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Review: Skill Tracker Pro


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Liz and Steve Maher are the parents of a child with autism and the authors of Behaviour Tracker Pro, an application that registers frequencies and lengths of behaviors (already reviewed in iAutism). They now designed Skill Tracker Pro, a useful application that helps the professionals perform all the tasks of registering and analyzing the results of teaching children with autism in an easier and more efficient way.

The most important benefit the STP application provides is having more time to dedicate to teaching, since it requires less time to register the skills and to make graphics.

Configuration
When you open the application you will find a list of six elements. On the bottom part you will find four more, displayed horizontally.

The first step consists on editing the profiles of the observers/therapists and the clients/children you are going to work with. To do so, click on “People” on the upper part, which will provide you with the option of editing the clients’ or the observers’ profiles. The application allows you to edit an unlimited number of people.

Go back to “Home” by clicking on “Probe” on the bottom left corner. Go to “Skills and Prompts” and a new tab will be opened once you click on “Skill Library”. This contains a list of the skills that can be worked with. Some of the skills appear by default, but you can modify them, erase them or add new ones. Bear in mind that the list of skills you make will be the common one to work with all the children’s profiles you have previously edited. You will find the explanation on how to make the learning individual later on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By choosing any of the skills you will find a new list, ordered alphabetically, including all the demands that can be asked to work with that skill. For instance, if you choose “imitation” from the list of skills you can choose “touch nose” from the list of demands. You can also edit the list of demands, erase or add new ones.

Making learning individual
Once the preliminary setup is concluded, you can individualize the learning of the child you are interested in working with.

Go to “People” and choose the name of the child you want to work with. A new tab, in which you can establish different parameters, will open.

Start by opening the child’s Skills List. Clicking on the ‘+’ symbol located on the upper right corner will allow you to choose the skills you want to work with that child. Afterwards, you can add the units you want to work with to each of the skills you selected.

Once you finish the “Skill List”, you can make the set up for the remaining parameters:

  • “Daily Probes”: number of times you want the child to finish each of the units.
  • “Daily Pass Threshold”: number of times the child must finish the unit successfully so that it is considered an adequate performance during that day.
  • “Acquired Skill Threshold”: number of consecutive days the child must finish the unit successfully so it is considered learnt.
  • “Retention Check”: it allows you to ask again for a unit after it was considered learnt.
  • “Notes”: you can write any notes or observations you want to bear in mind when working with the child.

Back to “Skills and Prompts”, under “Skill Library”, you can find four other elements. In the first two you can describe the level of learning the child has at the moment you are working with him, and you can appreciate the difference between the level of the skill and the level of the demand. As usual, even if there are parameters set by default, you can erase them, edit them or add new ones.

In the following element you can register the frequency of the demands from the child. These can be, for example, classified in caused or spontaneous. This can be edited according to the professional’s needs and interests.

Finally, in “Skills and Prompts”, you can find “Settings”. This allows you to be aware of the child’s level of achievement and indicates if there are difficulties in learning. For instance, if the child has answered wrongly 20% of the times, a message pops up indicating what difficulties there are, so that the professional can detect them and work on them.

Moreover, if the child answers wrongly to a demand that he had previously acquired, the application itself marks that item to teach it again to the child.

The setting can be the same for all the children or you can personalize it for each of them. Furthermore, you can edit the percentage of incorrect answers that makes the warning message appear. You can also choose if you want the message to refer to all the learning in general or for it to be separated for each skill.

The beginning of learning
Once the general and individual setups are finished, you can start using the application.

Choose the option “Cold Probe for Skill” from the main menu and the application lets you select the child and the observer who will lead the session. A list with all the units previously chosen for that child appears. This way it informs you what skill and what unit you have to work with. It also indicates you, in brackets, the number of times you have to ask for that item that certain day.

Once you have that list you have two options to proceed: you can either choose the demand to work with the child or click on”Start”, which will make each of the demands appear randomly.

