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Amanda R.

Status: Beta reviewer

Categories of apps she/he wants to review: Books - Education - Entertainment - Games - Lifestyle - Photography - Productivity - Utilities - Other

iDevices she/he owns: - iPad2- iPad3- iPhone3GS- iPhone5

Description: I've been involved in the special needs community for 25 yrs, for past the 12 yrs as Behaviour Interventionist in ABA programs for children with autism; in home programs, preschools & elementary schools. I'm certified in Early Childhood Education. I now have a foster son with autism & run iEmpowerU.ca and work in schools and privately.

Profile categories: Can test apps with kids ages 3-5 - Can test apps with kids ages 6-10 - Can test apps with kids ages over 10 - Teaching kids ages 3-5 - Teaching kids ages 6-10 - Special education teacher or AT (Assistive Tech.) specialist - Educational Technology specialist

Date when her/his profile was validated: 2012-08-31

User who invited him/her: Jean-Eudes L.

Total review Karma: + 3     ?

Each time a developer thinks a review from a reviewer is useful, he give to this reviewer +1 in review Karma. The more Karma a reviewer has, the better her/his reviews are assessed!

Her/His app reviews

JigSaw Zoo Animal Puzzles - Animated Puzzle Fun for Kids with Funny Cartoon Animals! [text]

Link to the App Store

What I liked My first impression when opening the app is how clear the set up it is, making it easy for little ones to navigate to the puzzle. The sound the effect are great way to encourage children, however I'm glad that they can be turned off for a learner who is distracted by them.
Improvements It's great that there are several levels however in order to use for children (with autism) in ABA programs I need to be able to select 4 pc, 6 pc etc rather than it randomly presenting 4 or 6 a the same stage. The same for the different types of puzzle pieces, classic edges or jagged.
General review Very clear app that is easy for young ones to navigate. Children will love the animated animals at the end. This is a fantastic way to bridge their understanding of parts becoming a whole picture. The sound effects are well done however can be easily turned off if needed.

PhotoGridPro v2.1 [text]

Link to the App Store

What I liked There are lots of photo editing apps, many of which I have tried, but I feel that the developer was able to create an app that is really simple and easy for anyone to use. The buttons are all very intuitive. The premade grids are handy for collages. The stickers are fun and are great for making speech bubbles. When editing with tools like whitening, I loved how the screen had a lighter shading where you were applying the feature so that you can tell where you have already have gone over the photo.
Improvements For each tool that you use for editing yo must tap 'apply' which seems like an unnecessary extra step. It would be faster to use if the edits automatically applied and then tere was an undo button. Instead, to not apply the edits you tap 'back'., which if it is tapped accidentally a second time means that 'cancel' Is tapped and you lose any effects you have been using with a photo.
Drawing has an erase tool but this section should bennift the most from an undo button.
General review Looking for a fast and easy to use app for photos so that they can quickly edit, create collages, and share on Facebook, Instagram or email? This app is a great option! Since its free you and can try it and see if you like it :) I will be paying the IAP to remove the adds for this handy little app.

Visual Routine v2.0.2 [text]

Link to the App Store

What I liked I like the overall look of Visual Routine. The nice and clean blackboard has some great detail in the wood borders and rounded corners to make it visually appealing. The buttons are well laid out. The sound effect are minimalistic, which I liked, but it was also nice to have the option to turn them off. Many children with special needs would benefit form the option to turn off “Show completed Routines” as it may help them focus on whats next.
Improvements For editing:
1) Confusing having to to add the items THEN click on picture, audio, or choice. Make separation cleared or faster adding method
2) Add pictures needs 'resize'. Cropped prior then some of my pics were rotated.
3) Routines /item need to be automatically saved. I tapped ‘back’ and lost everything.
4) Need to be able to re-order list. This is VERY important as life changes and need to be able to make changes without having to remake the list
5) Undo button - when I accidentally added a choice had to delete the item and redo it all.
*See general opinion for improvements on using app
General review Although the app looks good it wasn’t functional to use. Besides editing challenges, when closed it opens at the home screen & the schedule is restarted. This means it can’t be used with other apps like a child’s AAC.
Items don’t need to be done in order. Tapping anywhere on the large box checks it off or makes it disappear making it hard for students/teachers to tap the audio. We need to be able to quickly and easily add, edit, modify & use.

Weather and Clock for Kids [text]

Link to the App Store

What I liked I like the simple interface. The features are clearly laid out and easy to use. The illustrations are inviting and kid friendly. It was fun to switch to another location in the world and we could really conceptualize the time difference. Also great for students learning a different language.
Improvements I would like to be able to mute some of the sound, especially the clock ticking and crickets. When switching between locations there is a long gap with the pin wheel. It would be nice to see a map/globe of the different locations to add to visualizing the concepts. How the time was read wasn't accurate for how we read it. 00:17 was read zero hours, 17 minutes instead of 12:17. Would like to see a future update include Spanish.
General review Overall this is a cute and simple app that children can use to tell the time, check the weather as well as learn about time changes in different parts of the world. Great language practice. We liked seeing what the little mouse was holding and wearing which was a great way to start conversations about time and weather.

Calm Down Now [text]

Link to the App Store

What I liked We tested this app with teens and young adults on the autism spectrum. Everyone's favorite section is the Relaxing Sounds. It is a good tool to help an individual discover what sounds they find relaxing. It is nice that several sounds can be played at once so that a user could create their own sound combination.
Improvements This group of users could benefit from visuals in the other sections. Perhaps a calming picture to look at while they listen to the instructions. It would also be helpful to have more classic audio controls so that you can see how long the audio is, as well as rewind.
The timer in sounds just makes the app close. This was a bit confusing at first as we thought the app had crashed.
General review This app has some good tools for teens or adults who need help to calm down. The readers voice is soothing. The Relaxing Sounds are easy to use and since they have clear pictures, this section could used by someone who doesn't read or for younger individuals.

Jack and the Beanstalk a Mathematical Adventure - HD V1.1 [text]

Link to the App Store

What I liked Great idea to see a story include math and be able to functionally use math skills. Nice to see activities that use manipulative verse just math facts. The illustrations are nice and colorful. The story is clearly read. I like the controls on the story to be able to pause and replay it, skip pages etc.
Improvements The length of the story per illustration is a bit long, would like to see more pages / illustrations per section or animations in order to hold a child's interest. An option is needed to require completion or correct response of math activity before turning the page. May be nice to provide the answer or a hint after several incorrect answers.
General review Nice to see math incorporated into a well illustrated fairy tale. This would be good for grade 3 and up to review math concepts using manipulatives that relate to the story . It could be used in a classroom or with a parent or tutor as an adult is needed to check the child's work.