App Review: Colourful Semantics

I wrote a post about the Colorful (Colourful) Semantics program a few weeks ago (click the program name for the link). This program is for helping clients with syntax organization, word ordering, word retrieval, asking and understanding WH-questions, and developing noun, verb and adjective usage by answering questions to make a complete sentence. Each question is assigned a color for easier learning. Here is the breakdown of the colors:

Level 1: Who? (Subject – orange)

Level 2: What Doing? (Verb- yellow)

Level 3: What? (Object – green)

Level 4: Where? (Location – blue)

Level 5: Describe? (Adjective – purple)

I found great success with this program last year with some struggling language students and was so excited to discover that there is an app created by the developer that partners with the program. The name of the app is Colourful Semantics. The app was developed by London Speech & Language Therapy (which explains the spelling of “colorful”).

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Overview:

Once you download the app and open it, you have three choices: Start, Setup, About Us.

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Before starting the app, you need to set up your users. Under the Setup tab you can choose which level your client is working at since the program builds upon each level. You can choose to work on one level at a time or multiple levels.

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Another option on the Setup page is Choose Scenes for Session. The app comes with 22 different pictures but you have the option of adding your own picture. By touching the flower leaf that says Add Scene you can choose an existing photo from your camera roll or take a photo.

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Another flower leaf is Setting. Here you can choose different features of the app. A feature to note that would be helpful in therapy is the option of Learning Mode versus Test Mode. The difference between the two modes is in the Learning Mode the client can record and play the responses but that option is turned off in the Test Mode.

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Once you have selected your level or levels, it is time to start the lesson. The photograph is displayed and a question is read. Below the photograph are four choices of line drawn pictures. You can choose in the Settings whether to display just image or image and text. The client needs to select the correct picture that answers the question. After the client selects a picture, they will be told if the answer is correct or not. Next the app prompts for the client to say the word or phrase. The client can record his response at any time during the Learning Mode.

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If you selected more than one question type then the next question will be read for the same photograph. If you need the question reread there is a small speaker next to the question that is currently being asked. At the end of all of the questions for that picture, the full sentence will be read.

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At the end of the session, you can print or email the results which is nice for data tracking. On the main screen under About Us is an explanation of the company as well as helpful instructions explaining how to use the program. You are able to return to the Home screen at any time throughout the program.

What I like about the program:

  • The use of photographs and line drawings
  • Ability to record and playback client’s sample
  • The alignment with the Colourful Semantic program
  • The ability to add your own pictures to the program

What I would like to see improved:

  • The app moves to the next question before a recording can be finished and played back. It would be an improvement if you could progress the app manually after you are finished with a question.
  • The verbal reinforcement gets cut off before the whole word or phrase can be said sometimes.
  • Some of the sentences and questions are lower then the verbal reinforcers so the volume level can be difficult to adjust.

Other uses for this app:

  • Articulation: I will also be using this app for articulation carryover practice. The recording feature will be nice for them to hear their errors.
  • AAC: As students are progressing from identifying photographs to line drawings, this app can be used to help them relate photos and drawings.
  • Receptive language: Students can match the photo to the drawing.
  • Pragmatic language: The clinician can expand on the sentence by asking inferencing questions and social scenarios.

I would like to thank Chris Wade from London Speech & Language Therapy for providing me with this app to review. I hope you found this app review of Colourful Semantics helpful. I would recommend this program and app to therapist who have clients that struggle with syntax skills. It helps reinforce the skills they have learned during the program. This app is a little expense for most therapist budgets at $38.99 (current iTunes price). Click here for the link to iTunes. It does have other uses in therapy besides just for syntax skills that should be considered when trying to decide if this is a good app for your therapy clients.

Disclaimer: A copy of this app was provided to me for my review. No other compensation was provided and the opinions are mine.

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