Friday, July 20, 2012

iPhone app: Oh, My Word! 2

Oh My Word! 2 App
OhMyWord2 app in iTunes (free)

What it is: Dubbed a prettier and more interesting version of hangman, this is a game where you guess a common 5 letter word based on being given two words that would flank it if listed in alphabetical order. You enter a 5 letter word as your guess, and if it's not the target word, your guess replaces one of the flanking clue words, getting you closer to the target. For example in the screen image below, the target word if listed alphabetically would be between GYROS and OFFER. So the hidden word must start with G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N or O. Put in a few guesses of words starting with these letters, and you narrow it down to a word that in alphabetic order would be between LIMPS and LINKS and must therefore start with LI- (see screen image 2, below).

Screen Image 1
There are several levels at which this game can be played, including a relaxed (called "classic") un-timed easy level where you are given 50 guesses, and the goal is to see how many words you can find within that number of guesses. There's also hints where you can request to be shown one of the letters in the hidden word. After playing this game several times (ok, a whole lot of times... this is a fun game!) I can attest to the fact that the target words indeed are common.

How we can use it in Tx: Access to an un-timed level with truly common words makes this a useful Tx tool. Definitions do not enter into the game. It is more about word recognition and letter sequencing in alphabetic order. Word-finding in the traditional sense normally involves coming up with the word for a specific item, and as such the definition is an integral part. Coming up with words that start with a specific letter (or sequence of letters) is a skill that combines language and reasoning, but still relies on word familiarity and ability to access stored words. For my acute pts with Aphasia I developed a mini word recognition game: I would put two cards with consonants in front of a pt, for example "p" and "g" and then give them cards with all 5 vowels, and ask them to choose the vowels that would form a real word if placed between the the two consonants; so in this example 'e' (peg), 'i' (pig), and 'u' (pug). And I'd ask the pt to also tell me what each word means (often they would choose a vowel that does not make a word, and realize so when they couldn't come up with a definition). It was a multi-step simple word finding activity that first required to recognize the word, then access its meaning. In the same manner for this app, since the words are common, supplemental tasks involving word meanings can be incorporated for those pts who need it.
Screen Image 2

Goals we can target with this app: Word-finding and naming, language, reasoning, sequencing (since alphabetical order plays a large role in this game), question/answer goals (simple y/n where you ask the pt if this letter comes before that one, or if this word precedes or follows the other in the dictionary). For verbal expression deficits reading the words aloud could also be added, incorporating apraxia, dysarthria, voice, intelligibility goals as part of a fun activity.

Some specific examples:

1. For a pt working on using intelligibility strategies at word-level, this game can provide a nice set of short words to practice strategies on. Many of the words have consonant clusters, which provide great practice for exaggerating movements. And since this is a fun thinking activity, it is easier to gauge level of cuing needed to use the intelligibility strategies at word-level (since usually, a word-level task involves a rote list of words and the drill-like manner of the exercise often reminds the pt to use strategies; not that it's a bad thing to have this built-in reminder--in fact it is a great way to get the strategies practiced--but it's nice to have a halfway point where the exercise is still word-level, but the focus is elsewhere and strategy use is less in the forefront of one's mind.

2. For a pt with sequencing goals, this game is a great practice involving alphabetic order. If coming up with words is too difficult for the pt, the ST can focus only on the alphabetic sequence of letters and make word suggestions for the pt to respond. If the two flanking words are GHOST and ICONS, for example, ask the pt what letters come between G and I. If that's too hard, make it a Y/N question: Does K come between G and I? Does H? Then ascertain which letters the target word can start with (in this case G, H, I). Now say you've entered HORSE, and now the flanking words are HORSE and ICONS. What letters can our word start with? (H or I). If it's an H word, what 2nd letter can it be? (O-Z) If it's an I word, what 2nd letter can it be? (A-C). Anyway, you get the picture, just focus on sequences and then suggest the words to guess with.

3. For a pt with higher level language goals, just play the game. Add/reduce cuing as needed to come up with word guesses, and if relevant to pt's goals, ask for definitions of all suggested words.

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