TCI Tech Review Blog

TCI teachers, speech therapists and staff provide feedback and reviews of Assistive Technology and iPod, iPad, & iPhone Apps that are used to support students with autism.  The application and technology reviews listed here are personal statements made by individuals and may or may not reflect the official position of the school and/or administration. You can subscribe to an RSS feed of this page (see RSS icon at bottom of page) or follow our Twitter feed at For more information and resources about mobile apps supporting students with special needs, visit Mr. Palmer's page.
  • Inference Ace (Janine Toole)

    Posted by Noelle DiGiacomo at 4/27/2015
    Inference Ace Inference Ace is a great app to help reinforce the skill of inferencing. Inference Ace and Inference Ace 2 help students to improve reading comprehension by making inferences in multiple ways. Within each app, there are varying levels, each working on a different type of inference, such as who, what, where, when, why, actions, categorizing, and more. The student is given a short paragraph and need to choose the correct answer based on the information given in the text. There are supports or hints given to help the student determine a correct response, if needed. Each student can have their own account, which also tracks the performance for each level. There are two ways to use the apps. One way is to have the student unlock or master each level in order to move on to the next skill. Another way is to have the teacher choose the different skills the student needs to practice, by tapping on the characters nose 3 times, which will automatically unlock all levels. These apps are great to use with students who need help with inferencing skills.
    Inference Ace is marketed by Janine Tool and is available in the iTunes App store (unlocked school edition) for 4.99
    Comments (-1)
  • Preference and Reinforcer Assessment App (Touch Autism)

    Posted by Val Triano at 4/6/2015
    The Preference & Reinforcer Assessment app, designed by a BCBA and based on preference assessments used in ABA settings, scientifically identifies motivating reinforcers for a student. Reinforcers are extremely important when working on reducing problem behaviors and teaching new skills.  With simple step by step instructions, the app calculates the percentage of times each preference was selected, creates a bar graph of each student’s final results and saves them by date, allowing for easy review of previous results. Preferences, or suitability of different reinforcers often shift over time, so it’s valuable to continually perform preference assessments to make sure the stimuli you are using are still acting as effective reinforcers. This app makes the otherwise involved and time consuming assessment easy to do.Research has shown that caregiver and even self-report are not always the best indicators of actual preferences, making this app a valuable tool for behavior analysts and teachers to use when identifying potent reinforcers for a student.  However, it is easy enough for a parent to use as well. The app includes such features as descriptions of all of the types of preference assessments, a timer to determine the end of a trial, a timer to indicate how long each item is engaged with, the ability to assign a color to each item, the ability to customize each assessment type and specific instructions and visuals to help you set up and run the assessment. This app is based on the principles of a scientific preference assessment as described in the 1996 article published in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis by DeLeon, I. G., & Iwata, B. A. “Evaluation of a multiple stimulus presentation format for assessing reinforcer preferences” 29, 519-533
    The Preference and Reinforcer Assessment App is marketed by  Touch Autism and is available in the iTunes App Store for $9.99
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  • Functional Behavior Assessment Wizard (WhizzWatt Software)

    Posted by Melissa Chichelo at 3/23/2015
    Rather than relying on trying to decrease or extinguish behaviors based on what the behavior looks like, functional assessment helps to identify the function or “payoff” of a problematic behavior. This allows the teacher, interventionist or parent to develop effective interventions which result in effective behavior change.  With The Functional Behavior Assessment Wizard, you can conduct clinical level functional assessments for multiple behaviors simultaneously using frequency or duration recording.  Each assessment can be individualized by entering the specific target behaviors and conditions. The app then assists in identifying behavior functions, generating professional reports, complete with graphs.
    The Functional Behavior Assessment Wizard is marketed by WhizzWatt Software and is available in the iTunes App Store for  $9.99
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  • Picture the Sentence (Hamaguchi Apps)

    Posted by Noelle DiGiacomo at 1/12/2015
    Picture the sentence Picture the Sentence dissects the structure of a basic sentence so students can visualize the sentence in picture form. This app allows students complete activities at three different levels of difficulty, so they can attach meaning to each word in the sentence. Some helpful features include voice commands (which can be turned off and on), and a fun reinforcement game called “Pick-a-Door.” This app, developed by Hamaguchi Apps, allows the user to select color drawing icons, sentence types, a sand timer, and a data/progress tracker. This is an excellent, engaging program for any teacher or parent who wishes to help their child strengthen his or her language and listening skills. Compatible with iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch. Also available is Picture the Sentence Lite, designed specifically for iPhone 5.
    Picture the Sentence is marketed by Hamaguchi Apps and is available in the iTunes App Store for $9.99
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  • Nearpod (Panarea)

