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Speaking of Apps

Customized Comprehension & Learning in Visual Scenes

Published September 3, 2012 9:00 AM by Megan Sutton

TinyTap is an unlikely candidate for my blog, falling short on two criteria I look for in good adult therapy apps - it requires customization before it will work (a no-no for busy clinicians with caseload pressures), and it is designed for preschool kids with cutesy animations and sounds. These two flaws notwithstanding, this is a very useful app for practicing comprehension and learning in more natural contexts with adults, and it's free.

TinyTap is an iPad-only app that creates photo books with personalized audio questions that can be answered by touching the correct areas in the photos. It's very easy to create a book, add photos, record questions, trace answer areas, and record both correct and incorrect responses (optional, but recommended as the default sound is children laughing). As an example, I've taken a family photo and recorded questions such as "Which one is Mary?", "Find David," and "Where's Buddy?" to help train a client with memory impairment or comprehension problems to understand names.

When the client goes to use the app, they select the book, and the questions are played for them. They answer by touching the correct area of the screen, "Mary" in the case below, and are reinforced with the recorded message, "You're right! That's Mary!" or whatever you wish to say. The app keeps score on each trial of the book, and results can be emailed off but not stored.


While comprehension in a visual scene is the most obvious use for this app ("touch the small green circle above the yellow square," "find the item used for cooking," "who is your oldest brother?"), it can also be used to create visual search games for scanning practice or to create a learning tutorial about how to use an app or perform a task.  Here, I'm teaching a client how to get into another app to do their home practice by using a screenshot of the target app. This is perfect for people with memory problems who need extra instruction for new routines.

TinyTap books can be shared via e-mail, Facebook, or iTunes. The app comes with a demo book showing you how to use the app as well as two books for kids (Where is the Mouse? & Who is Bigger?), all of which nicely demonstrate ways the app can be used.  An in-app store offers more pre-made books for purchase that look wonderful for pediatric populations to practice following directions, matching, comparing, and learning. The kiddy portions of the app (bears, bunnies, balloons, and planes show up here and there) can be overlooked because of all the great independent and repetitive learning opportunities the app offers, but as with any preschool app used with the brain-injured adult, be sensitive to resistance and do your best to shut down the default sounds (music is customizable or can be shut-off while playing).


Cannot find this at the app store.

Patricia, , Slp Ny school for the deaf September 8, 2012 8:33 PM
White plains, ny NY

I LOVE this app.  I use it with an autistic preschooler for pointing to body parts.  "Touch ear".  It's easy to learn, and after you do a couple screens it takes only a minute or two to do a page.

J.S. Lesher September 6, 2012 1:27 PM

Looks so interesting and easy to use with real photos.

Denise, , Slp Preschool September 3, 2012 8:53 PM
Wheaton IL

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About this Blog

    Speaking of Apps
    Occupation: Speech-Language Pathologist
    Setting: Rehabilitation
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