Whatever option you choose, you will get to a tab containing the number of consecutive days that the unit has been worked with, the number of demands performed from that unit, and the number of times that they were successfully achieved. Below these three parameters you can find two big buttons: the green one says “yes” (which you will click if the child answers correctly), and the red one says “no” (which you will click if the child answers incorrectly).

By choosing the second option from the main menu, “Cold Probe for Mands”, you can do the same thing than with the first option, but you will work with the demands previously selected on “Mands”.

If you continue the order of the main menu, you will find “Rate of Manding”, an option that allows us to register the frequency a certain behaviour is performed. With this option, after choosing the client and the observer, you will find a tab with a chronometer on the upper part and two buttons indicating “Start” and “Reset” on the bottom.

In that same tab you will find a list, which can be edited in “Skills and Prompts”. On this list you can include variables of the behaviour you want to register. For instance, if we want to register the amount of verbalizations a child does in one hour, you can categorize them into “spontaneous” (if the child does it without the adult asking him to) or “caused” (if the child does it when the adult asks him to).

To use this option you have to press the “Start” button and the chronometer will start working. From then on, every time the child does a verbalization you can press either “spontaneous” or “caused”. The application will keep count of what you are registering.

Other options of STP
Besides all the registering, Skill Tracker Pro has other useful options. One of the most important ones is that, once the register is done in different sessions, the application itself can show you graphics of both the child’s performance in each of the skills and the frequency of behaviours.

You also have the option of recording video. You can instantly record any situation, for example, an inappropriate behaviour. The limitation of this option is that you have an iPad 1 (with no camera) you will capture only the voices, and not having the images as well might be of little use.

Assessment
Given its function, structure and complexity, Skill Tracker Pro is the ideal application to facilitate the registering for a professional who works on a cognitive behavioural treatment. It is, without a doubt, one of the most complete applications that registers behaviours.

The big advantage of STP is the variability of behaviours you can register: new learning, saving the acquired skills, length of certain behaviours, frequency of specific behaviours, etc. This versatility allows the professional to register in an easy and fast way, which leads to having more time to work with the child. Time is also saved because the STP makes the graphics instantly. STP also shares the options to export data into Excel or to a web portal with Behavior Tracker Pro, as discussed in the review of this application.

The application is so complete that using it might be tedious at first, especially if you are not fluent in English, because it is only available in that language. However, once you test it, you read the instructions and you get some practice, it is a very useful application.

-Anna Deusedes is Coordinator at Fundación Planeta Imaginario. Translated by Tammy Illes (tamarailles@gmail.com).

Skill Tracker Pro 1.1.3
Links: iTunes
Company: Data Makes the Difference, LLC
Languages: English
Funcions: Professional data collection app for registering behaviors and intervention data.
Versions: Only for iPhone.
Price: $29.99 / €23.99

 


Review: iBiomed


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iBiomed is an iPhone, iPod touch and iPad application which is used to organize the medical information or anything related to one or more person with special needs health (actually, of anyone). That includes medicines, treatments, tests, reminders of any kinds, etc.

iBiomed was created by Florence Iwegbue and Kwame Iwegbue for giving support to the multiple needs of their children who have autism, asthma, allergies, etc.

Treatments

In the Treatments section is where we have to register the information. It can be on supplements, medications, diets, tests or of alternative treatments. In the case of the supplements and medications there can be information registered that describes its functions, the amount that should be taken per dose, the number of doses, the frequency with which it should be taken and with which it is taken, etc. Each medicine or supply can have a reminder if needed. It is also possible to access a record which tells you, for example, if a certain medicine has been taken the number of times planned.

About the diets, iBiomed can register several, describe each one and, if necessary, the user can activate an alarm which reminds him the established alimentary plan.

Finally in the Treatment’s section, information about tests that have been taken or that are going to be taken, its results and reminders, can be included. That way all the information about medical results can be stored by dates.

