Where to Buy: Find Cause and Effect Sensory Sound Box at the iTunes Store
Devices: Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation) and iPad
Operating System: Requires iOS 4.0 or later
Categories: Cause & Effect, Music & Sounds, Games & Recreation
Description of Sensory Sound Box
Cause and Effect Sensory Sound Box is a new app from Cognable, a development company "with particular interest in use of the internet, assistive technologies and new media by and for people with Intellectual Disabilities (ID)." Their first app, Cause and Effect Sensory Light Box, focuses more on visuals and lights while this one plays with manipulating sounds.
Sensory Sound Box is a lot like Sensory Light Box (reviewed here), with the simple idea that when your finger is touching the screen neat things happen and when you lift your finger they stop. But in the sound version of this app as your finger moves across the screen the sounds take on very different characteristics. In the "Doric Chant" option, for example, you hear what sounds like a choir singing, but as you move your finger up they sing higher notes and as you move your finger down they sing lower notes.
The opening screen offers 12 different options, each providing very different and unique sounds. From the soothing wind and rain options to a kind of grating "Sore Tooth," which sounds like a dentist's drill, you have lots of different sounds to play with.
Like Sensory Light Box, Sensory Sound Box starts with a black screen and all the light creations are very bright and dynamic, so this app would be great for children with low vision or CVI. The small "exit" button in the lower right-hand corner of the screen does not get in the way, so you don't have to worry about your child constantly accidentally exiting the app.
Sensory Sound Box also offers a new feature: different colors! You can choose from nine different colored backgrounds (black, grey, red, orange, yellow, green, cyan, blue or magenta) and the colors of the foreground lights change depending on the background you've chosen. So, for example, you can choose to play with "Doric Chant" with a black background and light blue lights or with a yellow background and dark purple lights. Either way, the screen is still in high contrast and now you can play with colors that will best attract your child's vision!
Unlike Sensory Light Box, Sensory Sound Box does not allow users to use more than one finger at a time - only one point of contact with the screen will create sounds. This can be a great motivator if you are trying to teach a child to isolate one finger and "point" while using the iPad, but can be very frustrating for kids who use their whole hand to "mash" the iPad's screen, as many children with low tone and cognitive disabilities do. Often a whole hand touch of the screen won't result in any sounds at all because the app wants you to use a single finger swipe or tap, and this can kind of diminish the "cause-and-effect" lesson.
On the other hand, the app is great for teaching "up and down" and "high and low" as the sounds change depending on where your finger is on the screen. However, you need to be sure that the iPad stays in one place and doesn't get moved around because the Sound Box app does not take advantage of the iPad's ability to always know which way is up. In other words, if you turn the iPad sideways "up" will now be "right" or "left," which is perfect if you want to play with those concepts, but kind of frustrating if you're trying to work on "up and down" and your child keeps tilting the iPad.
All in all, though, this is a fun app that plays with sounds and lights in a really interesting way and there is a lot of room here to incorporate all sorts of learning.
To see the Sensory Sound Box in action, check out this video.