehends that this will at some point drive me to needing therapy.
Comprehension TherAppy was designed for use by a therapist working with patients with aphasia and alexia and targets single-word comprehension. It is not designed for game play or creative teaching—this is not going to be the app your child independently plays again and again. As a therapeutic app, however, it is very useful, and can help with much more than just aphasia.
I used it in therapy for several students with cognitive disabilities or autism, all with goals targeting vocabulary expansion. While it wouldn’t be my choice for daily therapy, it served a great purpose to measure current comprehension of single-word vocabulary. Using the “listen” mode, I learned that one student had a very high receptive vocabulary, even though his expressive vocabulary was much lower.
The “read” mode presents a single written word for the user to match to the picture. I found it useful for older students working on reading and phonics. Because there is no story context, it helped me to identify students who needed more intervention with using phonics and word-attack strategies.
Understanding and using adjectives is a skill targeted in most classrooms in elementary school. Many kids with language impairments or delays have a particular difficulty with these words. I used the adjectives category to assess students’ understanding of adjectives, in order to track what to target next in therapy.
Though this app is designed for comprehension, I was able to build expression into it as well. In the “listen” and “read” modes, I modified the command for some of my students. When they heard or read the word, they had to tell me which picture to tap and use it in a phrase or sentence. After hearing “clean,” the student could tell me, “The dishes are clean” or “touch the clean dishes.”
The vocabulary was a little advanced for my younger students, which I expected. There are many more apps that target preschool/early elementary vocabulary—but this one is nearly alone in providing relevant vocabulary for older children and adults.
If you would like to purchase Comprehension TherAppy please use the links provided. Thanks for your support!