Summary

In iBiomed’s Summary section you can see all data of the Treatments section (once it has been introduced) organized as a list. Besides, in this section, information about diagnosis and allergies can be added. The allergies can be registered and can appear in a visible way (before the medicines) so they can be taken in account at any moment.

Log Book

This section has a history created from the information registered in the Treatment’s section. For that purpose, a date can be picked, it can be seen in a more general way (for example, how many times a medicine hasn’t been taken since it was first started) or can be viewed as a list. Also, if a medicine registered in the Treatments section has to be taken, it’s in this section in which it can be noted down. So it is registered if it has or if it hasn’t been taken.

Evaluations

In this iBiomed section, data which wants to be tracked down can be registered according to the established criteria. For example, sleep can be registered and it can have different parameters like its duration, its quality, etc. The scale can be from 1 to 10. For example, if the person hasn’t slept well we assign the number 1, if she hasn’t slept enough hours a 4 or 5, etc. If an evaluation has a numeric number, iBiomed automatically creates a graph with all the data, so in a specific period of time it can be seen if there has been any evolution, if a medicine that the person has just started to take is having the right effects, or if it is having an impact in this person’s behavior, etc.

Journal

iBiomed also allows to have a journal. In it you can note down information that doesn’t have to have a routine tracking, and as it is registered by dates, what was written in a certain date can be found just by entering that date. But this is the only way to find things in the journal, because it is not possible to find the entries based on its content.

Forum

If there is any doubts or questions about anything related to the use of iBiomed, autism or certain medications, there is also a forum in which different people who take part in it can solve them.  Several people can comment in each question or doubt that is written, and the user can interact on-line with these people, or can solve other people’s doubts.

Valoración

iBiomed is an application that can be very useful for those people that are responsible for the health of one or more people. And it is especially useful for those who are in charge of an autistic person, since this application allows having near his or her medical information, register his or her behavior (like sleep or hunger), and automatically creates a chart out of this introduced information. It can also be used as an agenda, because it can warn of a medical appointment or when a medication has to be taken, for example.

If the user has access to the Internet in its iPod touch, iPad or iPhone he or she can take part of a forum in which other users make questions about different topics related to this application, medicines, allergies, etc. This forum makes easier the communication between the company and the user.

Right now, the download of iBiomed is free, which is certainly an additional attractive of this application.

-Maria Pericas

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iBiomed 1.5.4

Web: http://ibiomed.me/

Company: MyRosters LLC

Languages: English

Functions: Register and organization of treatments (medications, diets, tests, etc.) and tracking of the behavior.

iPhone/iPod touch version: Yes.

iPad version: No

Price: Free.

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Review: Behavior Tracker Pro


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The origin of this application lies in the parents of a girl that was diagnosed with autism. They began to learn the ABA therapy, to implement it and, as a result, they realized that it was very hard to collect and analyze data of the results consistently. With a masters degree and a BCBA (“standard” certification as ABA therapist) in the case of the mother, and years of experience in computer science in the case of the father, and with the help of a software developer, Behavior Tracker Pro was born.

In brief, as its name suggests, this application allows collecting and displaying graphically behavior data, so it addresses parents, teachers and therapists. As it happens with other similar applications (see the review of AutismTrack in this blog), Behavior Tracker Pro is initially designed for people with autism, but in practice it can be used to record behaviors of any person.

Three types of data

Behavior Tracker Pro has four main options, accessible via icons displayed on the bottom of the screen. The initial, “Collect Data”, can record data in three different ways.

The first way allows you to collect data related to the frequency and duration of behaviors. First you have to choose the person you want to record the behaviors (the “Client”) and the person who is registered (the “Observer”) by selecting both from two existing lists or by adding new subjects.

Once they are selected, a time counter appears on the screen which can be started by double touching on the green zone and stopped with another double-touch on the primary zone, now red. At any time you can also record a video stream (if the device that you are using has a camera). After stopping the time counter, a screen with a list of behaviors appears so you can select one or more, and immediately you return to the screen with the green background to start logging the following behavior. To exit this mode of data entry, you just triple touch the blue zone.

