App Review and Giveaway! Kids Sound Lab Pro

***Congratulations to Jillian and Deb!  Check your email for your code!***

For children with multiple artic errors, phonological processing disorders or apraxia, I’ll often find myself assigning the target phoneme a personality or visual cue.  Who hasn’t talked about the “hot breath” of /h/ or the “angry cat” sound of /f/? When I saw Kids Sound Lab Pro at ASHA, I was intrigued.

Not only were the Icelandic developers a lively bunch they had Dr. Barbara Hodson as a consultant.  Who wouldn’t take an extra look?  I recently started using the app in therapy and it is a fabulous way to introduce the phoneme “characters.”  So good, in fact, I’ve begun using it with a number of kids that have no articulation issues but struggle with sound/letter association or other phonemic awareness tasks.

To start, you input a child’s name, gender, birth date and photo (optional).  Takes but a second.  And, actually, if you were a parent using this with one child, you would need to, but doing so allows you to track performance.

Next, you’ll go to the main screen and choose the target phoneme.  Note that they are listed in a typically developing sequence rather than alphabetically.

Here, I’ve selected /m/.  The narrator will run you through the sound and a short narrative, “Mmmmm, said the boy with the ice cream.  Ice cream is his favorite food.  Mmmmm, ice cream is so good!”  I love that the letter is shown both capital and lowercase and that the sign is there as well.

Press the little face in the bottom right hand corner and you’ll get a clear, concise description of how the sound is made.

Now we’re on to syllables!  The train comes chugging in and ten balloons appear above it—two for each long vowel.  Pop a balloon and the narrator says the syllable in a very deliberate manner; the child repeats on each trial (recording is an option).

The next section is simply flashcards.  The narrator says the word, the child repeats.

Next, we have an identification activity.  Pop the balloon and the narrator says a word.  Simply repeat it back and find the picture.

Now it’s on to a memory game with an array of 12.  I’m a little weary of the memory games myself since they show up over and over and over again, but it seems to work in this hierarchy. The app doesn’t go beyond this initial position phoneme or single word level, but it has a lot more utility than it seems at first glance.

The little characterizations and animations of each phoneme as well as descriptions of productions are invaluable.  They really seem to stick with kids in a way a static representation/picture doesn’t.  And while the app’s focus on developmental order and beginning productions seems simplistic and geared toward the very young child, the pictures aren’t overly “babyish.”  I can easily see using this with a school aged child struggling with reading skills or apraxia.

The app is available for $19.99 in the iTunes store.  Click here for more info.

Wish you had a copy to call your own?  By this Sunday, you just might!  Simply leave a comment letting us know a phonemic “character” you’ve used in the past (“none” is an option, too!).  I’ll select two lucky readers at random and notify you by email.  You have until Sunday, December 22, 2013, 9am EST to enter.  Good luck!


This Post Has 45 Comments

  1. Sumi Wilson

    P is my helicopter sound.
    Puh puh puh puh puh

  2. Mary-Beth

    This sounds great! I’ve been using tactile cue names like the “lip coolers” for /f/ and /v/; differentiating between voiced and voiceless by checking throat for vibration.

  3. Debra

    I use “S” the ” leaky tire sound ” a lot. I also made up “Secret Stories” type explanations of greedy /w/ trying to take over / l / or / r / sounds, / f / trying to hog the “th” sound, etc. I encourage my students to stick up for the speech sounds that are being bullied, and not let/w/ or / f / make their lips take the wrong shape. They love it!

  4. Terri Drushell

    S is the Sammy snake sound
    K is the Kicky kangaroo sound
    G is the Goofy Ghost sound

  5. Merrie

    I’ve use Easy Does it for Apraxia sound cards for years- /f/ is the “angry cat” sound, /v/ is the “vacuum” sound.

  6. Alison

    S sneaky snake sound, n noisy sound, t tongue tapper, k neck popper

  7. Lindsay

    I have yet to really use any phonemic cues as I am in my 2nd year of grad school and have mainly worked with the middle school/high schoolers…not as many artic cases there!

  8. Jamie sullivan

    I am in my first year and working with kids with hearing loss, so i am using rhythmic phonetics a lot. I also do the th “tongue sandwich” and “keep your tongue inside teeth jail for a frontal lisp.

  9. Valerie

    S is the slithery snake sound

  10. Kim Hovey

    /v/ is the sound my phone makes when it’s turned “off”

  11. Latrice

    I’ve used M as mmmmm yummy! And S as the snake sound

  12. Christine

    I am in my first year at an elementary school and find myself trying to come up with all kinds of ‘characters’ for artic sounds. The H Brothers are my favorite I have learned so far. This is used widely around schools so there is carry over in classrooms too! There is a whole story you can find, but in summary:
    H Brothers-
    TH- Theo , the impolite brother, always sticking his tongue out
    CH- Charlie, loves choo choo trains
    Wh- Whit is always trying to whistle, but only makes a wh wh wh sound.
    Sh- Sherman , the quiet brother, is always telling the others, SHHHH!

    I love the ideas I am seeing so far! Thanks for sharing.

  13. Laura

    I have used the “be quiet” cue for /sh/, the train for /ch/, fish lips for /w/,
    popping bubbles for /p/… The younger students who don’t have a connection between letters and sounds seem to truly understand and connect with these “characters”. This app sounds great! I agree with you about it having a possible benefit to student who are apraxic, have significant phonological processing difficulties, and trouble reading. I hope I get an early Christmas present 🙂 Thanks for sharing about this app!

  14. jillian

    AR as a pirate says and puh like an old car (while playing with a car)

  15. Sue W

    V is an airplane sound; we make the SEE sign and fly our hand around in different directions.

