Neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, traumatic brain injury or stroke can adversely affect, among other things, articulation and speech rates. One client of ours used a metronome that set at specific beats per minute in order to bump up his speech rate. It helped, to some extent, but we found it necessary to point to specific words in reading passages in order to help the client read faster.
Aptus Speech and Language Therapy came up with the app Speech Pacesetter (formerly known as the Speech Pacemaker). The concept is pretty simple: the app highlights (or points, using a bouncing ball) the words the client is to read out. Start Speech Pacesetter up and it brings you immediately to the app’s main screen. The screen’s top edge shows around four popular reading passages’ titles plus a tab that allows you to insert your own reading passage.
- The Rainbow (The Rainbow Passage)
- My Grandfather
- North Wind and the Sun
- Arthur The Rat
Below the reading passage tabs are the rewind and forward buttons (moves your cursor one word forward or backward), and the Stop, Pause, Go buttons.
The selected reading passage occupies majority of the screen. It is the next few features that highlights the beauty of this app:
- The orange scrollbar controls the speed at which the words / syllables are highlighted. Want to refine your values? Tap the minus/plus buttons to nudge the rate down or up a word/syllable.
- Select word if you want words highlighted (or shown one at a time) or syllable for per-syllable highlighting
- The blue scrollbar controls the length of the pause or gap in-between sentences. Tweak your settings by seconds using the minus/plus buttons. Beside this scrollbar is the
- Options button: allows you to
- adjust the reading passage’s font size
- color schemes: dark background with light-colored font or vice versa
- toggle the metronome sound on/off
- choose if words/syllables will be highlighted, bounced on by a ball, or will appear by word
- Info button: which gives you basic instructions on how to use the app as well as the app developer’s details and contact information.
- Options button: allows you to
A lite version of the app may be downloaded here.
What we love about this app:
- the Pasteboard: this alone expands the app beyond its first impressions. Type in or copy-paste a news article, a poem, a song (with the lyrics to be read), even a letter that your client wishes to read to someone. The Pasteboard lets the client bridge his speech rates from reading passages onto increasingly more difficult ones that are closer to what he/she encounters in real life.
- easy scrolling when adjusting words/syllables per minute and in-between sentence pauses: by situating these important settings at the bottom of the screen, it allows the clinician to make fast adjustments to match the client’s performance.
- one gets to choose whether words or syllables will be highlighted
- adjustable font sizes
- simple, fast, light: with a small data footprint, Speech Pacesetter can work from iPhone 3GS up, and on iPads running iOS 5.0 or higher. 5.8 mb will merely nibble at the edges of your iOS device’s free space.
What we would love to see in future updates: We are pretty happy with the content, so what we are looking forward to is a couple of adjustments on the interface. Play, Pause, Stop icon buttons perhaps? We love the app, and in all its simplicity, it is designed to make reading passages easier to read by a metronome along with visual cues. No bells nor whistles here, just how we want specific therapy apps to be.
Customer Ratings (iTunes): no ratings yet iSPeak App says: 4 out of 5 smileys