The second way to collect data, “ABC Data” (from “Antecedents-Behaviors-Consequences”) also begins by selecting the two people involved and then moving on to the screen of the time counter, but when a behavior is finished the application shows an additional screen where you can select one or more antecedents (such as “Wants something”) from a list that, again, can be extended at the same time. Then, another screen allows you to select behaviors (such as “Crying”) and consequences (such as “Block access to reinforce”).

These first two options are therefore very similar, but with the difference that the latter can record two more details about each behavior. Why, then, the first way? For those cases in which you only want to record the number of times and duration of a predefined behavior, for example because you are making a very focused exercise on a particular behavior.

The third way, “Take High Frequency Behavior Data”, starts by choosing the client and the observer and one or more behaviors. From there, a screen shows the list of behaviors to be controlled and allows to increment their respective counters by touching them while time counter is shown on the top.

So, for example, you can record the number of inappropriate behaviors and spontaneous game on his own initiative at a time, but you can not record the duration of each occurrence. Since the list of behaviors may exceed that can be viewed on the screen, Behavior Tracker Pro allows you to sort the list at will, for example, placing the most common behaviors on the top, and move up and down trough the list.

Analyzing Data

The “Analyze Data” tab allows you to work with data from a particular person, being able to choose the total data or only the data of one day, and even within that day the data of each specific behavior that was recorded.

Behavior Tracker Pro will display a summary of the entered data and, if this is a group of data (a day with various behaviors or several days), allow you to access a linear graph of them, from which data can be delimited so, for example you can decide if the behaviors are to be displayed individually or grouped, adjust the x-axis, show a frequency (number of times) or duration graph, etc.

In case of long graphs, you can move along them by scrolling the screen left or right. You can also touch a point on the graph to see the details of the associated data, delete the lines and draw at will by connecting the points that interest you more, or display the legends of the plotted data.

You can even add “phase changes” on specific dates or at certain times inside a day to see in the graph a vertical blue line that separates, for example, a change in therapy that we want to study from the point of view of the number of improper behavior before and after implementing that change.

The options of graphical representation of Behavior Tracker Pro are more than powerful, especially if we consider that the application is designed for the iPhone / iPod touch. For the more demanding users or simply for those who want to make another kind of analysis or long-term record, the application can export data as CSV or XML files via email (formats for working with spreadsheets, databases, etc.). You simply select the option and all the data associated with the current graph is exported. (And if you have selected all the data for the graph, this implies exporting all data associated with a person). You can also export an image of the screen to the device’s photo library or send it directly by email.

Other Features

The “Manage People” tab shows the list of “Clients” and “Observers” so you can edit each one of them. For each person you can register a name, the school, his/her age and a free field for notes, more than enough to associate the data to a concrete person.

The last tab, “Manage ABC’s” is devoted to manage the lists of antecedents, behaviors and consequences, adding and deleting concepts and determining the order of each one within those lists.

The main menu also has a help option which basically leads to the developer’s website and also allows you to export the latest data. Regarding the Web, it shines because it is very complete, including an extensive documentation of the application, demonstration videos, a forum for the users, etc.

Other services

On the website you can also purchase an iPod touch preloaded with the application and accompanied by some extras (portable charger, carry case, two year warranty, telephone and email support, etc.), although the most recent iPod model is not available. The company even offers consulting and training services, online or onsite.

But perhaps the most interesting service is the Team Web Portal that allows you to transfer data to a secure data repository of the company for storage and analysis. Different people who are part of a team can provide data on a single “client”, so this portal facilitates the management of data collected by all team members. Each team has an owner who can invite others to participate, enlists the “clients”, adjust the data collected, etc.

