Friday, September 7, 2012

Pyxwise App Review & Giveaway Party!!!

One app reviewed by 4 bloggers representing a variety of special needs. Who shares your point of view?

Welcome to our first app POV app review carnival! What is app POV? Bloggers representing a variety of special needs review the same app from their unique point of view (POV). You get a chance to see what each blog is about and choose the reviews you think might be most helpful. You can read one or you can read them all. If you’re lucky, you might get the chance to win a full version of the app reviewed!

We have two more bloggers coming soon, so check back for another chance to read a review and win!! ;)

The Reviewers and their POV:


The blog: able2able focuses on online special needs resources, product reviews and giveaways, and tips on accommodating needs without sacrificing money or family time.

The POV: Clara-Bear, a 7 year old with Down Syndrome, Autism, and infant stroke effects, is the inspiration behind able2able. She is in the first grade in an inclusive Tennessee public school. Clara-Bear is nonverbal (dysarthria of speech) and uses a speech generating device. She has sensory dysregulation, hypotonia, apraxia, impaired visual depth perception, and poor awareness of the right side of her body. She is a tech-monkey who won’t say “please” or “mama” but will say “iPad.” If there is a way to cheat around educational or therapy goals in an app, Clara-Bear will find it!

Alan is the baby bother brother. He is 5 1/2, typically developing, with speech articulation needs and some mild sensory issues. Alan is bright and super chatty, and is not as fired up about technology as his older sister. He’s picky about his food and even pickier about what it takes to make an app fun. If it’s too teachy, it’s out!

The blogger: Anara is a Registered Nurse who originally wanted to be a special ed teacher. She started blogging and writing in 2007 as a way to deal with 5 years of medically homebound winters with virtual twins and a traveling husband. She used to consider herself quite tech savvy until babies stole her brain cells.

The review:

Life With My Special Ks (uh... that's me... LOL)

The Blog: Life With My Special Ks focuses on life as a military family with young kids, some with special needs, some without... all pretty awesome. We also touch on topics of Down syndrome, childhood cancer, adoption, RAD, inclusion, deployment and whatever else seems to come our way.

The POV: Kennedy is 8 years old and has Down syndrome. She is in an inclusive 2nd grade classroom and is thriving! She made great gains last year learning to read, write and do math and we are excited to see her continue to grow and learn this year in school. She is highly motivated by anything to do with her iPad so we have it loaded with lots of educational apps... of course she prefers to use it to make movies with her dog, Kokonut, but we're getting there. ;)

The Blogger: Renee is a 33 year old stay-at-home mom who never seems to be... home! She is always off and running somewhere... to the kids' schools to volunteer, to dance class, the soccer field, drama class or driving somewhere in between. She started blogging by way of a caringbridge page in 2005 to keep family and friends informed about Kennedy's medical issues and finally jumped full on into blogging a few years later. Through blogging she has found a way to support others on the same roads she is traveling and bring awareness to issues that affect her family. At least no one can ever say life is boring!

The Review:
For this review we were given the apps Simplex Spelling Phonics 1, Simplex Spelling Phonics 2 and Simplex Spelling Sight Words. I think these apps were designed fairly well. We have A LOT of reading/spelling apps because I think it's so important that Kennedy's reading comprehension grows steadily. I wouldn't say this is the best one that I've seen, but it has some pretty cool functions that other apps don't, so we'll definitely be using it a lot. The first few times Kennedy tried it out, she couldn't do it on her own. I had to be right there with her, walking her through it. There is a talking tutorial, but she still needed me there. Once she got the hang of it though, she was able to take over with little to no guidance, which she prefers! ;)

Kennedy liked the sight words app the best because that's her easiest thing to do, so she rocked it. LOL However, the lists get progressively harder so I think she'll find a challenge as she goes on. I liked the Spelling 1 app because it made her think and sound out the words phonetically. I also liked that if she got stuck it would help her sound it out so she could choose the right the letter. She did get a little distracted in the beginning because they would say the word and then use it in a sentence and all Kennedy wanted to do was talk about that sentence instead of spell the word. ;o) I wish they had an option to only say the sentence if the child needed it. On the other hand, the sentence makes for good vocabulary building and application of the word as well... and maybe it will help Kennedy focus on what she's supposed to be doing... that's definitely one of the areas she needs to work on! The Spelling Phonics 2 app is a little over Kennedy's head for right now, but I'm glad we have it for later. She'll get there eventually!! I think Keeghan will have fun with these apps later too. He's not quite ready for them... You can add multiple users which is always handy and it keeps track of your child's progress and how many attempts they made at spelling the word correctly.

