Incredible, comprehensive, amazing, dynamic – these are just some of the descriptive words that came to mind the first time I opened, Custom Boards – Premium by Smarty Ears! I can’t believe that I have gone this long without checking it out! Don’t make the same mistake I made, take a look for yourself at what you can do with this treasure. This has quickly become my top, must have application. Whether you work in a school setting or clinic, see clients individually or in classroom settings, you will want to get this app.
Basically, Custom Boards allows you to create whatever you need for classroom and individual work sessions for clients of all ages using any of the 11,000 “Smarty Ears” symbols, your own library photos, or Google search images! You can edit the text font, image size, and change the background colors for images to help them stand out more.
I thought the best way to review this app would be by sharing some of the samples that I created from each of the six categories. Before I got started, I watched the 20 minute tutorial that you can find in the support link of the application, which was both concise and informative. I also quickly saved my boards in the app and my photo library. If you want, you can email boards; however, the recipient must own the most recent version of Custom Boards in order to download the email.
The first custom board group is: Activities and Games. The selections here include:
Bingo, Articulation Sheet, Visual Scenes, Visual Scripts, Matching Cards, Lido, Simple Board Games, Dominoes, Which Ones go Together, Big Center, Connecting the Dots, and Two Sides. You can also select an array of bingo dauber boards from pumpkins to race cars that allow you to pick images for the circles. These are perfect for articulation or language drills as well as Clipper Chat games.
I created this pumpkin bingo dauber for a first grader working on final /g/. All I had to do was select the target sound and pick a word position and presto, picture choices magically appeared!
The next category is: Devices and Switches. Here, you get over 33 options from Go Talk to Buttons. I made the toy sheet pictured below for a private client using smarty symbols and Google search. Pretty sure that I developed this one with my mouth dropped open in perfect awe! Never have I created an overlay with such speed and ease!
Another custom board group is: Signs and Labels. In this group, you can create the following: Alert, Arrow, Attention, Billboard, Label Sets 1-3, One Way, Shapes, Signs 1-2, Speech Bubble, Traffic, and Yellow Sign. You could use a directional sign to show students where to head for activities like music or art. I created a labels board that goes with my Fall Bingo.
Next up is: Grids and Boards where you can select from 21 different boards ranging from two boxes to forty-two! I made a place mat one for food choices at meal times with older students.
The fifth group is: Schedules and Calendars. Choose from layouts that are Hourly, Monthly, Weekly, Orderly, First-Then, First-Then-Last, Five Weeks Calendars, Clocks, Events, and Meals. The samples below are a schedule for my private preschool sessions and a First-Then reinforcer for all ages.
Finally, there are 21 Worksheets to custom make activities. These include: Before and After, Cat Lovers, Dog Lovers, Dog Sheet, Follow the Worm, Geometry, Go Fishing, Greeting Card, Hearts, Mini Book, My Book, My Farm Animals, My Ocean Animals, Sequencing Cats, Sequencing Dogs, Sequencing Flowers, Sequencing Kids, Storyboard, Sorting, Four lines to One, and Titles and Lines. Try saying that all on one breath! As you can see, there is so much variety in the types of worksheets you can create from younger themes about animals to older ones for story writing. I created a couple sorting boards to work on colors and size concepts with my preschoolers and kindergarteners.
For even more information about this app, take a look at what the developers have to say:
Finalist of the About.com “Best App for Special Needs of 2012”.
Custom Boards Premium is an evidence based app designed to serve as a board and activity creator for speech therapists, teachers, special education and parents of children who need symbols to communicate and learn. Custom Boards includes over 11 thousand built in symbols from the Smarty Symbols library and the ability to add your own photos.
After you select your template, select the images and edit text for each symbol you are ready to PRINT, SAVE, or E-MAIL the final template to yourself. You can print directly from the device if you use an AirPrint ready printer. Custom Boards also allows you to keep your finalized templates organized into folders, which is great for teachers creating boards for multiple students. It is also possible to save templates to your computer in pdf. format via iTunes. Please visit our website for a tutorial. Custom Boards is the first and only app of its kind and a revolution for special education! It is available on iTunes for $29.99
About the Author
Nanette Cote, MA, CCC-SLP has her own speech-language practice, Therapediatrics. She is a pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist in Naperville, Illinois who was has been practicing Speech Pathology for close to two decades. Her blog, speech2me, was named one of the top Speech-Language blogs for 2012. For more information about this practitioner, please visit speech2me Blog or Facebook