Feedback from people who have tried Herbi Writer
OT - Illinois
I've been meaning to get back in touch with you
to let you know how pleased I and my fellow OT's are with Herbi writer. We use
it almost every day. I have one student in particular that I wanted to share his
response with you. He is a four year old autistic student who before starting
with Herbi writer had almost no tolerance for holding a pencil, crayon or marker
nor using it appropriately. I started using Herbi with him and now he requests
it with his PECs and accepts hand over hand assistance to make the figures
correctly to see Herbi smile, he scribbles independently and likes to hear it
talk and the watch the ink disappear. He is attending to the figures and is
making the association to tracing success and the Herbi response. We are all
very pleased with his progress in such a short time.
The difficulty we've been having has been getting the program to recognize some correct responses especially in intermediate and advanced settings. Most often it is the letters 'O, Q, G' the cursive words and all attempts at the foreign characters. I have felt it would be helpful if Herbi could give an auditory cue and or colored demonstration of the error correction after a # of failed attempts. It is confounding because sometimes it will accept responses that are way off and the kids know it.
On a positive note. I down loaded the other programs as well and have found them also very good. We have been using the tablet speech with several kids.
COTA - Wisconsin
We have trained some classroom teachers to use your program in the classroom so it serves as a nice inclusion strategy as another option for writing. It has also proven to be a simple to learn, motivating option for some students that have struggled with writing.
Parent - Washington
After your demo/introduction I was eager to introduce Herbi and the devices to my son to help with his handwriting exercises. I was so excited that instead following the more planned path that we usually do to introduce therapy or exercises I tried a more direct approach hoping that my son was going to get interested basically because the coolness of the devices. So instead of defining a target and presenting Herbi as "work" I tried to show it as "look to this cool way of doing your handwriting exercise", "you can use it to do your work", and worst I showed them outside of his "work time". I've should know better: this was totally ineffective since I didn't have a clear go and more specifically I didn't prepare a set of letters like the ones that he was already working, at his level, with exactly the same strokes. He struggled with the concept of separate stokes and had a lot of trouble to match the characters (more trouble getting the correct strokes than the actual “shape”). Very soon he lost his interest, I decided to retreat and try another introduction later.
After few days me and my wife tried again, but this time we prepared a small set of letters with few strokes and exactly like the ones that he was working on, adjusted the settings to his level and introduced as another exercise that he had to do at his “work time.” Now the results were much better, he was able to complete a series of exercises and liked to use the computer to do its handwriting practice. We kept this for a few days and it worked great he even wanted to “play” with the Journal and do just some drawing using the devices. The lesson is that when introducing Herbi one needs to do some preparation and define clear goals – the same applies to each new therapy and exercise, the particular thing about Herbi is that targeted letters must be prepared before presenting the device.
The letter preparation is easy once you know what to expect from Herbi and you set up the appropriate directories and files (I guess that I would struggle a bit with that if it wasn’t your introduction), and as indicated in our experience a crucial step that you need to take before presenting Herbi to the child. We didn’t explore this possibility but the fact that you can change the background is also important since different techniques and characters may require a different background.
We liked very much the simplicity of Herbi usage and options, it is straight forward. While afraid of cluttering its interface we thought that a probably good addition to Herbi was some sort of data collection regarding the student performance: how long it took to master a given letter, rates of success/errors, etc. This can be even more important for usage in settings like clinics in which the same machine and user logon will be used with many different kids at varying skill levels. With this kind of data it is also possible to introduce new letters in a controlled way allowing some kind of smart set of letters.
One small thing that we noticed is that Herbi sometimes takes a noticeable bit of time still drawing the “template” after it already decided that the student strokes were right, this hiccup is not a big problem but my son felt a couple of times that “something is wrong…oh it was right”, he got used to it but this can make the first tries easier for the child.