November 12, 2016

App Review: Leaping Leo

Hi, all! I am here today to introduce you to an awesome app called Leaping Leo by Outloud Oy. It’s recommended for use in speech therapy and special education, but honestly, all children can benefit from and enjoy a game such as this.

First "World", Levels 1,2,3

Leaping Leo is a voice activated game. The purpose of this game is to use your voice to control a character of your choice, and help him gather coins. This game currently has 6 themed levels, but is advertised to have more levels added in the future. The free version of this app contains the first level, and level 1 of the second "world". To access the other levels and "worlds" you must make an in-app purchase of $3.99.

Second "World" Levels 1,2,3

How to Use this App for Articulation: 
Using this app, you can practice some speech sounds for articulation practice, especially at the isolation and syllable level. Please keep in mind, not ever sound can be practiced with this app. However, vowels and fricatives can be practiced using this app. "Shorter" sounds, such as /p/, /b/, /k/, /g/, etc. are not easily used with this app because you do need to be able to prolong the sound long enough to gather coins throughout the level. 



How to Use this App for Language:
I'll be honest, it's a little tricky to use this app for language, but it can be done! You can talk about the things you saw in each "world", as each one is based on a different theme. Additionally, you can use problem solving to discuss what you could do differently in order to accomplish a level. Overall, I do believe this app has better uses than just for language.


How to Use this App for Fluency: 
Use this app to practice strategies such as continuous phonation or prolonged syllables. Each level is fairly short, therefore, you may choose to practice one strategy per level. One level has only a few opportunities to use your voice to move the character. That being said, if you were practicing continuous phonation, you wouldn't have to continue the phonation for the entire level. You could phonate, stop, phonate, stop and phonate again before the end of the level. This makes the app more practical for practicing these strategies, as you do not have to be making sound during the entirety of the level.




How to Use this App for Reinforcement:
Each level is fairly short. For children who need multiple instances of reinforcement during a session, this app would be perfect, as each level wouldn't take up a ton of precious therapy time. Your student could practice 30 repetitions of a word, complete a level, then go back to therapy. Or, you could pair this with my Speech Therapy Reward Cards. Once your student has received 5 punches on his punch card, he has the option of choosing 10 minutes on the iPad from the reward choices. This app is a favorite by some of my students, and they love choosing this as their reward.



How to Use this App for Early Communicators:
This app can be used for those who are just beginning to find a voice. It's interesting for the child to see movement on the screen that is correlated to their vocalizations. It's also a constant and immediate reinforcement for making noise!





Pros:
  • Multiple uses to use for all domains of therapy.
  • Free version and affordable paid version.


Cons:
  • If using as reinforcement while other students are in the room, it could be distracting as you must use your voice to activate the game.
  • Calibrating so that it works exactly as you want can be tricky. Some levels were even hard for me to win because of the sensitivity (I keep mine at 32). However, work with the calibration a bit and it works great! 


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