Monday, September 2, 2013

Answering Wh-Questions - There's an App for That: Question It


QuestionIt is an amazing app - even if I do say so myself.  Fortunately, other people are saying it, too.  I developed QuestionIt from a therapy activity I had done with kids with autism for many years with great success.
Parents were always telling me to publish it.  They all said that multiple therapists and teachers had tried to teach their kids how to answer Wh-questions - all without success.  Until I came along, with my bags of color coded pictures and systematic errorless learning.  Of course, I had no time to even think about what I would need to do to publish this as a marketable tool, so it just never happened.
But then the iOS revolution came along.  Speech and language therapy apps were coming out and I decided this was the time and this was the format.  I found a wonderful team of programers - Ditty Labs - right here in San Diego.  They persevered with me and my lack of technological savvy (once you take me away from AAC, technology sometimes mystifies me).
SO.  QuestionIt.  Question It  (?it) is the app for teaching students with autism and other significant language disorders how to answer Wh- questions.  Four activities use systematic fading of color cues and errorless learning techniques to teach students what type of word answers which type of question.  Data management feature allows speech pathologists and teachers to track data for individual students; providing accuracy percentages for each type of question in any given session.  The SymbolStix icons used are familiar to many students who use visual cues and symbol-based communication.

Activity 1 asks students to sort words into categories by the type of question they answer.  “Boy” is a person; a person answers ,”Who.”  Full color cue, partial color cue and no color cue levels are available.  Hundreds of words are provided for sorting people, places, times and actions.  Errorless learning is used; allowing only the correct response to be registered.  Verbal feedback is consistent.  Fireworks are fun motivators.

Activities 2 and 3 present sentences and ask Wh- questions in random order.  While Activity 2 uses the same sentence structure for all sentences (Who- is Doing What- Where- and When?), Activity 3 offers variations on the word order.  More than 4,000 sentences are available, minimizing student memorization and acclimation. Activity 2 has 3 levels of play; full and partial color cue and no cue.  Activity 3 has only partial color cue and no cue levels.

Activity 4 presents three loosely related sentences as a paragraph, continuing to ask questions in random order.  Activity 4 has 2 levels; partial color cue and no cue.  Again, hundreds of items are available for practice.
Overall, there are more than 10,000 questions in this app.

In all levels, errorless learning is provided.  Only one response is accepted and moves the student on to the next item.  Therapists and parents can control the pace of play by using the arrow to move to the next items after any discussion they want to have.  Every 5 correct responses provides fireworks, which grow in intensity as more and more correct responses are amassed. 
Question it is available only for iPad.
You can find QuestionIt in the app store here.  Check out the website here. http://languagelearningapps.com
And, if you prefer the good old fashioned paper activities, you can purchase the Wh-Program materials from me here. http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Wh-Question-Program-Bundle-809775 


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