Speech Tutor lets you see how sounds are being made intraorally

Any speech-language pathologist (or parent, or caregiver) who works with an individual with articulation difficulties or verbal apraxia knows that it is extremely difficult to make one see how sounds are being made within the mouth.  Showing a child (or adult) the position of your own articulators as you produce a target phoneme can be tiring especially if you need to shine a penlight inside AND you need to give instructions at the same time.  While some of us have grown comfortable working with adults with verbal apraxia, showing one’s mouth to a client can at times feel a bit awkward.

Described to be the first of its kind, Pocket SLP‘s Speech Tutor does away with these problems and puts on your iDevice animations of a transparent oral peripheral mechanism showing the position of the articulators as these produce the phoneme you choose.  The startup screen shows you news from PocketSLP, the series of SLP apps by Synapse Apps.  Click Home and immediately the screen slides to show you the lateral (side) view of a semi-transparent oral peripheral mechanism rendered simple yet accurately enough to show the shadow of the teeth and the hard and soft palate.  More pronounced is the position of the tongue and the lips at rest.  A small square showing the current phoneme sits on the animation’s neck area.

There are eight buttons on the bottom of the screen, namely:

  • Home: takes you to the lateral view and the News screen alternately
  • Basics: offers non-SLPs a quick overview of sound production particularly Voice, Place, and Manner.  The text describes for the layperson the meanings of terms such as stops, labiodental sounds, bilabial sounds, etc. and describes the importance of knowing the correct sound placements in order to teach the production of the correct phonemes.  A general note addressed to the parents reminds that teaching should be fun and playful.
  • Description: brings out a pop-up box containing information about the current phoneme:
    • voice
    • place
    • manner
    • approximate age of emergence
    • approximate age of mastery
    • tips on how to elicit the phoneme
  • Palate: brings out a pop-up box showing the point of contact (if any) in the hard or soft palate when producing the phoneme
  • Phonemes: brings out a bar menu showing different phonemes:
    • P, B, T, D, K, G, N, M, ING, F, V, S, Z, SH, CH, J, L, R (retroflex and bunched), TH (voiced and voiceless)
  • Options: allows one to select
    • playback speed:  slow, medium, fast
    • perspective:  side or frontal
  • Record: allows one to record his/her own voice producing the target phoneme
  • Play/Pause

What makes this app truly awesome:

  • animations can be played back at different speeds:  no one wants to learn how to produce a phoneme by watching a fast playback.  This feature alone gets a lot of stars.
  • crucial information a fingertip away:  rather than dealing with flipping screens that show further information about a phoneme, this app made use of pop-up boxes, making sure you are never away from the main screen.  Don’t want these boxes cluttering the screen?  Tap at a button to tuck it away.
  • customizable:  the recording feature makes this app more personalized

What this app could have added:

  • a link to bring the user to the other Pocket SLP apps (Articulation, Minimal Pairs) within the main screen to help tie up the activity to picture naming.  But then again, this could also be accomplished by tapping the iDevice’s Home button twice and calling the app back up (assuming it’s running in the background).

Overall, Speech Tutor is definitely NOT an ordinary app.  This is serious stuff meant to target specific difficulties yet was designed well enough to suit both pediatric and adult populations.  With the correct adapter, the animations can be used as lecture material and shown via a projector.  If there is one more app you MUST have in your iDevice, make sure this is it.

Price: $9.99
Weight: 33 MB
Updated: 28 March 2011
Version: 1.0
Compatible with: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad (Needs iOS 3.0 up)
Seller: Synapse Apps LLC
Target Population: children and adults
Awesome if you want to work on:
  • articulation problems and motor speech disorders
Customer Ratings (iTunes): 5 out of 5 smileys
iSPeak App says: 5 out of 5 smileys


    Kindergarten.com’s ABA Apps have gone FREE for World Autism Day

    Kindergarten.com's Apps

    Kindergarten.com's Apps

    To celebrate World Autism Awareness Day, Kindergarten.com has offered its ABA apps for FREE for the entire month of April!  Kindergarten.com has a handful of apps that are free all year round, but it is only this month that it is giving its ABA apps especially the Which Go Together apps and Problem Solving Apps away for free.

    It’s apps like these (and the feverish downloading of free ones) that justifies why we need lots of memory in our iDevices.  Start downloading, people!


