Admit it: somewhere in the depths of your arsenal / box of tricks / treasure chest / speech box is your handmade speech sound flip book. Springbound colored laminated sound cards. Loose sound cards in a plastic box. We made ours during internship eons ago: cut up index cards with big letters written in wide-tipped markers, held together by metal binder rings. These worked of course. They were also unwieldy.
When Tactus Therapy Solutions finally released the Speech FlipBook, we could almost swear we heard trumpets blaring. Finally! But wait a minute, we thought: this for sure is no ordinary flipbook. We’ll walk you through this and tell you why.
See that start-up screen, the design complete with spring binding? Great attention to detail, yes? That’s just an intro. Before jumping into the Speech FlipBook, we went to Settings first and it was good we did. Look at this rich array of options:
- by FlipBook case: UPPERCASE, lowercase, IPA
- by Word case: UPPERCASE, lowercase
- (include) blank pages: (lets one manage syllable forms better)
- Initial (allow VC)
- Final (allow CV)
- Both (allow V)
- None (CVC only)
- Real Words
- Show / Hide words (words are situated in the bottom of the Flipbook)
- Turn Links On / Off
- Flip Effect: Visual, Sound, Both, None
- Edit Word List button
We went back to the cover where one can choose to flip by…
Flip by words, open the FlipBook, and it shows you sound combinations in uppercase / lowercase / IPA that form words (or nonwords, depending on your Settings). Flip by sounds and, again depending on your settings, FlipBook generates initial, medial and final sounds in three paper panels that you can flip individually to create new words / non words.
Of course, what really really trumps the competition here is its ability to hand to the clinician full customizability by allowing individual sound selection. These tabs are divided into (with their own tab colors, remember attention to detail?) the following:
- Initial Sounds: in table form(!) arranged by
- place of articulation (bilabial, labiodental, velar, etc.)
- manner of articulation (voiced & voiceless stops, fricatives, nasals, etc.)
- Initial Clusters: /l, r, s, w, 3/ clusters
- Vowels: by
- r-controlled vowels
- Final Sounds (same table form as Initial Sounds)
- Final Clusters: /p, m, th, f, t… etc./ clusters
- tweak your settings: words only? in lowercase? show words? with flipping sound and animation or none?
- choose your sound combos: tap which initial and final sounds and clusters, and which vowels you want to appear in your FlipBook
- start flipping! tap the sounds to toggle the sound cue. Flip between sounds or words to show (and play the sound of) the syllable’s parts
- recording voice is optional: you can record the client’s voice to encourage comparing and contrasting his/her voice to that of the app’s, and facilitate the client’s ability to monitor his/her own productions
What we love about this app:
- full customizability: we held on to our handmade therapy material because it it was easy to go through individual cards. FlipBook improved and returned this accessibility back into the clinician’s hands by allowing one to select different speech sounds, whether or not to include blank pages, to use the IPA or not, etc.
- a rich set of sounds, vowels and clusters offers the clinician that can be combined to produce 60,000 words and nonwords: we love numbers, so, to borrow from the developer’s website:
- 22 initial sounds
- 29 initial clusters
- 24 vowel sounds
- 20 final sounds
- 32 final clusters
- one can opt to use words and/or nonwords: would you want your client to practice on functional, real words or give your goals that extra stretch by using nonwords? Again, your call.
- retains the natural feel, or opt out if is distracting: having an app that minimizes distractibility matters a lot to us, so when one has controls to remove sound and animation, it shows just how much it must also matter to its developers.
- records the user’s voice: when working on sound production, having a feature like this is always useful. Any help in facilitating self-monitoring goes a long way.
- interface is simple to use, sufficiently large font: working with a client who may have poured most of his attentional resources on managing speech sounds using the FlipBook requires visuals that are easy on the eyes and are engaging enough without possessing distracting features. What do we mean by this?
- no scoring: Some may find the absence of scoring options as a disadvantage. We view it as a welcome change, something that may even encourage the client to monitor and assess his own performance by comparing the FlipBook’s voice prompts against his own voice recording
- no pictures: This is fine by us. We would like to think that the developers did design the FlipBook to enable clients to focus how to produce target speech sounds rather than compromise attention by dual tasking via pictures.
- downright light and affordable: One cannot go wrong with $6.99, and you’ll love it featherlight at 33.7 MB. With this price, the clinician can ask the client and his family to purchase the app and use it to practice at home.
What we would love to see in future updates: We do have a tiny suggestion… a Settings lock. The more we used the FlipBook, the more we saw it as a viable take-home tool. Most clients (and their families) either have an iPad or has access to one even if borrowed. Imagine if several of our clients downloaded the FlipBook, a clinician can adjust each copy’s Settings depending on each client’s therapy goals. A Settings lock can keep the clinician’s settings in place while the client practices at home going through words and speech sounds in the appropriate level of difficulty.
The tried-and-tested therapy materials are those that one tends to go back to over the years. What the developers of Speech FlipBook did was they took a universal, well-loved therapy material, compressed all possible targets into an interface that sped up the selection of speech sounds to align with one’s therapy goals, retained the traditional look and feel of the humble flipbook, and produced an oh-so-affordable app that guarantees a permanent place in the clinician’s iPad. We believe no other app can be packaged to allow highly-specific customization via the selection of specific speech sounds, contain tens of thousands of words and nonwords, allow voice recording and playback and still be priced so low. Speech FlipBook can definitely earn permanence not just in a clinician’s iPad, but in his/her clients’ as well.
- auditory processing
- phonological awareness
- reading, etc.
Customer Ratings (iTunes): 5 out of 5 stars iSPeak App says: 5 out of 5 smileys