Age level: Preschool, Early Elementary
Description: Available on the iPhone or the iPad, I prefer the larger screen for this app. This is a simple app that is beautifully designed to make music with each stroke of your learner’s “paintbrush.” Each color has a different range of notes assigned to it. When the learner moves his/her finger across the screen, the note gets higher or lower depending on the direction of the movement. The best part of this app is that after a painting is completed, the learner can save a picture of the completed painting and/or listen to a video of the music as the painting is recreated.
Skills & Modifications: This app can be very useful in teaching a range of skills for learners who are highly motivated by music. Pairing the music with these skills can be powerful and lead and to increased rate of acquisition for target skills.
– Color Identification – Many of my young learners are motivated enough by this app that I can use it to practice listener responding to instructions related to color. I might say, “Use the green brush,” then let them use it however they wish. For learners who are ready for more complex instruction, I can ask them to make the brush smaller or make the color lighter or darker.
– Imitation – There are so many ways to practice imitation with this app! You can have your learners imitate the sound you made, imitate the number of times you tapped the screen to make a blue circle appear, or imitate the order of colors you used to create an image. This is a fun and engaging way to maintain imitation skills for young learners.
– Tracing – For early learners who need work in tracing and are highly motivated by music, this is a really fun way to practice. One of my learners, in particular, was very excited when he traced my line and heard the same music I had just created by making the line.
– Patterns – This app is especially useful for teaching patterns to learners who may be struggling with the visual skill but are skilled with recognizing audio patterns or are highly motivated by music.
– Expressive Language – Watching the video after a painting is completed is highly motivating for many learners. This can provide a great opportunity for describing what is happening using adjectives related to color, shape, and size, as well as describing the order of the steps used to create the painting using words such as “first,” “then,” and “next.”
Pros: I cannot emphasize enough how useful it is to be able to pair music with the skills listed above for young learners with autism.
Cons: The app is not perfect. Sometimes the video playback will skip ahead. It seems this happens more frequently when the video is longer. Also, sometimes when you are creating the painting and you only make a dot on the iPad it does not make the sound associated with it. Hopefully over time they will add updates to address these glitches.
Ideas for extending the lesson: Because the skills listed above are essential building blocks for many, many skills the learner will be exposed to over time, it is very important to generalize the tasks to other materials very quickly. (For example, it is not valuable for my learner to only be able to trace lines within this particular app!) For patterns, imitation, and color recognition, you can practice it with musical instruments (such as bells or maracas) to continue the music theme; but you should also incorporate items unrelated to music.
Cost: $2.99 You should invest in this game if: your learner is highly motivated by music, you are a teacher with learners who need to generalize the skills listed above, you are a parent seeking apps you can use to interact with your child.
ABLLS: B25, D13, D17, D22, G13, S3
VB-MAPP: VP-MTS 15, Writing 12