App Review and Giveaway: Articulate It!

AI cover copy

Just last week I saw Smarty Ears announce an update to Articulate It! that allows you to select themes.  What fun!  I downloaded the change immediately.

Articulate It! is an articulation flashcard app with two “play” options—flashcard drill or matching—which makes it seem a bit generic.  Simply select or add a player(s) to start and hit “play.”  Now choose “FlashCards” or “Matching.”  Now it starts to differentiate itself from the other artic deck apps.

AI target choices copy

Choose from four options:  phonemes, phonological processes, manner of articulation or number of syllables.

AI flashcard sample copy

Phonemes:  Classic articulation therapy here.  Choose the phoneme or blend you want to target and then select the position(s).  Next you’ll see a words list of included cards so you can scroll quickly and deselect any that are inappropriate for your particular client.  Hit “Play” and you’re ready to go.  Each flashcard gives you the option for word/phrase/sentence and you can change the setting on the card mid-stream.

Phonological Processes:  Under this mode, you can choose from:  fronting, stopping, deafrication, initial or final consonant deletion, backing, gliding or consonant cluster reduction.  Again, you’ll have a chance to review the target word list and remove any that you don’t want before you begin.

Manner of Articulation:  This sorts the flashcards by manner so you can target, for example, nasals or fricatives.

Number of Syllables:  Just like it says, this option lets you choose between 1-4 syllable words though it does not target specific sounds.

AI theme and setting options copy

A few more cool things:  The app allows 1-6 players at a time (with individual goals selected) and robust reporting options.  You also have the option (in settings) to change preferences like transition sounds on/off or displaying the word.    There is a notepad for recording info on an individual card.  Rotate allows you to “turn” the card which is helpful when sitting across from a student.  There is also the option to record.  Homework sheets for printing are also available. Plus, there is an option to add your own words as needed (for instance I always need “Mrs. Lewis” for inital /l/)!

AI theme options copy

I’m a HUGE fan of themes and love the mental organization they can provide when working on vocabulary so I was very enthusiastic to try the new “themes” option.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite what I expected.  The word lists themselves are not “themed” but the pages themselves are (which makes sense since a lot of the word lists would become very limited).   So, in addition to the default theme, there are now a dozen fancy backgrounds complete with appropriate sound effects that I know my students will love.  Themes include various seasons/holidays, dog and underwater.   They should help get/keep kids engaged that need to work on the same target for long periods of time.  I’d love to see a really big draw theme for boys like trains, super heroes or fireman added in the future.  Warning:  the theme pages are quite busy and might not be appropriate for visually distracted kids.

If you already own Articulate It! you can download the theme update immediately.  If you’d like to enter my giveaway (thank you, Smarty Ears!) for one of two copies ($28.99 value), enter below.  If you’d like my “Thematic Word Lists organized by phoneme/position” simply hop over to my Facebook page and “Like” to download it!

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Filed under Giveaways, Speech sound disorder therapy

Elevator Pitches and a Product Review/Giveaway

speak for yourself cover copy

My blog is the one travelling these days–you can catch me in the newest ASHA Leader magazine or a product review over at Speech Room News!

Speak for Yourself article photo copy

Speak for Yourself:  I attended a seminar on “elevator pitches” at ASHA back in November (it sometimes take a lot longer to get something in print then it does to put it on a blog!).  Though sales isn’t an area most SLPs address or feel comfortable with, it’s critical to your success.  You might find yourself “selling” the worth of our services to clients, parents/caregivers, administrators, physicians and Congress!

jackpot tokens s and r

Articulation Jackpot:  This is a fabulous articulation game for eliciting a high number of trials in a short period of time and having fun while you do it!  Jenna’s review can be seen here and includes a raffle that ends soon, so be sure to enter!  If you don’t win, you can still score–all of my Jackpot games (R, S or Sight Words) will be 20% off July 4-7, 2014.

I’ll be travelling to Las Vegas for the TpT Conference next week.  Anyone else planning to be there?  I’d love to meet you!



Filed under General Therapy Tips, Musings, Speech sound disorder therapy

Recalibrate Your Scale


Summer is a great time to reset.  Especially if you don’t see students, it’s an opportunity to recharge, maybe do some reorganization, maybe take some time to think about changes you’d like to make in the upcoming school year.  But it’s also a great time to recalibrate your scale of “typical development.”

I have my own children, now teens, so I feel like I have a good handle on what expectations are like at each grade from personal experience.  And I have time during my day/year to talk to teachers so I usually know what’s going on in the classroom and where my speech/language kiddos are struggling.

Then along comes summer and  I’m spending more time driving groups of kids around or seeing groups of kids in social situations or hanging out with nieces and nephews.  I start experiencing  how brilliant all these kids are, way above what one would expect at that age, and then I realize I need to recalibrate my expectations scale.

We have our standardized testing which is helpful and obviously necessary, but it often fails to capture the spontaneity of language and communication.  It doesn’t capture age appropriate slang or humor and how could it possibly since it changes constantly.  Kiddos that have made great strides with me and are testing in the normal range are cause for celebration, but when I see their peers in action, I can’t help but think I’m throwing some of them back to the wolves.

I’m not suggesting we keep kids in therapy indefinitely, and I don’t think trying to modify the environment (or listeners) is always the most practical choice (check out what one developmental pediatrician is doing to open doors for kids with autism).  In fact, other than being aware of what lies outside our doors, I’m not entirely certain what changes I’m going to make myself.

What I will say is, it’s worth getting out there and seeing what “our” kiddos are up against.  At a family party?  Hang with the little ones for a while.  Offer to babysit for a friend or neighbor.  Help at a camp or coach a sports team.  Eavesdrop and observe at the beach or pool or mall (in a non-creepy way).

When I hear kids talking about someone who’s weird, I’m quick to step in and guide it as a teachable moment.  But if you want to be truly enlightened, let it go, at least for the time being.  Without judging ask “why is he/she weird?”  When they realize you aren’t there to lecture, but are simply curious, you’ll get answers you didn’t expect.  The kinds of answers that will change the direction and scope of some of your goals.

I’ve been astounded at how astute kids are at picking out the pragmatic behaviors that are outside the norm and their priorities are sometimes different.  Peers might tolerate fidgeting or blurting out inappropriate comments especially if they are funny (though teachers would go bonkers with either) but have a real issue with how close someone stands in line, how someone interrupts an obviously private conversation or unusual prosody.  Even some of the suggestions we make for classroom modifications can unintentionally turn a spotlight on a child and signal them as different.

Do I think educating others to be more tolerant is critical?  Of course.  But I also believe in practical, efficient therapy.  Tolerance is something that happens with lots of education over time.  My kiddos can’t wait for that.  They need to work within their peer group now which means compromise from both parties.

What about you?  Are you ever shocked by the number of precocious kids out there?  Are those “normal peers” something you give a lot of thought to?

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Filed under Musings