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Fun With Directions HD by Hamaguchi Apps for Speech, Language and Auditory Development ($9.99 at time of review for HD/ iPad; $9.99 iPhone, .99 for Lite versions)
Reviewed by A. Taylor SLPAs

Fun with Directions HD is one of five apps from Hamaguchi Apps for Speech, Language and Auditory Development ( Fun With Directions, More Fun With Directions, Picture the Sentence, First Phrases, and First Words International). Fun With Directions HD is an app designed to target listening skills, while incorporating ten basic concepts. The settings also allow text to be turned on/voice turned off, to practice early reading skills. Again, flexibility is a main feature of this app- this is very customizable to the needs of each user. 

There are two features I particularly love about this app.  One is the simple cause and effect activities available in Level 1. This is wonderful for my young special education students who are working on imitating and following basic instructions.  The child simply needs to touch the object to see it do what the direction asked.  So even if they don’t yet comprehend what “Close the box” means, for example, the activity will provide a model of this happening. Many of these simple directions have a fun element of surprise added as well. For example, when a child touches an oven to “Open the oven” there is a tray of cookies inside.  The next time, it may be a loaf of bread inside instead.  Other animations include animals behind doors or in a drawer etc.
Another really neat feature is  “Superstar Directions”, where the child has to recall the directions given and repeat them verbally through a recording button.  The child’s recall of the directions can then be compared to the actual directions, and rerecorded if necessary.  A similar recording feature is found in First Phrases as well, and is a big hit with my students! Superstar Directions pop up randomly, but can be turned off through the Settings.


Features
Listening Skills and more-
(Measure comprehension with or without visual cues, text or voice commands to get an accurate picture of comprehension difficulties across modalities)
Flexibility and Scaffolding to accommodate various learners
Ability to verbally recall directions and record  in own voice/compare

Simple Cause and Effect Activities at Level 1
Basic concepts: Give, Touch, Open, Close, Color, Erase, Top, Bottom, Middle, Push
Great for English Language Learners as well
Settings


Main Screen Tabs

From the Main Screen you can access Play, Users, Settings, Info, and More Apps.

Play
Press the green Play button to start a session without specifying a User .


Users
Add new Users or begin activity through each User’s unique settings here. Set up the custom setting when entering a new User. If you are changing settings, you could also set up a new profile for an existing user by inputting a new name Student Name, Level 3, Text On etc. You can delete old profiles you are no longer using by tapping the orange Delete button below each saved profile. There is no saved data in this app, just profiles. You can also adjust settings through the Settings button on the main screen.


Settings
When you press Settings, you will see all the settings you can adjust, plus a Play button at the bottom middle of the screen. The settings are Levels- Easy, Medium or Hard, Text On/Off, Voice Commands On/Off, Superstar Directions On/Off, Concepts- Random or Custom. (See Settings Tab below for more details.) Once you have selected the settings you want, press Play to begin a session You can also bypass this step by selecting custom settings for each User through the Users button on the main screen.

Info
Before using the app, read the Info button for methodology and helpful tips.


More Apps
This will take you to the App Store to view other Hamaguchi Apps.


Settings Tab:

Difficulty Level:
Easy
( For Toddlers and children with emerging language skills)
One simple direction is given, i.e. Touch the frog.
The field of choices are simplified. (For the instruction What’s on the bottom shelf? Put it in the basket. there are 3 objects to choose from, one on each shelf. In another direction, Put the block in the bottom box, there are simply three empty squares, with one block to the right of the squares.)

Intermediate
Slightly more complex, descriptive directions are used, i.e  Give the boy something that goes on a foot.
The field of choices is increased.  (For Erase the big blue ball.  5 items are displayed, sharing similar features: big blue dog, little blue ball, big blue ball, big red dog, little pink house)
Advanced

More complex directions are given, often with several concepts embedded, i.e. Give the girl with the red pigtails a little blue book.
The field of choices is increased.  (For Touch a musical instrument that goes under your chin, and uses a bow to go back and forth on the strings. 5 items are displayed: frog, sheep, car, lion, violin.)