Once loaded, the data can be analyzed graphically. You can also add videos (recorded from inside the application or not) and documents related to a “client”, keeping the portal an history of all the versions of the documents, and allowing to mark them as only-readable files. Finally, it is possible to establish a Web videoconference in which participants can view documents or graphics and can join the conference by calling to a phone number and using a code.

Team Web Portal costs $ 24.99 per month at least, existing volume licensing discounts and contracts for six or twelve months that are cheaper. This is not inexpensive, but the services joined together in one portal include many tools that can help a team of therapists work actually as a team and go far beyond file sharing services on the Internet such as “dropbox.” In any case, the service can be used free for 30 days.

Rating

Another interesting aspect of Behavior Tracker Pro is its multiplatform support, since the application is available for Apple devices and for those based on Android (Google’s operating system and the main competitor right now to the Apple system), Blackberry (another very popular system for advanced mobile devices) and Palm webOS (ditto). For Apple devices, the company also offers Skill Tracker Pro, an application focused on recording data of therapies (objectives, results of the exercises, etc.).

There is no specific version for the iPad. In fact, for data collection, a device such as the iPhone or the iPod touch seems to me much more practical but, on the other side, to analyze data, the largest screen of the iPad would be appreciated.

The application is only in English, but since the list of behaviors, antecedents and consequences is editable, the application is relatively simple in its operation and, after all, it is designed for parents and therapists, the language itself is not a great barrier. Although, I would like to see versions in other languages, of course!

Seeing how complete is the application, its multiplatform support, the wide range of services, etc., the feeling after analyzing Behavior Tracker Pro is that it is a fully professional application.

-Francesc Sistach

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Behavior Tracker Pro 2.0.3

Web: www.behaviortrackerpro.com

Developer: Marz Consulting Inc.

Languages: English.

Functions: Behavior data collect and graphical analysis.

iPhone/iPod touch version: Yes (2.03)

iPad version: No.

Other versions: Android, Blackberry, Palm webOS.

Price: $29,99 / €23,99

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Review: AutismTrack


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HandHold Adaptive, LLC, founded in 2008 by the family of a 4-year-old boy with autism, is well known by another application, iPrompts, whose review I plan to publish in a few weeks.

With AutismTrack, launched this year, their developers offer a journaling tool to track interventions, behaviors and symptoms. Basically, the application allows a caregiver to enter, for one or more persons, a series of daily data and notes, ranging from having taken a medicine or having completed some exercises or therapies to considering whether they have shown or not a particular behaviour, such as eye contact. The type of data to be entered is customizable, making AutismTrack a useful tool for any disorder, disease, etc., although the potential data to be entered by default is related to autism.

AutismTrack, developed for the iPhone and the iPod touch, works well in an iPad using the compatibility mode (which amplifies the image). Upon entering, the application requires you to register with an email and a password because, as I will explain later, AutismTrack stores all data on a server on the Internet, so it requires the user’s approval before proceeding.

First, help

Once started, I was positively surprised. I have seen many applications and games that do not include any help or explanation on how they work, even on their website, while AutismTrack has a complete help option inside, and that help is the first screen that you see once you have registered. The help is more than enough, but at HandHold Adaptive’s website you can find a five-page step-by-step tutorial.

Besides the help, there are four options or tabs in AutismTrack. In “Person & day” you can define and select profiles of people for whom you will after enter data, including each profile a name, a surname, the birthday and a diagnosis (such as “autism”). This option also allows you to select the date on which enter data, a value that is “today” by default.

The “Interventions” tab presents a list of predefined interventions and, for each one, a checkbox that you can mark. Besides marking or not each intervention, you can also add free text notes.

These interventions are grouped in four categories: medications taken, supplements taken, diet changes and therapies applied. Here, I must emphasize that the developers of AutismTrack give no indication or recommendation on which therapies are most effective or if, for example, diets have a positive effect. Just as many people follow them, they have created the category.

The list of interventions is customizable, so the user can add and delete some of them. In case you want to add some, there is a predefined list of more than 50, but it is also possible to create a new one writing its name. Within each category, the list can also be reordered.

