Custom Boards and Wh- Questions-Review

On the 7th day of posting this Speech Lady gave to me, some apps that are freaking awesome!

Custom Boards

The nice people over at Smarty Ears sent me a code for Custom Boards to review.  Custom Boards is a bang for your buck kind of app.  There are a number of things you can do and make with this program. 

On the main page you can choose from a number of pre-made templates (over 100 templates).  The templates include game and activity boards, boards that go along with AAC devices, an option to make signs and labels, schedules and calendars, worksheets and custom grids and boards. 
Here are some examples of the game boards I've created. 
Pick your game board theme, then decide what pictures you want in each circle.  Custom Boards has a huge amount of pictures in their picture dictionary to choose from AND if you can't find the right image then there is a direct link to google to search for pictures. Once you have selected all your pictures you can email it to yourself as a PDF, print or save to your photo library.   Here are some examples:

If you are making pages for devices or switches, Custom Boards gives you the option to choose from 33 different AAC devices and switches.  I've made several Go Talk pages from this app. 

The signs and label option is great for making visuals for you classroom.  It has an option to make something as simple as labels for boxes to traffic symbols and speech bubbles. 
The Calendar option is great for your kids that need visual schedules.  You can make custom schedules so easily it would be silly not to!  Here is an example of a first/then schedule I made. 

The Worksheets option has a lot of great visuals to use with any activity.  There are worksheets for sequencing, making small books, before and after, sorting and other themed worksheets.
All in all I really love this app.  It takes all the hard work out of making homework sheets, class activities, schedules etc.  

You can buy Custom Boards here for $39.99.  I really think this one is worth the price!

The next app is also from Smarty Ears and it's called Wh- Questions
This app allows you to have multiple students saved and you can hand pick based on that child's goals what type of questions are asked.  Most if not all of the students I've worked with that have a language disorder or delay have some kind of wh-question goal.  Wh-questions can be targeted in a number of ways, but this app has engaging pictures that help keep the attention of the child. 
 My suggestions for future versions of this app would be the ability to pick and choose what questions are asked as well as the difficulty.  It would be great if the questions had a multiple choice option where the children could use visuals to answer the question.  Because my students are so little, the visual representation of answers is key in their ability to be successful.  I do really like this app for progress monitoring.  Every couple weeks go through and see the gains the child has made towards their goals.  
All in all this app is interactive and engaging. 
You can buy it here for $9.99

Thanks Smarty Ears for your generosity to Speech Lady Liz.   


*Disclaimer: Smarty Ears provided me with a code to review product.  No other compensation was provided.  The opinions expressed are that of Speech Lady Liz. 

Speech Lady Wishlist-Games

On the 6th day of posting this Speech Lady gave to me, some games to elicit language.
1. Zingo Bingo-I recently came across this game and love it.  Zingo has this cool little contraption that's like an old school credit card swiper.  You move it back and forth and each time two cards with nouns on it appear.  I have used it multiple times with my kids that have Apraxia.  We keep the phrase "I have ....." and then they list one of two of the cards they get.  All I know is if you can keep a 3 year old entertained with this for 45 minutes, then it's a winner for sure!
2. Elefun- This game just makes me happy.  I have my kids collect as many butterflies as they can and then they bring it back to me.  However many butterflies they get is how many times they have to practice a word.  It's just so fun to see how excited the kids are as the butterflies start flying in the air.
3. Whac-A-Mole- I use Whac-A-Mole for a number of things.  I use it for more obvious things like a reinforcer and then I have used it for working on multi-syllabic words, phrases, sentences etc.  Here is a fun addition from Speech Room News and how she uses Whac-A-Mole.
4. Crocodile Dentist-When I want to use Kaufman cards and know there is no way my 2 or 3 year old is going to tolerate drill practice, I pull the Crocodile out.  We feed the Crocodile all the cards and they say them as we feed him.  This is definitely a reinforcer to have in your arsenal. 
5. What's In Ned's Head?-I see mostly little boys, so anything gross is super enticing to them.  I like this because you not only can work on body parts, but you can pretty much stick anything in Ned's head and use it to work on target sounds, vocabulary, inferencing etc. 
6. HedBanz-This game is great for working on basic concepts, answering wh questions, asking questions, turn taking and the list goes on and on.  My friend Angela even made it into a Superflex game. 

Appy Hour -Speech4Good

On the 5th day of posting this Speech Lady gave to me, an appy hour for disfluency!

The generous people over at Balbus Speech provided me with a code to try out their app Speech4Good.   When I first saw this app nightmares of Speech Science classes came flooding back.  Speech Science was the one class that never clicked with me.  So needless to say I was thinking how the heck am I going to use this app.  I was surprised at the number of possibilities I came across as I used and played around with this app. 

