August 2004

Newsletter of ELR Software Pty Ltd

ABN 67 090 738 702

ELR Software produces a range of computer programs designed by speech pathologists for speech, language & literacy intervention. Our programs may be used interactively within therapy sessions, to increase efficiency in service delivery, and to improve access to the Internet for people with special needs. We are also available as consultants to clinicians and research projects in the fields of literacy and accessibility issues associated with the Internet.

The aim of this newsletter is to inform you of developments and changes to our major products eLr (Extra Language Resources), Rude Readers, Word Meanings and EIA (Enhancing Internet Access). We welcome the opportunity for feedback and questions, and will be pleased to consider including reader contributions and announcements.

This Newsletter (and previous editions) is available online at www.elr.com.au/news and an email version is sent monthly to members of our mailing list (See Subscribing/Unsubscribing).

In this issue -

  1. Trial Rude Readers on eLr-Offline CD
  2. New eLr Materials
  3. Revised eLr Materials
  4. Duck Cack - Featured Rude Reader
  5. Free Downloads
  6. ELR 2004 Calendar

  1. Trial Rude Readers on eLr-Offline CD

    As of the August 2004 edition, the eLr-Offline CD contains "Trialware" versions of all 5 volumes of Rude Readers for users to examine directly, or to install from the CD. Users receiving new or update CD's from this month on should Look in the "Bonus Programs" section in the "autorun" loader program on the CD.

    The "Free Trial" option will open the Rude Readers Library which allows cross-referenced access to these twenty five different "eBooks" intended primarily for children with speech, language and reading disorders. The "Installation" option allows you to install one or more volumes of Rude Readers onto your computer.

    These Rude Readers are functional, but as "Trialware" versions they are slightly limited in that every second image in the contained Readers has been removed and the "Export" feature is not available. Please contact us, or visit our web site www.elr.com.au/readers to obtain your own licence "key" (User IDCode and Password) which will remove these limitations.

  2. New eLr Materials

    New Model:

    "SceneTyper" is a new model developed for the August edition. The client is presented with a scene and is required to rearrange words or phrases to make a sentence which matches the meaning of the picture. It provides the client with material to strengthen the ability to process and manipulate sentences, and increases the understanding of how meaning is affected by word and phrase order. This model has a number of features which enable modifications to suit the level of the client, or the goals of therapy-

    1. color coding may be used
      The tasks load with color coding as the default, but the tasks may also be presented without color coding. Color coding has been described in the literature relating to Sentence Processing (Byng "Sentence Processing Deficits: Theory and Therapy", Cog Neuropsychology, 1988. Marshall Chiat Pring "An impairment in processing verbs' thematic roles: a therapy study" Aphasiology, 1997. Bryan "Colourful Semantics 2", www.naplic.org.uk, 1998). It has been used to develop an awareness of the roles of the different grammatical structures in a sentence (eg agent or actor, action, theme etc).
    2. the target (prompt) sentence may be displayed or hidden
      This enables the client to complete the task as a word matching activity if literacy skills are low. Alternatively, the target sentence may be viewed and then clicked away, so that the client receives an initial prompt, but completes the task without viewing the target sentence.
    3. the tasks can be completed as either "rearrange phrases", or "rearrange words"
      In some instances it may be useful to first of all do the task as a "rearrange phrases", and then repeat the task as a "rearrange words" activity.

    Fifty-one new tasks have been added this month. Forty-five new tasks have been added to Sentence Processing [Single Clause Active Sentences]. The tasks use the new model ("SceneTyper") which is described above, and also "SceneSentenceMatcher". All of the new tasks appear in the Subject-Verb, Subject-Verb-Noun, and Subject-Verb-Prepositional Phrase subsections.