    Pocket SLP’s Minimal Pairs takes phonological processes work to a whole new level

    A few days ago, our demos of the Pocket SLP’s Articulation app at the college succeeded at winning it quite a number of new fans and admirers.  The number of flashcards it featured was awesome enough, but what really brought more ooohs from everyone were the calculated progress charts.  Unfortunately for everyone, we didn’t get to show them THIS app: Minimal Pairs.

    Working on basically the same premise as Pocket SLP’s Articulation, the 800-card app targets phonological processes specifically using, well, minimal pairs flashcards.  After you download the app and start it up, you are prompted to create a client’s record and indicate whether you wish to use expressive activities (your student says both target words) and receptive activities (the student identifies which word in a pair of cards matches a target sound).  The app then asks you to select which of the following processes you would like to target:

    • Cluster Reduction
    • Deaffrication
    • Final Consonant Deletion
    • Final Devoicing
    • Fronting (Palatal)
    • Fronting (Velar)
    • Gliding of /l/
    • Gliding of /r/
    • Initial Consonant Deletion
    • Prevocalic Voicing
    • Stopping of Fricatives
    • Stridency Deletion

    Each screen features two flashcards using your desired minimal pair words. On the top of the screen are SLP-specific buttons:

    • recording button: to record your voice or your client’s voice for the target words
    • playback button
    • CHECK button: to mark correctly-produced items
    • X button: to mark incorrectly-produced items
    • APPROXIMATION button: for items that the client produced an approximation of the target word
    • INFO button: brings you to a diagram chart where you select two phonemes to view how one is produced (lateral view) compared to the other
    • Results button: the best part yet! This shows you a report of your client’s progress.  You are given three choices on how you wish to view the results:
      • spreadsheet:  shows you reports with names, processes, percentages (of correct, incorrect answers) and raw scores
      • line graph: draws a graph showing the percentages of your client’s performance for the past five sessions
      • report card: a table with all the info you need, PLUS a “homework text” feature that shows exactly what must be practiced outside the therapy session.  And take note:  this individualized take-home activity can be emailed or even printed!

    What makes this app truly awesome:

    • 800  flashcards… for a price like this, it beats most conventional flashcards packs
    • highly customizable:  from creating a client record to selecting which processes to target to homework-making
    • it SPEAKS! Each picture shown is accompanied by an audio clip that says the target word.  Don’t want the app to say the words? Hit the mute button
    • the results reports (and formats):  we all love the tangible nature of numbers and percentages =)

    What this app could improve on:

    • (I could wish for a feature that converts those results reports to a narrative format at a touch of a button, but I reckon that’s asking for a tad bit too much… 😉  )

    Synapse Apps’ products have definitely raised the bar when it comes to therapy apps.  By doing so they have managed to show exactly what should be included in speech therapy apps.  The problem is that we end up looking for these crucial characteristics in other apps, and there are only a few apps (at present) that could meet our new set of expectations.

    Still, Pocket SLP’s Minimal Pairs is hAPPiness at therapy =)

    Price: $29.99
    Weight: 35.7 MB
    Updated: 21 February 2011
    Version: 1.01
    Compatible with: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad (Needs iOS 3.0 up)
    Seller: Synapse Apps LLC
    Target Population: children and adults
    Awesome if you want to work on:
    • articulation, most especially phonological processes
    Customer Ratings (iTunes): 5 out of 5 smileys
    iSPeak App says: 5 out of 5 smileys






    Pocket SLP Articulation: one of the “SLP-est” articulation apps out there

    Flashcards:  what would we do without them?  They’re quick, straightforward tools for therapy, and are extremely useful especially when you are working on articulation, word retrieval, and picture description.  These stacks often come in big, sturdy boxes (some variants such as Super Duper’s come in tin boxes) that you pull out and return in your workplace’s storage cabinets over and over again, day in and day out.  After you take these out, you spend a few minute flipping through the stacks of pictures and sort out the ones you need to target specific phonemes or words.  Now, unless your kid client has good waiting skills or is at least kept busy playing with toys, sorting and picking through card stacks can be pretty challenging.

    We love flashcards.  Maybe what most of us don’t like about them is the time consumed selecting needed cards and rearranging these in order.  And in instances when precision and accuracy is needed, we’d often wish we literally had extra hands to take note which cards our clients named correctly or not.

    The good folks at Synapse Apps have designed an articulation flashcards app that sets it FAR apart from the hundreds of flashcards apps out there:  an app designed BY speech-language pathologists FOR speech-language pathologists.  For all of you who can relate to this description, we’re pretty sure you understand what we mean by this.

