Today I am reviewing a great app, which targets verbal reasoning skills in children and adults. Verbal Reasoning by Virtual Speech Center was created to target the following:
Adults with cognitive deficits caused by TBI, stroke, or other brain injuries as well as with Aphasia
Children with autism
Children with language disorders
It is intended for individuals ages 12 and up and includes such activities as:
- Identifying problems, possible causes, and solutions
- Stating problems, possible causes, and solutions
- Answering negative wh-questions
- Identifying what will happen next
- Predicting what will happen next
- Stating similarities and differences between items
- Stating pros and cons
- What would you do if…?
- What would happen if…?
- Answering why-questions”
“Identifying problems, possible causes, and solutions” as well as “Predicting what will happen next” activities include pictures and multiple choice format while “Stating problems, possible causes, and solutions” contains pictures with no multiple choice answers
Below I put together a few collages of photos from the app to which I’ll be referring to throughout this review. I tried to include photos from as many of the above stated categories as possible in order to give you a good cross sampling of questions.
So now let talk about the overall usefulness of this app. For starters, I personally think that the developers miscalculated the suggested ages for working with this app. I have used a select number of activities including the “ Identifying problems, possible causes, and solutions“, “Stating similarities and differences,” as well as Answering questions” with children as young as 5 years of age with great results.
In fact, the Language Processing Test-3 by Linguisystems actually has subtests on similarities and differences, including “how are car and bus alike?” (see 2nd collage), and it can be administered to children as young as 5 years of age. Furthermore, the elementary version of the Test of Problem Solving-3 has subtests on problem solving as well as predictions with similar to this app questions, and this test can be administered to children as young as 6 years of age.
So I think that with a few minor modifications, this app could be used with a much wider audience. For starters offering most/all activities with and without visual support options would be a great addition to the app. Secondly organizing the activities in a hierarchical order would also be very helpful to most clinicians.
I definitely felt that the intro screen (see above photos in the first collage) was a bit cluttered and confusing to read. I think that it could be organized much better if it was also in a hierarchical developmental order with subcategories:
- Answering ‘why’ questions
- Comparing and Contrasting
- Inferencing and Predicting
- Problem Solving
- Justifying and Persuading (e.g., stating pros/cons)
This way when one activity is mastered by the child, the clinician can just follow the order of complexity and not look around the start page guessing what activity to administer next.
Having said that I do want to emphasize that the app is a great value for the money you pay, just $12.99, since it offers the clinician the ability to work on both: verbal reasoning tasks and social cognition with children as young as 5, albeit with some modifications (e.g., when working on comparing and contrasting activity I provided the younger children with my own pictures to make the questions more salient for them).
I also expanded some activities by adding “multiple interpretation questions”, as well as questions targeting such concepts as empathy, sympathy, and perspective taking abilities:
What do you think s/he is thinking/feeling?
What else could s/he be thinking/feeling?
How do you know what s/he is thinking/feeling?
How can you tell?
Where do you think s/he is?
Where else could they be?
How do you know?
Verdict: My clients and I definitely enjoyed using this app and I will continue to use it in therapy. But don’t take my word for it, check in out for yourselves. Thanks to great folks at Virtual Speech Center, I have not one but two promo codes to giveaway! So enter my Rafflecopter giveaway below for a chance to win.