Saturday, August 12, 2017

Articulate It Pro {app review}

Do your speech only kids get bored easily? Mine definitely do!  I'm constantly looking for ways to change up therapy and keep them engaged.  I have a series of apps that I rotate through (on top of the normal drill and drill play activities), but I'm always looking to add more.   I was recently introduced to Articulate It Pro from Smarty Ears, and I have to tell you it will be added to that rotation.



Check out this video overview of the app:


To begin, select your players and then select the activity.  There are four activity choices: FlashCards, Matching, Stories, and Guess What.


You can also select your targets for each child: phonemes, phonological processes, manner of articulation, and number of syllables.


Everyone phoneme is listed as a choice to target:



You can also preview the wordlist and deselect words that you would rather not target.




One of my clients' favorites is the matching game.  They always ask to play it!



As with most Smarty Ears apps, Articulate It Pro collects data for you.  It is specific by phoneme, position, and process.  It gives you data for correct productions, approximate productions, and incorrect productions.



Another feature I really like is the certificate option.  When a child masters a sound or a sound in a given position, you can print off a certificate for them.  My clients love this because it affirms them and makes them feel proud!


Summary:
Articulate It Pro is a great app for busy SLPs.  It makes planning and implementing articulation therapy so easy.  The multi-player function makes it perfect for group sessions while still targeting each child's individual goals.   I really like that I can choose between phonemes, phonological processes, manner of articulation, and number of syllables when setting up the targets for my clients.  The games are engaging, and my clients keep coming back for more. 

If you're visual like me, you can check out the video tutorial below:


If you are interested in this app, it is currently listed at $42.99, and you can purchase it in the App Store using my affiliate link:




If you didn't know, there is a Smarty Ears App party happening right now on Facebook!  Join in on the fun and enter to win some FREE apps!

Enjoy!!

Carissa



Note: I received a copy of this app in exchange for my review.  No other compensation was received.  All opinions expressed are mine. 

Friday, August 4, 2017

It Takes Two to Talk Guidebook {product review}

As you may know, I completed The Hanen Centre training for More Than Words back in April.  I'm so excited today to talk about another one of their resources, It Takes Two To Talk: A Practical Guide for Parents of Children with Language Delays.




I have so many late talkers on my caseload right now, so I was excited to have a new resource in my library.  This book is designed for parents, caregivers, SLPs, and other professionals.  It provides information on how to encourage communication and language skills through everyday activities and interactions.

The following chapters are included:
Chapter 1: Learn More About Your Child's Communication
Chapter 2: Let Your Child Lead
Chapter 3: Follow Your Child's Lead
Chapter 4: Take Turns to Keep the Interaction Going
Chapter 5: Use Routines to SPARK an Interaction
Chapter 6: Add Language to the Interaction
Chapter 7: Let's Play
Chapter 8: Sharing Books
Chapter 9: Moving Forward with Music

What is fantastic about the book is how informative and on the parents' level it is.  It is written in a way for all to understand the strategies.  The strategies themselves are extremely practical and are fairly easy for parents to implement.  I have taken the strategies, demonstrated them in therapy to the parents, and then they try them at home.

The book is full of helpful charts that are laid out by the stages of communication.  That way, each parent can read exactly what they need to do for his/her child.



Here's an example of one of the strategies.  They are practical and have pictures to help illustrate them.



You can see more example pages from the book here.

In summary, this is a book that I will refer my parents to time and time again.  It is practical and on their level.  It is full of strategies that we, as SLPs, use all of the time.  Now it's put in parent-friendly language for them to fully understand and put into practice at home.

If you are interested in the research behind the book and the whole It Takes Two To Talk, check out this page.

If you are interested in this guidebook, you can purchase it here at The Hanen Centre.


Note: A copy of this book was provided for my review.  No other compensation was received.  All opinions expressed are mine. 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Speech Blubs {app review}

A few months ago, I wrote a post about an app called First Blubs.  It was an app designed for early communicators to begin to imitate animal sounds.  The developers of this app have decided to discontinue First Blubs and focus their efforts on a new app called Speech Blubs.  Check out the new one below.