Overall, good apps! We haven't had them long enough to see if Kennedy has made good progress with them, but they have been very good reinforcing apps for the stuff she's learning at school. She enjoys playing with them and it keeps her attention which are the two most important things! ;)

NOW the part that you guys REALLY came for... THE GIVEAWAY!!! 

I have been given two sets of codes for each of these three apps. SO if you would like to win a set of these three apps - Simplex Spelling Phonics 1Simplex Spelling Phonics 2 and Simplex Spelling Sight Words - leave me a comment below telling me who you would use it for. It's that easy! I will use to choose two winners on Saturday, September 8th! That's TOMORROW!!!

If you share this giveaway on Facebook or Twitter, leave me a separate comment telling me you did so and you will be entered to win a second (or third) time! Don't miss out on this chance to win a great app package for your child. I'll be interested to see how they like it! :)


Stephanie said...

I'd use it for my 2nd grader with FAS and ADHD

Ann said...

I know my 10 year old daughter, Olivia, would greatly benefit from these apps. She has Down syndrome. She loves her iPad and it is a great way for her to learn new skills and keep old ones strong. Please pick me!

Maren said...

I would use it for my almost 9 year old Ethan. He has moderate autism. We are making great strides this year in both spelling and reading and love and iPad apps that help in these areas.

susan said...

These apps look amazing.

Lisa said...

Renee, I would love this for Mara. Thank you!!!

Bethany said...

me, me... pick me! lol

amanda said...

This sounds great for Breigh. :)

D.A.D.S. of South Central Kentucky said...

Hello Renee,
We could incorporate these apps into Ella Kate's learning of both phonics & spelling. Homeschool has been great for her, because she LOVES technology & learning while using our iPhone or laptop. This would be right up her alley! People are always amazed to see our "little girl" with Down syndrome work her way around their iPhone or iPad when they let her use them. She leaves them "wowed"!
Thank you!
Matt Nelson

Melissa said...

I would use these apps with my son Joey who has Ds and the same age as Kennedy along with my K-4 special education students.

Tiffany said...

I would love Simplex Spelling Phonics 1, my Elise does GREAT with sight words, but struggles with phonics, and I'd love to see that get stronger!!

Living in Thankfulness said...

I would use it with my 9 year old son who was born with Down syndrome as well as my 6 year old who's just starting his reading journey! Sounds like a great app!


Living in Thankfulness said...

Posted the link to this giveaway on Facebook :)


Living in Thankfulness said...

Tweeted about the giveaway:


Unknown said...

This is a great way to help my kids to improve their English. Our first language is Spanish but been in the military life has change the way we speak. My kids speak both languages but my oldest son has an IEP because of speech delay. Anything that could help my kids is awesome. Hopefully this will .

Dawn said...

I would use it with my 15 special needs children (I am a cross-categorical special education teacher). My students love using the iPod in the classroom. I love being able to enrich their learning with quality apps.

Susan Berg said...

Good Morning Renee,

We would be using the apps for our six year old son Carter that has Down syndrome.

Kaylene said...

I'd use it for C--T21, apraxia of speech, hard-of-hearing, and non-verbal.

I've noticed that the more I use phonics based reading programs--the better C is in mimicking sounds.:)

Mommy to those Special Ks said...

This comment is for Denise Ruddy whose computer hates my blog and won't let her comment! ;o)

Ariel said...

Me please! I'm a special Ed teacher trying to teach 4 different grades with 7 different reading levels this year and they are all in my resource room at the same time!

Sweet Pea's Mommy said...

I hope I'm not too late! I'd love the sight words one and I'm sure that the others will come in handy in the future as well. Thanks!