Text On/Off

Turn the text during Direction presentation On/Off
Voice Commands On/Off
Turn the voice commands On or Off.  If you turn off the voice commands, you could use Text On to work on reading comprehension.
Superstar Directions On/Off
Superstar Directions allow the child to record the directions heard in his/her voice and compare.  You can turn this feature On/Off here, or also through the Preferences tab during game play.

Concepts- Random or Custom
Random means the type of direction will be picked randomly from the 10 concepts available (Give, Touch, Open, Close, Color, Erase, Top, Bottom, Middle, Push). You can check as few as one concept or as many as 9 concepts through the Custom tab. 

Using Fun With Directions HD
You should either select a user, or choose the Settings you want before game play, however there are a few settings you can adjust from the game screen.  Through the buttons at the top of the screen you can access Home, New Concept, or PreferencesHome will take you out of the activity and return you to the main screen.  New Concept will change the concept you are working on. If you only choose one concept to work on through the Custom button in Settings, during play the purple New Concept button at the top of the screen will be grayed out, showing there is no other concept selected.  Preferences will not allow you to adjust the level of play, but you can turn Text instructions, Voice Commands, or Superstar Directions On/Off here.
The bottom of the screen has two buttons as well, New Direction and Hear AgainNew Direction will give you a new set of directions within the same concept of the directions previously shown.  This is the button you use to advance to a new set of directions after completing a set, but you can also use it to skip a set of directions as well.  If you need to hear the direction again, tap the Hear Again button.  Alternatively, the directions will be voiced again if the user hasn’t responded to the direction after a while.
Sample sentences from each Level:
Easy
Color the ball. (Line drawing of ball is on the left.  A single red crayon is to the right.)
Give the girl a truck. (Drawing of a girl with hands out is on the left. On the right are three choices: spoon, truck, sock.)
Put the house in the middle box.  (Three empty boxes are on left.  On the right is one house.)
Intermediate
Close the big green window.  (4 windows are shown: small yellow window, small brown window, big green window, big blue window)
Color the small one that you see at night, up in the sky, purple.  (5 line drawings are shown to the left: small star, small cat, big dog, hat, big star.  To the right are five crayons: blue, purple, pink, brown, gray)
Use your red pencil to erase the small pet that likes bones and barks. (5 drawings are shown to the left: little red car, small orange cat, bug yellow dog, big blue house, little yellow dog. To the right are five pencils: pink, yellow, red, purple, gray)
Advanced
In the bottom row, find the last door. ( 6 differently colored doors are shown in 2 rows of 3)
Look for something to sleep on and put it in the box on the bottom. (three empty squares are shown to the left, user must scroll through ten objects on the right: cookie, house, ball, car, bed, carrot, chair, cup, apple, airplane.
Open the middle drawer of the pink dresser.  (4 dressers with a top, middle and bottom drawer are shown: blue dresser, brown dresser, green dresser, pink dresser.)

Superstar Directions (Record and Compare)
(Example shown is at Advanced Level)
A direction is given: Look for something to throw from the bottom shelf and then put it in the basket.  (three shelves with five similarly featured items on each shelf- items are identical but placed in a different line up on each shelf: car, chair, ball, hat, flower; ball, flower, chair, car, hat; hat, chair, ball, flower, car.   A basket is to the right of the objects.
The user selects a correct item and a ding is heard; the screen changes.
The user is prompted, Tell me what did you have to do?
The screen shows a record symbol, with a start button below.
The user touches the start button, and verbally recalls the directions, “Look for something to throw from the bottom shelf and then put it in the basket.”
After recording is done, a new screen will show three buttons: Listen to your answer, Try again, and Correct Answer.  The user can cycle through these choices as many times as needed.
When the user is ready, he/she can move on to the next task by pressing the small blue arrow at the top right of the screen.

Wish List
( I always have one!)

Wait no data tracking? Oh, you’ve spoiled us with Picture the Sentence and First Words International!  I would love to see this added to this app as well. For better accessibility,   I would love to have the option to set whether pictures are dragged to the picture frame, or simply tapped.  (Many of the simple cause/effect tasks in Level 1 do not require dragging, but as you go up in levels and choices, a dragging motion is required more often.)  I would also like to control how often the user gets to do a Superstar direction.  It seems to change from session to session- sometimes every 10 responses, sometimes every 6 etc.


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