Let's get really honest and blunt for a second.  This is something I think you all need to know up front.  Normally, I don't post negative reviews.  However, I think it is important for me to post this, as I reviewed their first one and my name has been used in their marketing of this app.

The app is moving to a subscription-based model, where it will cost $9.99/month after a free trial. That's $119.88 per year! The previous app was a one-time cost of $6.99.  I do not agree with this model and think it is extremely overpriced.  So that being said, I cannot recommend this app. I don't think it's worth what they are asking, just to be 100% transparent. I find it extremely hard to believe that SLPs and parents would be willing to pay that price for this app.

So with that being said, here is what the new app is all about.  It is again an app designed for early communicators.  When you first start, the app will take you through a screener based on the child's age.


Based on the results of the screener, recommendations are made.  It says, "Therapist recommends," but I'm not sure who this "therapist" is since the app was not developed by a speech-language pathologist.  It is also somewhat misleading, as no app should replace speech and language therapy.  I also would like for me, as a therapist, to be able to change the recommendation.



The app currently has 3 different areas to practice: Early Sounds, Mouth Gym, First Words.  All of them are video modeling with elementary-age kids.  Early sounds is very similar to First Blubs in that kids will imitate animal sounds.  In Mouth Gym, kids will imitate speech sounds.  In First Words, kids will imitate simple words.





Positives:
-video modeling can be effective
-the use of stickers, animals, and silly hats is engaging

Things to Update:
-the price to a one-time cost and not a subscription-based model
-to be able to change the time recommendations for practice
-not all models of the words and sounds are ideal--some are held out or the incorrect production of the sound

So you can decide for yourself if this app is worth it.   I would recommend doing a trial first to play with the app.  If you choose not to continue, make sure you delete the app and cancel the subscription prior to the 7th day.


Monday, July 10, 2017

Coming in November...

If you follow my Instagram account, you may have already seen this announcement:



My husband and I are expecting a sweet baby girl in November of this year!  We are so so so excited and blessed to be welcoming this little one into our family. Stay tuned for our story and pictures of her (once she's here).

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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Social Detective Intermediate {app review}

I'll admit that I struggle with finding ideas for my older clients that are still working on social skills.  It can be hard to find ideas that are relevant to what they deal with on a daily basis.  I recently had the opportunity to check out the Social Detective Intermediate app, and it has been a great way to address their goals while still being relevant.  Check it out below.



This app is a companion to the You are a Social Detective book by Michelle Garcia Winner and Pamela Crooke.  It is part of the Social Thinking curriculum.  The primary focus of this app is to help clients determine the emotions of various people in given scenarios and make "smart guesses" about what they think each person will do next.

You customize it by allowing each client to choose an avatar that looks somewhat like that or that they want to use.



In the Notebook section, there are 42 questions about video scenarios.  Clients will determine a person's interpretation of the situation, identify his/her feelings, and make a smart guess about what the other person in the situation is going to do next.  Clients are given 4 answer choices to help them make the best possible guess.  These 42 questions allow for a lot of practice of these skills.


In the Flashlight section, clients will practice these skills more.  These are more video situations with a similar set up to the notebook session.  There are 41 questions in this section, which allows for a lot more practice.


Overall, this is a great app companion to You are a Social Detective.  We use the Social Thinking curriculum a lot, so it fits right in with what we are already doing and the vocabulary that my clients already know.  It is a great way for my clients to practice their social skills and target goals that they are working on with me.  It is engaging, and my clients enjoy watching the video scenarios.  I like that some of the scenarios show kids doing what's expected, and some show kids doing what's unexpected.   It definitely helps to have a background in the Social Thinking so that the vocabulary used doesn't seem strange.

Some of the scenarios are a little "young" for my older kids, but they are still a good way to practice.  I would also love for the video quality to be a little better, but my clients still understood the point of each one and what was happening.