    Posted by Caitlin Bonner at 11/10/2014
    Nearpod Nearpod is an excellent app that promotes technology integration during lessons and allows students to follow along with the lesson on their iPads. This app allows teachers to share their presentations, control students’ activity, assess students, and track progress. Teachers must create an account at and download the app on the students’ ipads. Once the teacher creates an account, he or she can explore the website for pre-made “Nearpods” or presentations. There are paid and free lessons available on the website, but the teacher is also able to create and upload “Nearpods” of his or her own. When a lesson is downloaded, it appears in the My Library section of the website. The teacher selects the lesson and clicks on Live Session. When a live session is created, the presentation will open along with a pop-up with a Pin number for the students to type into their iPads. The students will type in the pin number, sign in with their names, and the lesson will begin. The teacher controls when a slide is changed while the students follow along. When a question is embedded in the presentation, the app records each student’s answer. Teachers are able to assess the students and track their progress during the presentation. The website keeps track of the students’ progress in the Records section under the teacher account.

    While creating a Nearpod presentation, there are a variety of options available to make them interactive and to meet the needs of all your learners. Some of the possible interactive features one can embed in a presentation are videos, questions, links, polls, quizzes, PDF documents, and drawing activities. There are many helpful tutorials on the Nearpod website that teach how to use all aspects of the website and how to create your own Nearpod presentations. Free and paid memberships are available on the website. The free membership includes many of the basic tools one would need to teach an effective and interactive lesson.

    Nearpod is marketed by Panarea and is available in the iTunes App Store for FREE.
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  • Reading Comprehension Camp (Smarty Ears)

    Posted by Noelle DiGiacomo at 10/6/2014

    Reading Comprehension Camp Reading Comprehension Camp is a great app to use with your students to promote reading comprehension skills. The app consists of 5 levels. Each level has a variety of stories to choose from. The stories can be read to the user or the user can read the story themselves and record what they have read to practice fluency skills. After each story is read, the user can choose which types of questions they would like to answer, from basic "wh" questions to inference and vocabulary questions. Each question provides multiple choices and the student can refer back to the story to answer the questions. If the user is having difficulty answering a question, there is a "hint" option, which will highlight the sentence where the answer can be located. The app also collects data for each individual story. The data is displayed in a graph showing the users overall performance by question type. The data also shows which question for each story was correct or incorrect, and this data can be printed or shared. There are many customizable features for each learner, and can even be used with groups of up to 4 users. I highly recommend Reading Comprehension Camp for any students that may struggle with reading comprehension or may need supplemental reinforcement of reading skills.

     Reading Comprehension Camp is marketed by Smarty Ears and is available in the iTunes App Store for $19.99
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  • TouchMath Adventures Jungle Addition (MediaKube, LLC)

    Posted by Laura Hartjen at 9/29/2014

    Touchmath TouchMath Adventures: Jungle Addition 1 is a great hands on iPad app that prepares learners to add single digit numbers through a scaffolded step by step process.  The app is divided into three training modes: Adventurer Training, Skill Practice, and Adventure Mode. 

    Adventurer Training provides a hands on review of the order of the Touch Points.  Those familiar with the Touch Math Touching/Counting Patterns app will find this mode familiar as the D.I.G.I.T robot from the previous app guides students through the touch points 0-9.  This quick review of the Touch Points is a great warm up for students before diving into the Skill Practice or Adventure Mode.

    Adventurer mode transports the learner into the jungle with Panar and Freckles, two leopards and their monkey friend Newton on a journey to find treasure.  Throughout the adventurer mode, the story progresses giving the learner tasks to complete from counting objects to get a puzzle piece to rafting down a river while sequencing numbers.  The skill tests in each level include activities such as counting to 20, number sequencing, beginning addition, and even a comparing numbers activity using greater than, less than, and equal to.  In order to advance to the next level, the learner must complete each skill activity with 70% or higher.  This ensures that the learner understands the skill before moving on to the next activity.  What is particularly nice about the layout of the activities is the way the chapters progresses naturally through the Touch Math process.  The learner is able to start with counting objects as a means of adding to using numbers and objects together to add to finally adding with numbers while fading some of the Touch Points.  After completing each addition problem, the problem is repeated back which is a great way for the learner to start memorizing simple addition facts.  The final challenge level combines a random mix of all the skills from the previous chapters which the learner must complete to finish the adventure.  Teachers and parents also have the option to change the settings for each chapter including setting the number of problems, what skills will be worked on, and if the problems should be given in order or randomized.

    touchmath Skill practice mode takes all the skill tests out of each chapter in Adventure Mode and allows them to be practiced without going through the whole narrative adventure.  Each activity progresses in difficulty as each level is completed, but if a skill could use more practice on a certain set of facts there is an option to replay that particular skill set.  This is also a great place for the student to practice a skill in order to pass the skill test in adventurer mode. 