Speech4Good can be used for a number of different purposes. 
-Easy Onset
-Vocal quality including pitch and intensity

The home screen looks like this:

The SpeechCenter takes you to the oscilloscope (a.k.a. speech graph) where you can record sessions, keep data and use Delayed Auditory Feedback (DAF).  DAF is a speech therapy technique used mostly with individuals who stutter, have Parkinson's or other voice disorders.  The DAF in Speech4Good takes voice input and outputs it at an adjustable time, generally milliseconds of time, so that you can naturally slow down your rate of speech to increase awareness of changes in your speech.  Below is a screen shot of the SpeechCenter. 
Below are some different speech graph views.

One of the children that I used this has difficulty with prosody.  He has a very monotone voice, so we work on inflections in general conversation as well as when asking questions.  This was a great tool to use to compare speech graph views.  I said a sentence and then he would try to match the sentence.  In the end we wanted our speech graph to look similar.  This was also helpful in increasing the intensity of his voice.  Those soft-spoken students have to match their speech graph to yours (my loud and obnoxious SLP voice).  I don't currently have any students who demonstrate disfluencies, but I played around a lot with this app and will be extremely excited to use it when I get a child working on fluency.   The visual representation is an integral part of therapy for any child or adult. 
The rest of the homescreen offers a library where you store past speech graphs and recordings. 

It also has an option for sharing.  You can share your speech graphs through email, Facebook, Twitter.  I'm not so sure I would use the Facebook or Twitter option, but email for sure.  Telepractice is becoming such a growing part of our field.  Imagine your patients could send you speech graphs so you can monitor and track their progress. 

The Lite app is offered for $4.99.  The difference in the Lite app is that you cannot record.  The regular app is $19.99 and you can buy it here

Have any of you used this app? If so what are your favorite features?

Teaching Social Skills With Cars

On the 4th day of posting this Speech Lady gave to me, some ideas to teach preschoolers. 

About 90% of my caseload are boys.  That means I've gotten really good at crashing cars, making horrible wrecking noises and knocking things down.  I like to directly teach my kids how to play with toys and then help them generalize that in real-time play with peers.  Last week we focused on cars.  I made this poster with some target vocabulary for the kids to use. 

Some additional activities were a car wash.  I like this because along with teaching pragmatics, it is so important to teach play skills.  A lot of my kids use 1-2 step play sequences and it's important to expand that as you get so much more language with just one extra step of play. 

With a car wash you have a novel 3 step sequence.  We just used two bins and a towel, but how cute would it be to make these with your kids?!?

We also went on a scavenger hunt for tools around the school so that we could fix a wounded car.  I couldn't have dreamed in my wildest dreams how many peer to peer interactions I got with this activity.  It was very exciting. 

Cars are also a great opportunity to work on basic concepts like size, quantities and color.  I usually like to categorize them by colors, type (car/truck), size etc. 

Love this book to go along with our play!

Play is such a critical part to teaching language and pragmatic skills with little guys.  I know I always forgot about just playing when I worked in the schools.  The school I'm at now is a school founded on the importance of play.

All I know is I've gotten really good at playing and I make some pretty legit environmental sounds these days :)

Screeners and Tests, Oh My!-Appy Hour Review

On the third day of posting this Speech Lady gave to me, some screeners and evaluations. 

The Common Core Early Language Screener is a screening tool used to identify weaknesses in early language skills.  The screener is made for children Pre-kindergarten-Kindergarten age.  This screener has some great features including:
"1. Ability to watch a video tutorial of how to effectively use the app;
2. School and evaluator information only has to be entered one time, then it is automatically added to each new screening and report;
3. Ability to enter a student’s name and track progress over time;
4. Ability to review past screenings;
5. Generate a report analyzing performance in each subtest;
6. Ability to print evaluator form and/or child form."

I have used this app to monitor progress with several of my kids.  I initially gave the screening, and then 9 weeks later gave it again to track progress.  The analyzing of data that this app provides is extremely helpful in determining what comes next for short term goals and what goals have been mastered.  Below are the language targets in the screening.
Here are some screen shots of test items.  I love all the colorful images as this helps with keeping kids attention!

This assessment is a series of pictures targeting English phonemes in initial, medial and final position.  This test is not a standardized measure, but it is made to be used in conjunction with standardized assessments (I would use it along side the Goldman Fristoe Test of Articulation-2). 

It starts with adding students.  You enter their name, birthday (which they automatically calculate the chronological age) and whether English is the only spoken language.  Then you can start the assessment.  Each picture is a clear, colorful and engaging picture.  The word is at the top and the targeted sounds are green.  When there is an error you click on the sound and you are given options of whether they deleted, distorted, assimilated, substituted etc.  as well as the most common phonological processes associated with that sound.  I love that you can also record your session while giving the assessment (the only suggestion I would make is that you can have more than one recording).  Once the assessment is complete it gives you a detailed description of all the errors including phonological patterns etc.  It gives you a raw score which you can then compare to your standardized assessment to decide if they are commensurate with each other.  What I like about this is the ability to progress monitor without pulling out files and going through millions of papers (or is that just my files?!) I really like the fact that it's on the iPad because let's face it kids are waaay more likely to entertain the idea of sitting through 20+ pictures if it's on the iPad and there are pretty pictures. 

All in all I'm very excited to have these two items in my arsenal!