    Pocket SLP Articulation puts in your hands a huge bunch of flashcards (note: over 2,100 cards!) that were picked to target by phoneme and by position of occurrence.  No more rearranging and sorting cards.  No more paper.  NO MORE LOST or MISSING CARDS!

    Download the app and fire it up.  The start-up screen offers you a button that you tap to access the phoneme selection screen. Just tick off the phonemes you need to target, then tap Done.  The flashcard screen contains the picture in the middle, the label in the bottom of the picture (with the target letters in red), and five buttons on top, namely:

    • PLUS button: lets you add phonemes to your current stack
    • CHECK button: to mark correctly-produced items
    • X button: to mark incorrectly-produced items
    • APPROXIMATION button: for items that the client produced an approximation of the target word
    • INFO button: for an illustration of the position of the articulators producing the target phoneme

    At the bottom of the app are the more technical buttons:

    • INITIAL: for cards that show the target phoneme in its initial position
    • MEDIAL: cards with phonemes in the medial position
    • FINAL: cards with phonemes in the medial position
    • MIXED: show all cards in random
    • SUMMARY: the most technical screen of them all and perhaps to many the most helpful one–the Phoneme Summary Screen

    The Phoneme Summary screen deserves its own paragraph here.  It shows the percentages of correct, incorrect and approximation answers the client made by phoneme.  Perfect for progress notes, for making goals and IEPs!  Want to add a client’s name?  Tap the Select Client button on the bottom of the Phoneme Summary screen and it lets you select a name from your iDevice’s phonebook.  You can even Save Scores, Email Scores, and view Previous Scores.

    Pleasantly scary, huh?

    What makes this app truly awesome:

    • 2,100+ flashcards… an unbeatable figure
    • most features are well within the user’s control:  from selecting multiple phonemes to choosing phonemes’ position of occurrence.
    • allows tracking of correct versus incorrect productions.
    • includes illustrations of how each target phoneme is produced and which points in the palate contact should be made on (including a button to have the app play an audio clip of the target phoneme).
    • options to email scores, save scores, or review previous ones.
    • the Phoneme Summary screen FTW!.. satisfies the OC in us!

    What this app could improve on:

    • some pictures could have been made bigger:  although the iPad continues to dominate the market days shy of its 1st birthday, there could be more iPhones and iPod touches out there than iPads.  Smaller screens could benefit from having some pictures that are bigger.
    • improved responsivity to swipes (to turn page) and/or enhancing the app’s processing:  the app IS sensitive to swiping, that’s for sure.  When we took the app for a ride on our iPhone 3Gs, significant lag was noted when we tried to flip from one page to another.  Admittedly, we wouldn’t know how fast the app responds on the iPhone 4, or even on the iPad (and this reiterates my fondest wish that I be granted an iPad 2 so I can blog more efficiently!).

    It’s hard not to love such a sensible app as Pocket SLP Articulation.  Considering how many cards are included in the app, its amazing functionality, and the fact that an SLP will be able to use this again and again among his/her clientele, I’d say this is one app on which $29.99 would have been money well spent (at less than $0.014/card).  Saves a lot of trees too.  Truly a worthwhile investment.

    Price: $29.99
    Weight: 43.4 MB
    Updated: 15 December 2010
    Version: 1.40
    Compatible with: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad (Needs iOS 3.0 up) and Android
    Seller: Synapse Apps LLC
    Target Population: children and adults
    Awesome if you want to work on:
    • articulation on word level, including blends, on all positions
    • word retrieval (manually cover the written labels)
    Customer Ratings (iTunes): 4 out of 5 smileys
    iSPeak App says: 4.5 out of 5 smileys


    Next week, it’s going to be all about SLP apps by Synapse Apps!

    A few days from now, iSPeak App is going to take our reviews up a notch and take on three apps by Synapse Apps.  Running on the concept of ‘leaving one’s (materials) bag at home’ because ‘digital cards are finally here,’ the two practicing speech therapists who are behind Synapse Apps have designed a handful of seriously useful apps that capitalize on children’s interest in iDevices and plugged in flashcards that target articulation and motor speech disorders.

    Hit that Ctrl-D or Command-D and bookmark us!  We’ll be serving up thorough reviews on the following apps:

    (and no, this is no April Fool’s gag.  We ARE going to make you want to check these apps out real soon!)