    Six new tasks have been added to Phonology Skills and Early Sounds [Auditory Discrimination]. These tasks are in a new sub section "Vowels". The tasks present minimal pairs for 6 commonly confused vowels - long /ee/ short /i/ (seat sit), short /i/ short /e/ (tin ten), short /i/ short /u/ (hit hut), short /a/ short /u/ (hat hut), long /er/ long /or/ (shirt short), short /a/ long /ah/ (cat cart). The "WhiteboardPics" model is used. The tasks may be used as an auditory discrimination activity, or the client may be encouraged to produce target words and receive feedback from the clinician/helper regarding accuracy of production. The pictures can be shuffled on screen to provide extra practice and repetition. By printing the activities, paper based activities can also be encouraged. These tasks will be useful for clients who have difficulty articulating vowels, and also for clients with literacy difficulties who have trouble hearing the difference between vowel sounds, and spelling vowels.

  3. Revised eLr Materials

    Two areas have had changes this month - a review of some tasks in Sentence Processing, and a change to the default presentation of 2 models ("Typing with words", and "Typing with phrases")

    We reviewed the picture based tasks on Sentence Processing which use the "SceneSentence Matcher" model to make them less confusing for some clients. So far this model is found in the "Subject Verb" and "Subject Verb Prepositional Phrase" subsections. Previously the task presented the client with repetitions of each picture with different sets of sentences. This meant that the client was exposed to a range of different error types within each activity. We requested feedback about this new section, and after discussion with clinicians concluded that some clients may be confused when presented with repetitions of the same picture. Following this feedback we changed the tasks, so that those tasks now have a different picture for each item.

    The Sentence Processing section is a relatively new one. It is useful for clients who have acquired language disorders, and also for younger language impaired students who have difficulties understanding, producing and manipulating sentence length material. The activities are based on the literature relating to the cognitive neuropsychological model of language processing. So far the models have enabled clients to-

    1. rearrange words to make sentences which increase in length and complexity (eg Subject-Verb, Subject-Verb-Prepositional Phrase, Subject-Verb-Indirect Object-Object, and Subject-Verb-Noun)
      These subsections take into account the different types of verbs (verb arguments), ie those that demand an object versus those that don't. By rearranging words the client gains an understanding of "actor/agent, theme" concepts, and how changing word order affects meaning.
    2. select the correct sentence (out of 2, 3, or 4) sentences, to match a picture
      In these tasks, the client has to process semantic (eg incorrect subject, verb or object), and syntactic errors (incorrect word order, tense, pronoun use).
    3. rearrange words to match a picture
      This is similar to the text based task, but provides the client with context in the form of a simple scene.

    We welcome further feedback and discussion about the existing tasks, and also ideas for further development.

    Previously the "Typing with words", and "Typing with phrases" models came to the screen with the target sentence ("prompt") visible. This enabled the client to complete the task as a word matching task - the easiest level. We have received feedback that it would be desirable for the task to be presented without the prompt sentence visible, so that on initial presentation the task is a "rearranging word/phrase" activity. If the client requires the extra cue (ie seeing the target sentence), selecting "prompt" will display the target sentence and provide the client with the extra cue. Feel free to email your comments.

  4. Duck Cack - Featured Rude Reader

    A duck does a quick cack on Mick's back-pack - and the child gets to practise 39 words that end with the /k/ sound, written as [ck]. Duck Cack (Volume 3) uses syntax up to LARSP Stage IV and there are no complex sentences. The ensuing battle between Mick and the duck leads to Mick saying a rude word - written as squiggles in Mick's talking balloon and as "nick off" in the text. At the end of Duck Cack, the reader can decide whether Mick will lick a speck of duck cack off his snack. Yuk!! Exactly.

  5. Free Downloads

    ELR has a number of free or evaluation files available for downloading directly from our website. Please see www.elr.com.au/downloads.htm for specific details. For other supporting materials and documents available for free download, please see www.elr.com.au/support.htm.

  6. ELR 2004 Calendar

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Copyright ©2004 ELR Software Pty Ltd

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