Behaviors

The next tab is “Behaviors”, which allows you to enter data of behaviors and symptoms. AutismTrack shows a list of behaviors (for example, eye contact), and for each one a slider that lets you assign a value between 0 and 100%, indicating the level of compliance of such behavior throughout the day.

Again, the behavior list is customizable, so you can add or delete items, also using a pre-filled list of behaviors or creating new ones. You can also change their order and take notes (separate from the notes of interventions).

Finally, the “Review” tab allows you to review and share information previously entered in several ways. First, you can view all data and notes entered for a certain date, and send them in a PDF file to your email account (the same one used to register at the beginning).

A second option allows you to graphically analyze the evolution of interventions and behaviors by choosing a time interval and one or more behaviors to be analyzed. AutismTrack will show a graph of the evolution of the percentages associated with each selected behavior and show an average compliance rate of each intervention. Again, this report can be sent by email in PDF format.

And the third option, “Email Metrics Raw”, sends a .CSV file by email with all the data collected, including name, date and value of each intervention and behavior. The CSV format is compatible with spreadsheet applications (like Excel and Numbers), databases (like Access for Windows or Filemaker and Bento for Mac) and statistical applications, which opens up a world of possibilities to work with the collected data, compiling statistics, analyzing correlations between interventions and behaviors, etc.

Secure Server

As I mentioned at the beginning, all entered data is stored on an AutismTrack secure server, and this is due to two purposes. The first is to provide a continuous backup of all data entered, so if the user loses his iPod touch, for example, he still can access all data entered by simply logging into his account from another device. Thus, the user has not to be worried about exporting data, synchronizing his device with iTunes, etc., and will be sure that all data is always saved. It fact, this is the same concept behind other applications that work with files stored on Internet servers (such as dropbox) following the increasingly popular model of “cloud computing”.

The second reason is that HandHold Adaptive, which has already added predefined interventions and common behaviors associated with autism to its application, suggests that all data collected, dissociated from the very limited identifying personal data, may be used in the future to do some kind of mass statistical study. Therefore, when the application starts for the first time requires the user to give consent to possibly share such data, conveniently dissociated, for research purposes in the future.

The price to pay to have the data kept in the server is the requirement to be online to use the application, which can be a problem away from home if your device only have WiFi or there are not mobile coverage.

Conclusions

As a parent of a child with autism, I am used to filling out daily records on various aspects. AutismTrack can replace reams of paper, that if not lost should also be copied into a computer database to study trends in behavior, for instance. AutismTrack brings order, computer records from the start and some basic statistical analysis options.

On the other hand, I would like to have more options for data entry. Although in the “Notes” sections you can write anything you want, it is quite common, for example, that you need to register quantitative values (such as how many inappropriate behaviors has occurred, expressed in numbers, not as a percentage ranging from 0 to 100 %), so you can calculate the average value and correlations, and that is not currently possible easily with AutismTrack. (Although you could, for example, register the first misconduct as 10% of “bad behavior”, the second as 20% of the same behavior, etc.).

AutismTrack is not inexpensive, and there is no free trial, but you can find a lot of information on the Handhold Adaptive’s website to get a clear idea of what functionality the application brings. If AutismTrack fits your needs for journaling, even adding a little of imagination, it can be a very useful application that includes a backup service that I find very valuable.

Finally, the application is in English, but the menus are very simple and all the names of categories and behaviors can be redefined and written in any language, and in any case this application is to be used by parents and professionals, so that the language itself is not a major barrier. However, obviously, I would like to see the application and help translated into other languages.

-Francesc Sistach

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AutismTrack 1.2

Web: www.HandHoldAdaptive.com

Developer: HandHold Adaptive, LLC.

Languages: English.

Functions: Interventions, behaviors and symptoms journaling and analysis.

iPhone/iPod touch version: Yes.

iPad version: No.

Price: 39,99 € / 49,99 $

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