I would love it if there were a way to have multiple students using it at one time.  It saves data for individuals, but I would love a multi-player option.  I've been making it work by having one client complete one video situation and then pass it to the next person.

If you are interested in purchasing this app, it is currently $19.99 in the App Store.  You can download it here:



Enjoy!

Note: A copy of this app was provided for my review.  No other compensation was received.  All opinions expressed are mine.  Affiliate links may be included for your convenience. 

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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Building Communication E-Seminar {Hanen CEU review}

I have had many learning opportunities from Hanen, and I was excited to be with them in person two weekends ago for More Than Words.  I cannot wait to share my thoughts on that training with you, so be sure to check back soon. 

Today, I'm partnering with Hanen to bring you a different opportunity.  They just released a brand-new e-seminar called Building Communication: Supporting Parents of Preschoolers with Autism Spectrum Disorder or Social Communication Difficulties. It's a good one that you don't want to miss. 





How It Works:
You purchase access to the seminar online, via the Hanen website.  Then, you may view the videos within 30 days. This particular course is 5 hours in length and is broken up into 3 different videos.  You may watch it at your speed.  This is perfect for busy SLPs who may only have an hour or two at a time. 

The Course: 

The course objectives are for participants to: 
  • Explain the importance of including parents and caregivers in early intervention with children with autism or social communication difficulties.
  • Describe the four stages of communication included in the More Than Words Program.
  • Identify possible communication goals for each of these communication stages.
  • Describe three key interaction strategies known to support communication and help children achieve their communication goals.
  • Establish collaborative discussions with parents and caregivers and empower them to play a primary role.

This course meets all of its objectives listed above.  It provides many strategies for SLPs to introduce to parents.  Also included are handouts to give to parents.  Lisa is a great presenter and held my attention the entire time.  She does a fantastic job of explaining background information and the most recent research.  

If you've been thinking about participating in a More Than Words training, this is a great starting point to get a little bit of a preview of it.  


Sign-Up:
If you are interested in participating in this course, click below.  Five hours of learning for $85 is a good deal! 



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Monday, April 24, 2017

Articulation Essentials {app review}

My students love using the iPad, and I love articulation apps that have words/phrases/sentences all in one spot for me.  It makes for some easy planning on those busy days, as well.  I'm always excited when new ones come out and was excited when the developers of Articulation Essentials contacted me to review their app.

Articulation Essentials is a brand new articulation app out now!  It is very similar to other articulation apps out there, such as Articulation Station or Articulate It.  It is very user friendly and contains several fun games for the kids.

You can watch an overview here:



On the main page, select the target sound.  Then, select the level--words, sentences, or phrases.




Under Word-Level 1, you have the choice of two activities: flashcards or matching.  With each activity, you can mark the accuracy: correct, almost, or incorrect.  The app will track the data for you and save under the child's name.




Under Words-Level 2, you have two more choices of activities: Find the Sound or Sound Hunt.  Under Find the Sound, the student will determine if the target sound is in the initial, medial, or final position.  This is a great activity for readers, but non-readers may have some difficulty reading the buttons.


In Sound Hunt, you tap the image to hear the word.  You double tap if the target sound is in the selected position.  The buttons will turn green if correct and red if incorrect.


For the phrase and sentence levels, there are only flashcards.  The target word is highlighted in a different color to make it stand out.



The data is compiled by date, so you can easily track progress.



Overall, Articulation Essentials is easy to use and provides many opportunities for children to practice their speech sounds.  There are multiple levels to help with carryover.  Every sound is included for the low price of $9.99.  It is perfect for group settings because you can have up to 5 players at once.

For future updates, I would like to see symbols/images to accompany the position names in the Find the Sound game.  This would allow non-readers to participate more easily.

If you would like to try this app out prior to purchasing it, you can download the lite version:



If you are interested in purchasing this app, here's an affiliate link for your convenience:


Enjoy!

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Note: A copy of the app was provided for my review.  No other compensation was received. All opinions expressed are mine. 
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