    Overall TouchMath Adventures: Jungle Addition 1 is a wonderful app for learners who are already familiar with the order and placement of Touch Points and ready to move on to add one-digit numbers.  The fun adventure as well as the entertaining hands on math activities are sure to keep a learner excited and motivated to progress through the TouchMath addition program.

    TouchMath Adventures Jungle Addition is marketed by MediaKube, LLC and is available on the iTunes store for $9.99.
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  • Dollars & Cents (Attainment Company)

    Posted by Randall Palmer at 6/9/2014
    Dollars & Cents TCI has reviewed numerous coin counting and money recognition apps, but Dollars & Cents from Attainment Company stands out as one of the best.  Dollars & Cents provides a clean and simple interface for students with autism to learn coin recognition, spending money, and making change. 

    In the Counting Coins section, students can practice coin recognition, sorting, matching, and even practice using a pretend vending machine.  In Spending Money section, students are presented with a list of items to shop for. Once selected, the student must identify the proper amount of money to give the cashier. Finally, the Making Change section provides an opportunity for students to practice counting money and making change as if they were running a cash register.
    Dollars & Cents supports multiple user names, so an entire class can share a single iPad. The Options menu allows teachers to manage users and customize a plethora of settings that control the students’ experience.
    Dollars & Cents is marketed by Attainment Company and is available in the iTunes App Store for $39.99.

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  • News-2-You (N2Y)

    Posted by Noelle DiGiacomo at 6/2/2014
    News-2-You News-2-You is an online newspaper designed for students with special needs. With four levels of difficulty and the use of symbol-supported text, students have the opportunity to explore real-life current events and topics, at a level they can understand. A subscription of News-2-You provides weekly articles, and includes worksheets, games, and activities to go along with each article. Also, included with the subscription is an iPad app that can be downloaded on your students' iPads, and they can have access to the same materials available in the online version. The website provides a sample lesson if you would like to try it in your classroom or at home.
    News-2-You is marketed by N2Y and is available in the iTunes App Store.
    Comments (-1)
  • Bag Game (All4mychild)

    Posted by Barbara Lanigan at 5/30/2014
    Bag Game This is a spin-off of the game “20 Questions.” All you need to do is choose a graphic (there are over 100 included to choose from OR take a photo of your own) and “hide” it in the brown paper bag.
    Some areas of speech-language include: categorization, expressive language for describing, question formulation skills, reasoning skills, vocabulary-same/different, auditory memory skills-making mental pictures.
    Two ways you can use this app:
    1. Hide the item and have the child ask the questions to identify characteristics of the item or the name of the item. You can use visuals with sample questions written out (e.g., Is it a food?” “Does it fly?” etc.). You can also use a clue sheet that lists attributes (e.g., hard, soft, tall, short, round, square, noisy, quiet, cold, hot, etc.).
    2. Hide the item and you give the clues to describe it. Example: “ It’s a food, that is served at breakfast, round with syrup.” Give one clue at a time if the child can make guesses based on the limited information.
     Other tips:
    • After the child is familiar with how to play the game, you can reverse roles and have them hide the object.
    • It is always good to review the facts after you have gathered a few. For example: “So far, we know it is a vehicle, that has an engine and wings.” etc.
    • By using your own photos, this app can also be used to help children learn family members and other information. Example: “Guess who we are going to see this weekend?...She is a girl, she is 12 years old, she has blonde hair and green eyes, she likes to play soccer… Yes, Cousin Emily!” OR another example: “We are going on a special vacation this summer. Would you like to guess?... We are going on an airplane, we will stay at a hotel, it will be hot, we will go to a state called Florida, we might see Mickey Mouse”…Yes, we are going to Disney World in Orlando Florida!
    • You can also use this app during long car rides, waiting at a restaurant or doctor’s office, etc.

    Bag Game is marketed by All4mychild and is available in the iTunes App Store for $1.99

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Last Modified on May 28, 2015