RRRRRRacing toward good speech – part 2

Back in May, I posted an app review on a “Lite” app called Speech Racer Lite created by Complete Speech (who also created Vowel Viz).

A while ago, I was provided with an app code so that I could review the full version of the app. I will admit, I have lagged behind in my review for a couple of reasons.  First, I wasn’t at all sure how well it would be received by my students…it’s not a “game” and I personally didn’t find it that interesting. Second, I was hesitant (and still am) to promote the exaggerated /r/. However…I finally hauled it out and used it with a student (not just myself)…so here are my thoughts.

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RRRRRacing toward good speech?

Okay…that’s a little cliche and I admit it…

Okay…that’s a LOT cliche…but there’s a reason.

I had the privilege of reviewing a new up-and-coming app prior to it being released and I’m here to share my thoughts with you regarding it.

The people at Complete Speech have created a new app called Speech Racer Lite. (For those who have read my reviews before, I reviewed another app of theirs called Vowel Viz a while ago.)  Speech Racer provides biofeedback for each R word said.

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Speech Racer Lite is designed to give students a “fun, interactive way to practice ‘RRR’ sounds.”

This is the Lite version – the full version will be released in August. The full version will have self-scoring, over 300 flashcards with visual cues, and the ability to customize R targets in different positions, including blends.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

It looks as though the app is well thought out and full of detail. I wasn’t able to access some of the elements as they are reserved for the full version (which isn’t available yet). However, they seem to have thought about everything important.

Word lists include Initial, Medial, and Final R words (over 300 flashcards!)  I REALLY like that they have the R Blends and post-vocalic /r/ separated into their own words (to me this is critical for a good /r/ app).

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There will be four activities av available in the full version.

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The Lite version has two activities available. These are both meters that show how accurate the R production was. The student is directed to prolong the R to make it a bit more noticeable (more on this later). The meter will then flash up to the “rating.”

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In the first one, a poor /r/ sound will result in a red light…an approximate /r/ sound will result in a yellow light, and a good /r/ will result in the green light and running lights being illuminated. The lights stay illuminated until the record button is pushed again.

In the second meter, the meter goes from Red (empty) to Green (full) based on the quality of the R.

I can see the benefit of the biofeedback for R as it can be very tricky for kids to master self-monitoring. Having the immediate feedback helps with correct placement and recognizing what it is that the student had to do to get that /r/.

My only concern is that it doesn’t necessarily facilitate a “true” /r/ in that it does need to be slightly exaggerated to be picked up by the device. However, that is a minimal concern and similar to producing an exaggerated /s/ and then shaping it into a true /s/…an exaggerated /r/ is fairly easy to shape into a true /r/ once they get the feel for the position and develop the self-awareness.

Overall, I think this app has some potential. I’ve been a fan of Vowel Viz for a while now, but I can see many of the students on my caseload responding better to this than Vowel Viz. I know I’m excited to try it with them and I’m definitely looking forward to the full version.

Be sure to check out Speech Racer here and check out Complete Speech here.

So…let me know. Do you think you can see a need for Speech Racer Lite in your future?

Until then….Adventure on!

Mary

Disclaimer: I was provided with a code for Speech Racer Lite; however, the review and thoughts are entirely my own.

Milestones? Nah…why bother!

Happy Better Hearing and Speech Month! This post has been sort of percolating for a while and with Better Hearing and Speech Month’s focus on early intervention and the recent influx of new grads it seems relevant.

Recently, while speaking with many of my SLP friends on twitter, some expressed distress that articulation norms are so often misunderstood or misused. I wanted to write a post about it a few weeks ago and prudence dictated I wait until I wasn’t quite so…frustrated.

Then, a couple days ago, I had the distinct pleasure of reading a post on the way language milestones are often misunderstood. That post, from Teach me to Talk, is available here. I have to say, I honestly hadn’t considered how language milestones are interpreted…but it’s absolutely true they are misunderstood or maybe ignored much the way articulation norms are misused.

But it really drove home how we tend to view milestones or normative charts not as how they were meant to be used – but how they best work in our favor. Continue reading

How does your articulation assessment measure up?

It’s hard to believe it’s March…and time for Research Tuesday (again!). I remember being in grad school (or maybe undergrad) and doing a group project on articulation assessments. We were split into groups (or we split ourselves into groups, I don’t remember), and we were required to study an assigned articulation assessment, determine validity, specificity, etc… and critique the administration, picture stimuli, results, etc. It was an interesting assignment. I remember making the power point for it, and I remember talking with the Dean of the department and telling him I wanted to update the test we had (it was horribly out of date), and he said that’d be a great thesis or dissertation project. LOL. Too bad, I can’t remember the name of the test now (I could go look it up, but it’d take too much energy.)

Anyway…When I came upon today’s article, it reminded me of that assignment…and I thought it was important to review. So, without further adieu I bring you Research Tuesday! Continue reading

An Intense App to work on R

It’s no secret that I love most of the Smarty Ears apps. After all, the majority of their apps meet my “good app” criteria. There are a few that are my all-time tried and true favorites though.

It’s also no secret that many (most that I’ve talked to) SLPs absolutely dread working on /r/. They often wait until they can’t wait any longer (even though research shows that most kids develop /r/ WELL before 6)…

 

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One of those “favorite” apps that I use all the time is R Intensive.

(here’s a link to the Yappguru.com review)

 

 

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Articulation norms…Or are they?

There’s a fine art to biting your tongue and walking away and diplomacy is a worthy skill to acquire and hone. Recognizing that we all have differences, is another skill that is fabulous to have. However, sometimes, it’s necessary to find a way to correct a wrong, particularly when it’s a common wrong. (Are you confused yet? Bear with me…please?)

This post has been a while in coming…and I’m fairly sure it will exasperate some and anger others. I sincerely hope that most of you will find it enlightening rather than annoying. I have bit my tongue and walked away from the computer screen a lot lately…now I’m attempting to correct a wrong. Continue reading

Articulate It! an App review

I haven’t done an app review in a while and it’s time. Now one of my all-time-favorite apps has been recently updated, and I think it’s time to share the love.

Articulate it! is easily the first app that I think of when I consider articulation drill (and that’s saying something since I authored the phono learning center app for phono therapy!).

Here is WHY I love it… Continue reading