  16. FG

    /sh/ is the “quiet” sound (finger to lips)

    /ch/ is the “exploding” sound (pop fingers open in front of lips)

  17. Cynthia

    Thanks for sharing this app. Many parents will only practice with their child if modern technology supports their practice.
    Instead of a take-home speech practice folder, it is now ” which app will support and reinforce” home practice.
    Thanks for sharing.

  18. Kathleen R

    “s” is the snake sound
    “m” is the yummy sound

  19. Cindy

    I use /r/ as the sound the the rooster makes to wake you up in the morniing!
    er, er, er, errrrrr!

  20. Rachael

    Fun ideas – thanks for posting! R is the Pirate sound in my sessions.

  21. Heather Downey

    I haven’t Used a personality yet. Now I will. I am special ed teacher(1st year) with a wide range of speech difficulties. Would love to try this app, thanks for the info

  22. Tracey F

    I say /k/ is the dinosaur sound. I use my hands like dinosaur feet pounding k k k k!

  23. Robin Sweeney

    I use characters every day in speech for sounds. The kids just seem to be able to remember it better if they can attach it to an action or character. Here are a few:
    ‘th’ is the mad goose sound
    /r/ is the pirate sound
    ‘sh’ is the quiet sound
    /b/ is the beating heart sound
    /g/ is the drinking sound

  24. Sue

    I have similar “sound characters” as some of the others. I have even some of the Animated Alphabet materials.

    /s/ – Sammy Snake
    /g/ – Gabby Goat
    /k/ – Kicky Kangaroo

  25. Sheila Reiss

    Choo Choo is of course for ch
    Hand motion for sh

  26. M. Parker

    I use the Lindamood Bell sound names as they are based on how sound is made and are delineated by quiet or noisy. Lip poppers – noisy /b/, quiet brother is /p/.

  27. Jill T.

    I use a combination of “names” for sounds. Some are based off of Lindamood Bell, like the “tongue tapper” for /t/ and lip popper for /p/. Some are just terms that have been floating around the speech world for years. I call the /s/ the “snake sound,” /g/ is the “gulping sound,” etc. I also use a lot of tactile/visual cues for the sounds as well such as feeling the voice box for vibration on noisy sounds and how it doesn’t on voiceless, or touching my throat with my pointer finger for the “coughing sound” of /k/. I think the more we are able to connect a sound to visual imagery, alliteration, and use tactile/verbal cueing, the more it helps the child connect to the sound and the manner of how to make it. As we all know, SLPs can never have too many ideas in their bag of tricks, so this Kids Sound Lab sounds like an excellent addition to the mix.

  28. Tara

    I use “the nasty brothers” sound for the “th” sound (courtesy of one of the Kindergarten teachers at my school); “sh” is the “be quiet” sound, and “ch” is the choo-choo sound.

  29. alison

    The whole Sounds in Motion program is great.

  30. Emily

    /k/ is the dinosaur stomp or the kangaroo kick

  31. Janel

    /k/ is the “coughing” sound
    /v/ is the sound a vacuum makes
    /sh/ is the “quiet” sound
    /s/ is the ‘snake” sound

  32. Carol Rickey

    I don’t typically use names/labels for sounds but, instead, I use visual cues with my hands, like signing /k/ at the throat.

  33. Wendy H

    I talk about the leaky tire /s/

  34. Teri Riggs

    I use “S” as a snake sound for a little guy that can’t say his name.

  35. Linda

    I am the SLP in 3 preschool phonology classes for kiddos 3 to K age. We use a cycles approach to target all of the developmentally inappropriate active phonological processes and the speech sound errors that kiddos in our classes display. Because building a child’s discrimination skills is so important in an effort to improve their correct articulation, we use whatever we can to meet that need. I have seen a lot of success using the Apraxia hand signals and phonemic characters in therapy. As we introduce a new sound each week we also introduce the hand signal and the character for that sound like “s” the snake sound and “f” the angry cat sound. My kiddos respond to this and quickly are making the hand gestures and calling the sounds by their character names! We give copies of the hand signals chart to parents as well so they can use them and reinforce their child’s use at home. Because of the technology appeal with the little guys I’m sure this app would be a hit!

  36. Aly

    S is my snake sound
    Ch is my train sound (choo choo)

  37. GB

    ‘k,g’ are the ‘back’ sounds (with finger on throat)

  38. Sara

    The /s/ sound making a sssnake up your arm and the /h/ sound with h-h-hot

  39. Lisa Anderson

    I use the Lindamood Bell sound names (lip poppers,
    Lip coolers,etc)

  40. Shara Kuehl

    I loved reading the other comments! I also use pirate “AR,” the snake sound for “a,” as well as the “quiet sound” for “sh”.

  41. Katie H

    I use the windy sounds /f, v/, and throaty sounds /k, g/. For lateralized /s/ we pull a “spaghetti noodle” out of their mouth to focus the air in the middle.

  42. Cassandra S.

    I’ve used the “quiet sound” for ‘sh’, “snake sound” for /s/, but now I mostly use the Lindamood-Bell labels (LiPS program) like lip poppers for /p, b/, tongue coolers for “th”…

  43. Deb

    I call the /s/ the “long sound” and pair it a gesture moving my hand down my arm while producing /s/.

  44. Stephanie

    I’ve done the train sound “ch,” quiet “sh” and angry cat /f/.

  45. Sandra Keller

    I have used s-s-s is a sneaky sound because it is quiet.

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The views expressed in this blog are my own and are intended to inspire other speech-language pathologists in their own practice. If you are a parent, teacher or other educator, these ideas are not intended to take the place of treatment by a certified clinician. Read full disclaimer here.